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Roseland Review - February 2017 - Duane Dewitt


Roseland Review - Duane Dewitt



by Duane De Witt

“To dismiss anger and frustration is to breed more anger and frustration. Even if someone is hateful, they should never be dismissed or ignored.” (Lynda Hopkins, Dec. 2016 Sonoma County Gazette). This encouraging quote from the new Sonoma County Supervisor for the Fifth District makes for an excellent opportunity to do some “reality checks” about Roseland in her district. This writer has only spoken with the new supervisor a few times, but her open approach to those who disagree with her, or her predecessor Efren Carrillo, has encouraged a number of Roseland residents who have spoken to Roseland Review. Before delving deeper into the promising future, Roseland Review will go back to when this column started 36 months ago to discuss why it exists and what our Roseland Community of over 15,000 people may need from the new supervisor. 

 Four years ago the city of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma began to have a “semi-official” discussion between various elected and appointed government officials over annexation of the “Roseland County Island.” The discussions between various city and county representatives about annexation of Roseland have actually gone on since at least 1983 preceding the formation of the Roseland Redevelopment Project Area of 264 acres along Sebastopol Rd. The official declaration of the project in November 1984 had an agreement where Santa Rosa would eventually annex the area between Olive St. in the east and Stony Pt. Rd at the western edge of Roseland. There have been starts and stops along the way as the city and county usually haggled over how to spend taxpayers’ money between their municipal corporations. Twenty years ago Santa Rosa annexed the area surrounding Roseland, but not taking all of the 1.2 square mile Roseland community of many diverse neighborhoods into the city. 

 Three years ago the city and county formed the “official” Joint City and County Roseland Sub-committee and this column was born. One local resident asked Roseland Review why there is a picture of the Roseland map and not the writer of the column. Simple, it is better to have a picture of the physical boundaries of Roseland made by the local governments. These “man-made” boundaries or “breaks” in the continuity of the larger Roseland community near Santa Rosa in the 1950s has forever cursed the now disadvantaged neighborhoods located there.  This curse is “taxation without representation” in the eyes of many long-time residents located in both the city and county sections of Roseland. This is because many Roseland residents feel they get NO voice in what is occurring when local government inflicts projects upon taxpaying citizens. 

Barham, Boyd, Burbank, Corby, Hearn, Hughes, South, Sunset, and West is not the name of a legal firm, though perhaps one is needed to sort this local government mess out. These are the names of streets in Roseland in dire straits needing massive repairs yesterday. There are others also in need, but for brevity this column will focus on these. Take two for an example of the dilemma. Hughes and Sunset are both streets only two blocks long. Each has one block in the city and the other block in the county. The roads have not been kept in good shape and now are rutted and full of potholes. Yet there is no repair coming anytime soon and the draft agreement between the city and the county for annexation states road repairs DO NOT have to be completed until 2021, no matter who is doing the repairs. Roseland review will delve into this issue deeper and well as the “third rail” in the local government system impacting all Roseland residents. This is the Roseland School District which is currently on a building spree with a new high school building at the Sheppard Elementary School site. Plus there are now plans to build a new middle school at the Roseland Creek Elementary School site and a new pre-school at the Roseland Elementary School site.

As this edition went to press Roseland Review was able to speak with some volunteers from the Community Action Partnership painting the cement barrier blocks put in place at the Roseland Village Shopping Center site. This is now becoming the Camp Michaela Homeless encampment with a tent city and numerous recreation vehicles on site all the time. Vince Harper of the Community Action Partnership will host a meeting of the Southwest Area Health Action Group. On Wednesday, February 15, 2017 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM at the CAP Office, 141 Stony Circle, Suite 210, 95401. You can get specific information from Vince at That same Wednesday at 5:30 PM in the evening the Roseland School District will hold the monthly school board meeting at the new district headquarters for Roseland School District. This is located on Burbank Ave. now just to the south of Roseland Creek and the recently built Roseland Creek Elementary School.