Nov 27, 2019
by Elaine B. Holtz
As I am writing this the Gold Coin Motel on Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa is in escrow being purchased by St. Vincent de Paul to build housing units for the homeless in Santa Rosa. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul District Council of Sonoma County (SVdP-Sonoma), was founded in 1958 and is an independent, non-profit 501(c) (3) organization. The organization has been providing support to those suffering from hunger and poverty for more than 60 years. https://www.svdp-sonoma.org According to the Executive Director, Santa Rosa Councilman Jack Tibbetts reports that once the escrow is closed fifty six small apartment units will be available for renovation and occupancy.
Tibbett was motivated to take on the project by seeing and hearing the struggle these individuals experience by not having a home. “Converting structures like the Gold Coin Motel is one of the most inexpensive ways to solving the problem,” he said. The price for the property was 5.6 million dollars which makes available 56 Units of housing, a restaurant with a commercial kitchen. Along with renovating the units the plan also includes building a recreation room.
As always funding is a challenge along with making sure structures are inhabitable so there were negotiations with the city to allow for repairing of the facility while in escrow along with raising the money needed. Funding came from a variety of resources which include private donors, grants from foundations and funds allocated by the city through the program. Placement from a coordinated list will begin as soon as escrow closes. Tibbetts explains that several of the units are inhabitable with the goal for completion of all units of September 2020. For Tibbetts, “This was a labor of love, and persistence paid off,”
Although this did not happen in Santa Rosa as we have seen it can happen in any school and if we as a nation do not start taking it seriously it could happen in our city. The shooting took place November 14, 2019. Five young people were shot and two of them died. I encourage you to write your senators, we need common sense gun laws. Thompson represents the 5th District which includes Santa Rosa.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) released the following statement after a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California
“Our hearts break for the students at Saugus High School and the families that will be forever changed by this tragic shooting. No student, no family, no community should ever have to go through this, yet this is far too familiar. Yet another reminder that it’s long past time for Senate Majority Leader McConnell to stop blocking H.R. 8 and hold a vote on bipartisan legislation to help keep our communities safe from gun violence.”
Sonoma County Democratic Party Opens Campaign Headquarters On November 9th the Sonoma County Democratic Party’s Campaign headquarters opened in Santa Rosa. Their mission is to elect strong Democrats and advance policies and programs that will protect the environment, workers rights, civil rights, social justice, and to build an economy that creates opportunity for all.
Val Hinshaw, manager, encourages people to drop by to get information, pick up a button or brochure or sign up as a volunteer. According to Hinshaw, the campaign office will be a hub of activity for voter outreach from local races to the federal level. Volunteers can sign up for voter registration, canvassing, phone banking, postcards, helping out at the office and more. Training for these activities will be offered, so newcomers can be confident in volunteering. “Once we get into the election cycle there will be lots of help needed,” she said.
The office is open Tuesday thru Friday from 12-6pm. Address is 635 Fifth St, downtown Santa Rosa. Phone #707-575-3029 (Please Note: The phones are in the process of being hooked up)
The Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center held their 2019 Peacemaker Awards and fundraiser in November. The Russ and Mary Jorgensen Courage of Commitment Award was presented to Santa Rosa resident, Alfredo Sanchez. Sanchez is a long time union and justice activist and organizer who serves on the boards of Graton labor Center, Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County and KBBF 89.1 FM radio.
The Peacemaker of the Year Award honored Sebastopol attorney, Izaak Schwaiger who is dedicated to defending the criminally accused and upholding the civil rights of those wronged by the police. His work in civil rights litigation has brought accountability and change to previously unchecked law practice across the county. Congratulations to all the recipients and a shout to all those who contributed to the silent auction and for showing up at this inspiring and rewarding event.
The Community Organization Award was given to Petaluma Blacks for Community Development. The program was formed 41 years ago with the purpose of sharing black history and culture through various programs and events within the county. Accepting the award for them was longtime activist and co-founder Gloria Robinson.
This year’s Youth Peacemaker Award that is given to individuals between the age of 13 and 22 years old was awarded to Casa Grande High school student, Lucia Garay. Garay founded the Sunrise Movement which is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. She is also one of the organizers of the 2018 Sonoma County March for Our Lives and editor of her school newspaper.
One of the more inspiring to kickoff the holiday season is to pay a visit to the historic Home and Gardens of Luther Burbank. During this time the house is decorated in old fashioned holiday decorations inside the house and on the grounds. Also along with experiencing a visit with Santa & Mrs. Clause you can also enjoy a cup of tea and cookies in Luther's Greenhouse.
The tea is courtesy of Traditional Medicinals and cookies from Chop's Teen Club, a place that provides a safe, fun and productive place where Sonoma County teens engage, connect and discover their true potential and their volunteers.
The event takes place on Saturday December 7th and Sunday December 8th from 10:00 am to 4:00pm at Santa Rosa & Sonoma Avenues in Downtown Santa Rosa, There is a $3.00 fee for folks 12 and older. For additional information contact 707-524-5445, email@example.com or visit their website http://www.lutherburbank.org
I want to wish all my readers a joyous holiday season, one filled with good health, peace of mind and loving relations. This is a time to have a bit of fun and share with others. For some it is Christmas the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace, my prayer for all of us is one day we truly do have peace on earth and good will to all. Remember also there are many ways of giving. Thank you for reading the column every month and for saying hi to me when we meet downtown. I look forward to another year and want to encourage you to let me know if you think something folks need to know about what is happening in Santa Rosa.
Something to think about: “Every year at this time, an important phrase marks the season: peace on earth and goodwill towards men. It's so common we sometimes forget about what it really means - that we strive for a world without war, a society where we respect and help our neighbors, a place where we protect and uplift our most in need. This isn't a phrase we should live by for one day or one month. It's a set of values that must bond and motivate us every day.” Dennis John Kucinich is an American politician. A former U.S. Representative from Ohio, serving from 1997 to 2013, he was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections.
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