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A Habitat for Humanity project underway. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Vote November 6, Thanksgiving Thoughts
Habitat for Humanity
Sonoma Wildfire Cottages

Oct 26, 2018
by Elaine B. Holtz


Thanksgiving – A Day to Give Thanks

On the fourth Thursday in November, Americans traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving.  I personally have mixed feeling about the validity of this holiday but at the same time, I recognize it is a time when families gather to give thanks and appreciation for each other.  In light of all that has happened over the past year and remembering last Thanksgiving when we all sat around the table giving thanks that we did not lose our home during the fires while comforting those that did, I am thankful to be alive and have my health.  Many are struggling, and we are facing many challenges both locally and globally and as we recognize how much we have to be grateful for finding a way over this next year to be of service and speak out against injustice.

November 6 is the day we all go to the polls to vote:

VOTEFor those of you who vote by mail it is important that you mail in your ballot as soon as possible prior to Election Day to make sure your vote is counted on that day.  I talked with Deena Thompson-Stalder, Election Manager for the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters for an explanation of the sequence of the count and why it is important to get those ballots mailed early.  She advised me that on Election Day they start counting the Vote by Mail ballots received by noon on Election Day, then release the results shortly after the polls close at 8pm.  At approximately 9 pm, they begin to receive the ballots voted at the polls.  They begin counting the polling place ballots until finished.  Vote by Mail and provisional ballots cast at the polls are counted in the canvass period and the election is certified by December 8, 2016. 

The best way to have your ballot counted on Election Day and to reduce delays for the election to be certified is to return your Vote By Mail ballot ASAP if you vote by mail OR if you vote at the polling place, be sure to go to your designated polling place.  For additional information on the election go to

This is the first time the city of Santa Rosa will be voting by districts and the six candidates for the Santa Rosa City Council District elections were interviewed in the studio of radio station, KBBF, 89.1FM.  , Each for about 16 minutes, and each interview appears as separate audio files.  The candidates and their districts are,John Sawyer (2) , Lee Pierce (2) , Tom Swedhelm(6), Victoria Fleming(4),  Dorothy Beattie (4)  and Mary Watts(4) .  You can listen to the interviews online at  You can also hear an interview with the newly elected Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters Deva Marie Proto for Sonoma County who  provides lots of good information about voting and the procedures.  A special shout out for KBBF for making these interviews possible.

Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County - Current Projects in Santa Rosa

Habitat for Humanity SoCo Logo.I have heard about Habitat for Humanity and was fortunate enough on my daily walk to observe one of their projects on West Steele Lane which inspired me to find out more about them and what they are doing in our city.  Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County is an international faith-based organization dedicated to improving lives by building modest, affordable homes in partnership with communities and families. They collaborate with volunteers and partner families to build affordable housing with affordable mortgages.  Included in the requirements for Individuals who are approved for their program is 500 “sweat-equity hours” which might include participation in working on building theirs and others houses, attending meetings, helping with public or fundraising events. 

The project on West Steele Lane is called, Harris Village – Santa Rosa: 4 home subdivision directly across from Comstock Middle School. This project kicked off with the renovation of an existing house on the lot which was completed in the summer of 2017. Construction has commenced on the three new townhouses, with completion expected this winter.

An additional project they have recently launched in Santa Rosa is the Sonoma Wildfire Cottage Initiative as part of a longer-term fire recovery effort.  This pilot program will showcase multiple building technologies for sustainable, affordable workforce housing solutions for Sonoma County, and provide immediate relief for families displaced by wildfires.  They will be building eight homes for fire victims who are waiting for their homes to be rebuilt.  The cottage homes will be sold and moved to various locations within Sonoma County. For more information on the program and Habitat SoCo go to

Special Acknowledgements:

On October 22 marked the five-year anniversary since Andy Lopez, aged 13 was shot and killed on the streets of Roseland in Santa Rosa by Deputy Sherriff Eric Gelhause.  It has been a long and painful experience for many members of the community and I am happy to report a trial set for August 2019. There are some rumors there may be a settlement before that.  As always, my condolences to the family and for all of us to recognize how precious each life is and that when one life, one Childs life is in jeopardy all children’s lives are.  A group gathered at Andy’s Unity Park in Roseland on the 22nd in remembrance.

A special shout out to the women and men who gathered at the Federal Building in Santa Rosa four consecutive days to protest the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.   Those who participated had an opportunity to express their opposition and concerns.  Some spoke out bravely about their own experiences with sexual harassment and abuse.  It takes a lot of courage to admit these things and I was somewhat taken aback that there were not more people present. "By our silence, we give our consent".

Year of the Dog and Thanksgiving Feast with Snoopy

Come, enjoy and help prepare a re-creation of Snoopy’s Thanksgiving meal of toast, popcorn, and jelly beans from the classic television holiday special, along with hands-on crafts, and other fun family activities! Also, make a Snoopy thankful mobile all day long in the Education Room and take home a collectible Snoopy button to celebrate the Year of the Dog. Saturday, November 17 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the Charles Schulz Museum 2301 Hardies Ln, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

Something to think about: “There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”  ― Susan B. Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer and women's rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement.  

    Santa Rosa Snippets by Elaine B. Holtz


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