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Santa Rosa Snippets - July 2016 - Elaine Holtz


Santa Rosa Snippets - July 2016 - Elaine Holtz

Veterans Housing Crisis Summit 

According to Linda Hemenway, Sonoma County Chapter Lead of Organizing for Action (OFA), “Our Sonoma County Veterans face a housing crisis and need our help. The purpose of the Veterans Summit is to raise public awareness of the Veteran housing crisis, invite community partners to share their ideas, and provide the “average citizen” with ways they can become involved. Veteran’s issues to be addressed include; Serving Veterans while they wait for housing, utilizing their Federal Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) a program that combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA provides these services for participating Veterans at VA medical centers (VAMCs) and community-based outreach clinics.

A series of break out groups will take place which will allow participants 35-40 minutes to discuss a specific aspect of the Veteran Housing Crisis. The event is free and is happening on August 11, 2016. For further information:

Congratulations and Awards 

Santa Rosa community leader Rev. Ann Gray Byrd received the 2016 Jack Green* Civil Liberties Award at the Annual Lunch and Awards Ceremony of the Sonoma County ACLU Chapter in June. A long time resident of Santa Rosa she moved here with her family in 1948. Rev. Byrd is the President of the Sonoma County NAACP and President of the Gray Scholarship Foundation which was founded by her father, Gilbert Gray in 1992. Its purpose is to provide funds to Sonoma County who have been accepted to either a two or four-year college institution, as well as demonstrated excellence in academics, leadership, athletics, vocational skills, and community service. Rev. Gray is an ordained Unity Minister.

Another milestone for the Gray Byrd family is her son Rev. Curtis Byrd graduated from the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary receiving his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership.

*Jack Green was a young Santa Rosa sign painter, activist and ACLU member. In the summer of 1935, during the San Francisco dock strike, Jack Green and fellow ACLU member Sol Nitzberg worked together in labor organizing efforts of the apple pickers and cannery workers of Sonoma County. To find out more about Jack Green go to:

Does your vote count and how do you know? 

For the primary election I was a poll clerk at Piner High School and it was a great experience. I started at 6:45am and left at 10:30pm, it was amazing how fast time went there were so many voters. Sonoma County reports a 48% turnout. What was apparent was that many were concerned if their vote counted and had little if any knowledge of the process so I did a little investigation and called the register of voters and found out the following; the first votes that are counted are the mail in ballots.  The next votes to be counted are the ballots cast at your poll and the last votes to be counted are the vote by mail ballots that were dropped off at the polls and the ones dropped off at the registrar’s office that day. The last ballots counted are the provisional ballots. 

   After all the ballots are collected, the registrar of voters has 30 days from the day of the election to complete the count. If you are concerned about your vote not counting you can call the registrar’s office to find out if your vote has been counted, suggestion, 30 days to call. The number on your tear off identifies your ballot. Your stub number is your ballot number.

Martin Luther King/Juneteenth Festival Honored 

The City of Santa Rosa to help raise the awareness on June 18, 2016, made a proclamation of Martin Luther King/Juneteenth, presented by Mayor John Sawyer at the Santa Rosa City Council meeting, 6/14/16. The Proclamation was accepted by Nancy Rogers on behalf the North Bay Black Chamber of Commerce, Red Rose Catering, Safe Harbor Project, Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County, Swift Finishing Inc., Santa Rosa Junior College’s Black Student Union and 100 Black Men of Sonoma County.

Juneteenth celebrates the day when those enslaved in Galveston, Texas finally received word of their freedom on June 19, 1865, two years after they actually were freed. Juneteenth is observed by many communities across the country; and the local Martin Luther King/Juneteenth Festival was born to keep the dream of Dr. King and the spirit of Juneteenth alive in Santa Rosa. A second Proclamation was given at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors honoring that day. 

Happy July 4th - Celebrating the Declaration of Independence

When enjoying a family gathering or watching fireworks think on these three lines that are included in the Declaration of Independence written on July 4, 1776  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” it is amazing document. 

Elaine B. Holtz is producer/Host of “Women’s Spaces” on KBBF 89.1FM Monday
11-12 noon & 11-12 midnight. Visit her website at: Become a Fan on Facebook.