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Roseland Review by Duane Dewitt

Peace and Justice Awards

Nov 22, 2017
by Duane Dewitt

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Peace and Justice Award - Alicia Roman, a long time Roseland resident, was honored on Saturday Dec. 9, 2017 with the Peace and Justice Award by the Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center. The event was held at the Roseland Village Community Center at 779 Sebastopol Rd. with many local community members in attendance to honor the awardees.

There was a dinner and dancing to music in honor of the awardees and the community. Ms. Roman is an attorney who has been working to get the issue of District Elections on the ballot in the city of Santa Rosa for some time.

She is also working with Caroline Banuelos and other members of the Sonoma County Latino Democratic Club in this effort to give more political voice to the close to 16,000 residents of the Roseland community.

With District Elections there may be a chance for better Roseland representation on Santa Rosa City Boards and Commissions. There has never been a Santa Rosa City Council member from Roseland. The city is filling vacancies on city boards and commissions for 2018 .

The Peace and Justice event was also attended by the current Chairmen of the Sonoma County NAACP, Dennis Williams, who is a Roseland native. He said he was there to ”represent in Roseland”. Mr. Williams and other long time Roseland residents such asJaime Naredo, a local Pomo Indian, are working to revitalize the local efforts of the NAACP for social equity and justice in Sonoma County. This is especially important to many local Roseland residents who feel the city of Santa Rosa with Sonoma County elected officials, and appointed government employees, are not as attentive to Roseland issues as they need to be to solve them.

WELCOME - The city of Santa Rosa is planning a ”Welcome event” for Saturday Jan. 20, 2018 from 12 pm to 4 pm to be held at the Roseland Village Community Center parking lot at 779 Sebastopol Rd. This FREE event will be open to the public and information about the activities planned by the city can be found at the city website, www.srcity.org.

Some local residents have been in contact with Roseland Review. They are not happy with the way things are going in Roseland since the annexation. They hoped the city event will not be more ”speeches and posturing” by officials who are ”inflicting” more pain on the neighborhoods. When this reporter inquired what was meant by these words it was pointed out, ”one of the very first things the city did was send out a notice to us they were raising taxes.”

This was a notice regarding the demand any residents of the newly annexed areas who engaged in home-based businesses register with the city to pay required taxes. Then the next thing to happen was the new influx of as many as 70 -80 more homeless people pushed out of Downtown Santa Rosa by the police over into Roseland after Thanksgiving. This is not many Roseland residents’ idea of a good neighbors policy by the city of Santa Rosa.

Roseland Village - Since Thanksgiving 2015 Sonoma County officials have allowed a 30 person homeless camp on taxpayer-owned land where the Rose Bowl neighborhood bowling alley once stood. Roseland Village has been plagued by homeless people passing through the area for over 2 years now with no end in sight. With the threefold increase in the size of the encampment sine November 2017 local business owners and residents are up in arms over this disrespect for Roseland. But they feel hopeless to counter the further degrading of their community by the local government rulers.

No aggrieved residents would go on record with their names for this article because they fear retaliation from local government officials. One pointed out the ”Tyrant in charge” of the county Board of Supervisors, ”would just talk about how they are going to make things better for Roseland and then do the opposite.”

County employees are also reluctant to go on record about the issues because the Roseland Village Redevelopment Project, which has cost the taxpayers many millions of dollars already, is still in the planning stages after many years. Some sources at the various county agencies have told Roseland Review there will soon be fences put up around the site to begin ”site work”. If and when such fences go up, this may mean no people can be camping any longer at the site it has been stated.

Many local residents want this to happen now instead of later. But there is also a concern the community will then have to face the threat of the homeless moving into the only parks Roseland has. This has occurred at parks in Santa Rosa, such as Doyle Park, and has created great anxiety for local residents there near the park.

Residents are also concerned about how to keep the Roseland library branch at the site and the Dollar Tree store in operation for as long as possible. Many want these vital resources for the current community to be the very last things closed down by the construction project. One more important thing is the ongoing threat to the Roseland Neighbor Wood on Burbank Ave. from both homeless intruders and the city of Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department staff. The staff still have plans to develop a very expensive community park instead of a neighborhood park as is desired by local residents. Local residents feel they have been retaliated against by the city staff because of advocating for the preservation of nature instead of massive amounts of cement and parking as was done atBayer Farm in 2017. The restrooms and community kitchen there at Bayer Park are still closed and people have to use ”porta potties” on site.

The city Board of Community Services meets on Weds. Jan. 24, 2018 at 4pm at Finley Community Center on West College Ave. and Stony Point Rd. to discuss whether to approve the plan of Recreation and Parks Department staff, or what the local neighbors want in the plan for Roseland Creek Park.

All Roseland concerned citizens are invited to come and try to help the neighbors overcome the retaliation by city staff. Also residents want help advocating for a Pomo Indian Interpretive Village as proposed for the site by residents and local Pomo Indians for close to 20 years.

Roseland Review wishes you Good Luck in the New Year and a Happy New Year!

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