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Sonoma County Gazette
Feeling Graton by Jennifer Butler - October 2018

“Homeless Outreach Support Group” & “No Overnight Parking Signs” in the works for RV Population

Oct 1, 2018
by Jennifer Butler


Leaves are turning earth colors and starting to fall. Mornings are darker and cooler, and the sun is setting earlier. I am a big lover of summer and heat so with a little sadness, I bid farewell to summer and hello to fall. Good thing it’s such a beautiful time a year. That makes up for my disappointment to see the warmth and light go.

Graton Community Club Fall Flower and Plant Sale

Country Fair is coming to Graton this fall at the Graton Community Club, 8896 Graton Road. (corner of Graton and Edison). This wonderful traditional FREE event is Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13th, 9AM-4PM. Come experience the displays of a summer harvest and floral arrangements that will transport you to the enjoyment of a country fair while listening to live, local music, Available for purchase are handmade novelties and attic treasures as well as garden art and hundreds of plants ready for fall planting. Don’t miss the raffle and the$10.00 lunch served both days from 11:00-2:00

This event benefits a scholarship program for JC students and a building capital campaign to preserve our historic clubhouse. For questions please contact 707-829-5314 -


As I suspected this is a huge and complicated topic. As one person wrote “The working poor are not the same as the lazy poor, disabled poor, mentally unstable poor, and drug/alcohol addicted poor. It’s a very broad range of reasons why people end up homeless.” So many opinions and very little clarity on how to effectively deal with this issue. From my investigation perspective it also seems like there are not a lot of agencies that actually agree to what is legal and what isn’t. The only certain thing that I have uncovered is that some people are really mean. I wish, I could say that my inbox was filled with great suggestions but unfortunately a majority of e-mails, I received were not very gentle or kind. Some neighbors have reached a boiling point. I can break the complaints down into 3 categories 1. Is it legal? 2. Sanitation and 3. Safety.  Here is what people are saying that are against the row of RV’s in Graton.  A general concern that the practice is in violation of the law. Many have noticed that the RVs have been tagged with yellow advising that the vehicle had some sort of violation like missing or outdated registration and these have been peeled off and ignored. Some have witnessed hazardous disposal of human waste (i.e. buckets being empty from the RV into a bucket and then disposed into the creek. Pictures were provided). And we have all seen that some have an accumulation of trash and collectibles. Other neighbors tell of loud fighting that frightens them away from the area. Ok fair enough. These are legitimate concerns.

I have also heard from two RV residents. Both wished to remain anonymous, but I felt like their perspectives deserve to be heard. Both certainly expressed that they felt very unwanted but also that they were within their legal right to be there. Both stated that as long as it was legal they had no intentions of leaving. Those RVs are the only homes they have. Of course, it is a far cry from their ideal life and are living with this as the only viable option they have. Both stated that they worked part-time. They wondered if we might decide on some policies that the neighborhood would agree to that would ease the minds of people opposed to their being there? The whole topic brings up for me the time when my daughter was young, and no one wanted to rent to a single mother. We spent time in a tent while waiting for someone to consider us “worthy” tenants. There were not the laws then that there are today protecting renters. As a renter, I never felt secure and knew that we could be asked to move at any time and that was a horrible feeling! I can’t imagine that those living in an RV have a feeling of security. It has to be traumatic.  So how then do we address the needs of both citizens? How can we create new progressive laws that support both the homeless and the residents?

BREAKING: Right after I wrote the above, I received confirmation that the county had been sending out HOST (Homeless Outreach Support Group) to see if any assistance could be offered especially to families. But even more significantly that NO OVERNIGHT PARKING SIGNS were in production by Transportation and Public Works and would be posted any day. The statement, I received cited that there were too many complaints and violations. As one RV resident stated it appears that one or two bad apples have ruined the barrel. So, while the issue is “moved on” it certainly hasn’t gone away. This is a great and concerning issue for California and we can’t ignore the plights of our neighbors even if they are not living in a “house”. I feel a lot of sadness and ineffectiveness.

Halloween Spaghetti Dinner – Graton Fire Station

The Graton Fire Department will be giving away candy ON HALLOWEEN at the Fire Station at 3750 Highway 116 North. Enjoy the free spaghetti dinner cooked by your favorite volunteer firefighters.  Fire engines will be on display as well.  After leaving the firehouse for more candy, make sure to escort your children, bring a flashlight, wear reflective clothing, use light sticks, and inspect their candy before they eat it.

Please let me know if there is something that you would like me to know or write about. You can reach me via email: butlersjennifer@gmail.comemail



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