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Grassroots Graton - Heather Granahan - December 2016


Grassroots Graton - Heather Granahan -  December 2016

by Heather Granahan

Adieu 2016, Don’t Let The Door Hit Ya…

Maybe Bill Vaughn was right: “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” Maybe he had it backwards and the optimists are the ones kicking that old year out the back door. Too many heroes passed, too many entered battles for health, finding housing, humane and civil treatment for humans and other living things, and yes, we surfed media sound bytes into uncharted political territory. Not to say there weren’t high points; the Cubs finally broke the curse, a woman historically won the popular vote for President, the CA drought began to ease. Yet, too many heroes passed, too many entered battles needing health, housing, humane and civil treatment for humans and other living things. But seriously, ugh. Here’s to a somehow better 2017!

I Elect…To Listen

President Obama is still our president, but not for long. I already miss the intelligent and positive demeanor of the POTUS and FLOTUS. People I meet are all slowly recovering from Election Flu in their different ways, using Buddism, hedonism, anger, activism, nihilism, cheer, leaving for Mexico or Canada, avoidance.  No matter our persuasion, we must work together to protect rights and dignities and basic care of the ill, aged, young and disadvantaged of any race, religion and lifestyle. And bees. What about better representing and caring for ALL Americans, to improve folks’ lives so that there is less pent up bitterness. And if the bitter voters of this election are not better off in 4 years, we had best have an improved system and choices under way for people to engage with. Disclaimer:  I am not necessarily done being pissed but very ready to foster more real listening and protecting. And to start up some new beehives. 

We can start with listening right here in Graton. E.g.; while the 2014 census showed median income for a household in the CDP was $83,082, up a whopping 70.4% from 2000, median is not the reality for many of us here in Graton; workers, elderly, unhoused, disabled. Arenas like this demand an open ear and an active arm. Having spent many of my formative years living in other countries, my identity has always had a larger root system than just one country. While I am tempted to accept invitations to get the heck outta here, I think I must dig in and stand for my beliefs here in the land of my birth. I think. Ya’ll know I am a fatal optimist. The blackest compost grows the greenest plants. Activism grows legs in dark times. That’s my story, and I am trying to stick to it.

Graton Park 

Speaking of green, Graton Green Group (GGG) held a community meeting at the Graton Community Clubhouse on November 16 to discuss plans and hear design ideas now that the property funds have been gathered. Before an involved crowd of about 25, John Lawry moderated a discussion that included a history of the park quest to date and a new development was shared; 3 new water tanks must be made room for, to meet fire protection needs especially for the downtown district.  For the burning question of when the project will break ground, the answer is unknown as the WHOLE project, including Orrin Theissen’s homes, has been tied up in the County of Sonoma permit process for 18 months.  Side Rant: I can personally off the top of my head think of 2 other retrofit projects , one here in Graton, that would offer employment and multi-small business incubator space and have been blocked by onerous and very questionable County processes and claims. Lynda Hopkins, can you hear us?

The Graton Park has funds for land, insurance and 2 years of maintenance. Far, far in the future are dreams of a restroom and the funds to maintain that. In between is finding funds for a sewer hookup ($10,000) and time for designing our new park. At the meeting a Design Committee was introduced, facilitated by Stephanie Elliot. HolLynn DeLil and Orrin Thiessen have joined the committee along with others and lend their experience and expertise. The committee will formalize a design process and be reporting to the GGG Board. They will be pondering aspects including any setbacks from the Critch waterway, appropriate inclusion of native plants, etc., as well as considering any offers for donations in kind of labor and supplies. If you are a Gratonite interested in joining the Design Committee or have in-kind donations to offer, please contact Stephanie at 

And see you in the New Year!