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Santa Rosa Snippets by Elaine Holtz

District Elections for City Council
and Board of Education 

Sep 27, 2017
by Elaine B. Holtz

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Santa Rosa City Council: The Southwest Voter Registration Education Project  (the “Education Project”), through its attorneyKevin Shenkman, submitted a demand letter challenging the City’s at-large election of council members in July 2017. The Education Project alleges that racially polarized voting within the City has combined with the City’s at-large election system to impair the ability of Latino voters to elect candidates of their choice or to influence the outcome of an election. The Education Project thus alleges that the City’s at-large election system may violate the California Voting Rights Act, and it threatens litigation if the City does not voluntarily transition to a district-based election system. Attorney Shenkman has submitted similar claims against cities, counties and school districts throughout California." (Resource: Report - Resolution - California Voting Rights Act Agenda Item 14.2 8/29/17)

As a result of the letter received from Shenkman, the City Council unanimously voted to move forward and issued a Resolution of Intention No. RES-2017-173 that the City of Santa Rosa will transition from at-large to district-based election by the November 2018 election. 

To educate and get feedback from the community a series of four public meetings will be held as follows:

1) October 3 – Composition of Districts,

2) October 10 – Composition of Districts,

3) November 1, Draft Maps and

4) November 14 –Draft Maps.

All meetings will be held at the City Council Chamber, 100 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa. Please note dates are tentative- go to srcity.org/2593/District-Election for updates.

Santa Rosa Board of Education: In the summer of 2016 the Santa Rosa School Board began the process to begin a new system to elect its board members. At their August 2017 meeting the board members voted 6-0 to move to trustee area elections for three board seats by November 2018. The district is the first among Sonoma County’s 40 school districts and nine incorporated cities to use such a system, often known as district elections. RESOLUTION NO. 2017/18-002 was created to initiate a Transition to a By-Trustee Area Election System Commencing With the 2018 Governing Board Election and Statement of Intent to Seek a Waiver of the Election Requirement from the State Board of Education.

A series of public hearings will be held to receive community input. A series of public meetings will be held as follows: 1) October 11, Post map Public Hearing, 2) October 12, Map Input, 3) October 24, Map Input, 4) October 25, Post map and 5) November 1, Adoption of Map. For times and place of meetings visit srcs.k12.ca.us/District/Pages/By-Trustee-Area-Elections.aspx.

Awards and Congratulations: Congratulations to Santa Rosa attorney, Michael A. Fiumara of Fiumara & Milligan law, PC firm who was named by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys as one of the ten best attorneys in California specializing in criminal legal defense including DUI/DMV matters that provide exceptional and outstanding client services. Fiumara was both surprised and honored to receive the award and attributes the acknowledgement due to his commitment to community service, honest communication, helping his clients work within the system and helping them “stay out of jail by seeking all options and jail alternatives available.”

Special shout out to Santa Rosa Resident Susan Collier Lamont who was inducted to the Living Peace Wall in Sebastopol.  Lamont was a longtime director of the Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center and peace activist.  Other Inductees included Holly Near singer, songwriter and committed peace activist, Dee and Don Schilling, civil rights activists and Charles Liteky, former Catholic priest and medic who during the Vietnam War was awarded the Medal of Honor which he returned and is now housed in the Smithsonian.

Congratulations to Santa Rosa resident Donna Zapata who was inducted into the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (CHCC) Hall of Fame at the Latina Empresaria Awards at the CHCC’s 2017 Convention held in Rohnert Park. The Latina Empresaria Awards pay tribute to businesswomen who have made a measurable impact on economic development in the Latina communities.

Meet, Greet and Planning Event presented by the Sonoma County Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) Special presentation by Molly Murphy MacGregor – Co-Founder of the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) “Our History is Our Strength – How We Got the Vote.” This is also a beginning planning meeting for the 20/20 Celebration. October 18 from 4-6pm at the Redwood Credit Union Community R, 3033 Cleveland Ave.

The Second Sonoma County Climate Change Activists Summit will be held on Monday, October 30, 7-9 PM, Peace and Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa. The purpose of this meeting is to continue to bring groups and individuals together to coordinate efforts and get to know one another. For more info: (707) 877-6650 or OccupySonomaCounty.org.

Something to think about:“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross; c. 1822 – March 10, 1913) was born into slavery and was an American abolitionist, humanitarian, and an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War.wikipedia.org.

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