Sep 29, 2018
by Chuck Ramsey, Russian River Alliance
Things are moving along this fall in the river. A workshop on the new Monte Rio bridge was held 9/28. This winter the development of design alternatives will be addressed, with a final design released in 2022 and the construction phase to be in 2023 and 2024.
An Onsite Water Treatment System (OWTS) workshop was held 9/29. The OWTS Manual will be considered by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in November 2018.
Also moving along is the Municipal Advisory Councils (MAC) formation. The county board of Supervisors should have approved the MAC formation on 9/25. Candidate applications will then be available with a deadline for submission of 10/24. Registered voters will receive candidate information and a ballot for their specific district by mail after 11/7 and it must be returned by 11/17. Also, on 11/17 there will be a caucus held with a meet and greet the candidates, where you can also drop off your ballot. The winning candidates will be announced 11/21, the day before Thanksgiving. Nine districts have been formed ranging from Forestville to Cazadero. Each district will have one representative and one alternate representative, except for Forestville and Guerneville which will have two representatives based on their higher populations. You will only be able to vote for candidates running in your district (Monte Rio).
The thought process behind forming a MAC is to allow more local say in governance on issues that effect our area and to have a greater voice with the county supervisors. Unlike the prior RRROC (Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee), the MAC will serve a larger geographic area, and it will not have a source of funding, at least not at the beginning. It is possible that more of the TOT bed tax we generate will be kept here. For the MAC to be effective, we need the best candidates that will work to address the issues we have. Most importantly they will need to have a record of taking on difficult issues and getting results. The RRROC did some good things, but it seemed the ones that made out best were the special districts that pushed the most for money for their own operations.
One area in which the RRROC came up short, in my opinion, was on wastewater solutions. A lot of time and money was spent on consultants and we still don’t have a solution in place (but at least we are now getting there thanks to State mandates). Another shortfall was improving our local business district (which also can be tied into wastewater solutions).
Monte Rio during its heyday was incredible. Other hamlets such as Guerneville and Rio Nido also had heydays. How did they go from where they were to where they are now? Maybe we won’t be seeing a seven-story hotel in Monte Rio anytime again soon, but could we at least bring the Pink back? Fortunately, there are people moving here that realize the unique beauty we have, our potential, and they are used to receiving responsive government services. Have we turned the corner yet? Is there a critical mass established that expects and demands change? Will we have candidates that are professional, civil, have integrity, have a track record of accomplishments, and that will make a difference? Will the MAC be successful? I hope so.
Permit Sonoma has a new Administrative Citation Program that began in August supporting their goal of establishing a safe and healthy community. This new program provides an additional tool for enforcement, enabling the County to enforce various codes and ordinances via less stringent enforcement action. Administrative citations gives them the ability to respond immediately to transient and nuisance violations in the field. Examples they give are non-operative vehicles, junkyard conditions, and issues with vacation rentals. You can use the SoCo Report It app and remember to follow-up to get results.
Lastly, we are getting into the season where we experience poor air quality due to improper use of wood burning stoves. Be a good neighbor, be considerate of your neighbors, and burn cleanly. This means burning dry seasoned wood with adequate air intake so there are minimal visible smoke emissions.
Hope everyone has a great October.
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