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Cloverdale Comments - May 2016


Cloverdale Comments - May 2016

by Carol Russell

“A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams. ” —Herb Caen

This column is the second about those who make Cloverdale work, from the staff that greets people as they enter City Hall to those who keep us safe. As we said last month, because Carol is on the city council, I (Reece) am taking the lead for the two articles exploring the city council and their contributions to our city.

A couple of years ago, I was awaiting a flight at Santa Rosa Airport. I saw a map on the wall. Eight of the county’s nine cities were on that map along with several unincorporated towns. Who was absent? Cloverdale! 

As we know, for many years Cloverdale was isolated and an outsider in the county. 

Our city council has been instrumental in bringing us back into the county, the region, and even the state as a visible, viable member of all three with each council member playing on their individual strengths to add their contributions to this forward movement.

Elected in 2006, retired Police Chief Joe Palla’s calm and focused manner has been of great value in his activities on the Legislative Committee of the League of California Cities’ (LCC) Redwood Empire Division and as he rose to the League’s state board of directors. Joe is also a member of the Sonoma County Mayors and Councilmembers Association’s (M&CA) Executive and Public Safety committees. 

Retired business owner Carol Russell was also elected in 2006. Energetic and dynamic, she saw the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit regional project as a pathway to and from a larger world Cloverdale should connect with and soon won the M&CA’s appointment to that board while also aligning Cloverdale with the rest of our county on the boards of the Regional Climate Protection Authority and Sonoma County Transportation Authority plus at the County Department of Human Services’ Health Action Council.

Appointed to the Council in 2010 and elected in 2012, Bob Cox brought his friendly, thoughtful style to the dais. He, too, has been engaged with the M&CA and LCC; plus he serves on Waste Management, the Russian River Watershed and Sonoma Clean Power. Bob was also on the committee that revised the Sonoma County Library Joint Powers Authority and continues as Liaison to the Cloverdale Regional Library Advisory Board

In addition, the three also represent Cloverdale at other local, county and regional organizations and agencies, while also being cognizant of maintaining our rural, close community life style.

Mayor MaryAnn Brigham and Vice Mayor Gus Wolter bring a different perspective by concentrating in greater depth on community topics as the council members keep Cloverdale and our economic development moving ahead.

Both business-like and sociable, Gus first began on the Council in 2000 and, listening to citizens expressing concern over the by-pass impact and a need for a senior center, he helped find ways to address these issues. His emphasis includes establishing a solid economic base by drawing a greater portion of County tourism to Cloverdale (he has served on the Tourism Board) and working with our Chamber of Commerce. A past Chair of M&CA, Gus won the Spirit of Sonoma Award in 2007.      

Entrepreneurial and forthright, MaryAnn’s focus is the most local. She’s starts businesses, makes them successful, and then moves on. But, as her father said, “Always be of service…look for what is needed.” So, when one sees Clark Park, River Park or the Senior Center, one also thinks of MaryAnn. With MaryAnn’s last year on the Council, we look back at her most significant legacy with pride – the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, which even my friends in San Francisco have heard about. 

MaryAnn and Gus serve on the Finance, Administration and Police and the Planning and Community Development City sub-committees with all five sharing the work of the remaining sub-committees. These special community members stay visible and work hard (15-30 hours/week!) for Cloverdale.

Each council member brings different strengths and perceptions. This mix of interest and foci creates a strong, well-balanced team able to make hard decisions that benefit our community. I/we may not always agree with them, but their shared strengths and dedicated efforts give them access to knowledge that moves Cloverdale forward and into the world.