Citizen volunteers are important partners in the delivery of local government services and quality of life in the community. They always have been and always will be. Government simply can’t do it all and should not. These partnerships are needed more than ever, especially in these difficult times as we have all experienced recession and economic reset, as City leaders work to redefine and prioritize spending for core City services. In management terminology there is a concept called “co-production.” It’s a modern term that simply describes the activity of an engaged citizenry involved in the delivery of services to the community and themselves; it’s a useful concept for tackling today’s challenges for sustaining the vitality and quality of life in our community. As a reminder, please recall that communities formed to solve problems for the greater good when people joined together to accomplish things greater than they could as individuals such as organizing for public safety, water and sewer systems, paved streets and the like. This is an important principle to remember about communities despite the complexities of our larger City.
Today, people are attracted to quality of life of a community but need also to understand that the community, which is the heart and soul of the geographic location, is only renewed and sustained by active involvement of its citizens. People in the larger Santa Rosa community know this and for this reason, the City will continue to seek even more citizen volunteers and partners in “co-production” of services to the community this year. An “over-the-top” commitment to volunteerism for the good of the community has already been demonstrated. Santa Rosa had record breaking levels of over 7,000 active citizen volunteers last year working on trail and stream preservation, public safety and emergency services, youth and senior services, art programs, special events, parks clean-up and building, fundraising and more.
Recently, a letter from a concerned citizen crossed my desk. Pictures of plant materials overgrown and encroaching into the neighborhood sidewalks and streets in Santa Rosa were included along with an appeal for the City to “fix it” so there would be safe passage for all and an improved aesthetic. As I studied the pictures it struck me that this was a great, teachable moment. We need “co-production” to solve this problem of quality of life and safety in our community! Did you know that as a property owner and/or resident that it is your responsibility to keep the parking strips with plants and trees and the plant materials in your yard trimmed back so they do not encroach into the sidewalk passageway or street? Neighbors used to exercise this type of stewardship responsibility and did not expect their local government to take care of this small but important aspect of everyday life. This type of active stewardship is an example of co-production for delivery of important services to our community. If 162,000 residents could invest an hour or two each week in their own neighborhoods, cleaning their home site and helping a neighbor who may not be as able-bodied, imagine the work that would be accomplished in just a day or a week? Maybe we will need volunteer neighborhood ambassadors to walk their block and provide the gentle reminders to others to do their part in keeping Santa Rosa clean, green, and safe. Just imagine the beauty and safety we could achieve for the community of Santa Rosa, as partners in service!
Senior Center Health & Wellness Fair
On Saturday, May 7, 2011 the Bennett Valley Senior Center held their Thirteenth Annual Membership Appreciation Pancake Breakfast and Health & Wellness Fair. Senior Center staff, Jan Post-Schwarz and Naomi Honda, organized the event. This year was the busiest ever with 55 vendors (an increase of 62% growth since its inception in 2006).
Seniors and baby-boomers found the event filled with booths dedicated to the specific needs of our aging population. Booths ranged from “Wartime Veterans or Surviving Spouses” benefits to In-home Care and Technology Solutions to help keep seniors safe at home. There were plenty of handouts, presentations, demonstrations and give-aways.
We would like to thank the Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary Club who brought their grill and ran the breakfast. They served nearly 400 individual breakfasts consisting of; pancakes, sausages, eggs, juice and coffee. Breakfast was a highlight and folks raved about the friendly service they received from the Rotarians. What a great organization to donate their service in this way!
City Departments from Police; Fire; Recreation, Parks & Community Services; and Environmental Compliance all had booths. Participants especially appreciated access to the Safe Medicine Disposal Bin that keeps medications out of our water system!
Many thanks to the staff that helped make the day a success; Mike Hargreaves/GIS, Dave Gomez/Parks, Katherine Roberts/floral decorations, Jeanne Pugh/decorations, Vincent Serio and Patrick Mitchell for set-up and facility maintenance.
The Santa Rosa Fire Department is an all risk Fire Department that provides fire, rescue, hazardous material and emergency medical response services. We are often asked why fire engines respond to emergency medical calls.
When a patient’s life is at risk, time is always of the essence. A patient in cardiac arrest has a 7-10% decrease in survivability for every minute that passes without life saving intervention. In order to give patients the highest chance for survivability, a tiered EMS response has been developed by using fire apparatus and the County Ambulance Franchise Provider, American Medical Response (AMR.) The closest fire and ambulance resource are dispatched to emergency medical calls.
While having two units respond may seem redundant, rest assured that it is not. Often times it takes more than two EMS personnel to manage a medical emergency and at times franchise ambulance units may be committed to other emergencies outside of Santa Rosa. The City and AMR have private/public partnership that funds the upgrade cost for five of our ten Paramedic Fire Engines. Measure O and the Roseland Fire Protection District provide additional funding that allows nine of our ten Paramedic Engines to be funded outside of the City’s General Fund. The agreements provide savings to the end user while improving services to our citizens.
United Way of the Wine Country held their annual Campaign Close Celebration with a Community Stone Soup Dinner on May 3 at Shone Farms. The City of Santa Rosa won for Employee Campaign Leader of the Year. Employee Campaign Leader of the Year nominees are truly the backbone and foundation of their organization's campaign success. The energy, committment and enthusiam inspire employee donations among their employees. I am so proud of all our employees for making the FUNd Drive such a success! (Pictured left to right are Stephanie Williams, Rick Smith, Roberta Atha, and Liz Licursi.)
A big thank you to over 1,000 volunteers (including 557 youth) who have helped the Creek Stewardship Program keep our creeks and creek trails clean in 2011. Volunteers collected enough trash to fill 763 trash cans. While tires, mattresses, shopping carts, TVs and other large items add significantly to the total volume, volunteers have been fantastic at removing smaller items of trash such as cigarette butts, lighters, plastic bags and candy wrappers whose colors and brightness make them more likely to be ingested by fish and wildlife.
Non-profit organizations, neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and religious groups worked with the Creek Stewardship Program to identify 24 creek sites in need of clean up. If you are interested in organizing or volunteering for a creek clean up please contact Alistair Bleifuss in the City of Santa Rosa Utilities Department at 543-3845 or
The Creek Stewardship Program is a partnership of the City, Sonoma County Water Agency and citizens whose goal is to increase public awareness of the benefits provided by our 90 miles of creeks and involve the community in caring for creeks.
On April 25, representatives from twenty-five cities across the nation, including City of Santa Rosa Mayor Ernesto Olivares and City staff working on a U.S. Department of Energy grant funded program, gathered in Philadelphia for the Fourth Annual Solar America Cities Conference. The conference was an opportunity to share findings on emerging trends in urban energy use and to discuss solutions to local solar barriers, such as zoning, financing and unwieldy permitting processes. The City of Santa Rosa received a Steele On The Roof Award for having installed 42 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity at the county level, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from Steven Chu (Secretary of Energy) for advancing the City’s solar market and serving as a model for communities nationwide through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities program.
The City in partnership with Solar Sonoma County has been awarded a U.S. Department of Energy Solar America Cities Special Projects grant through December 2011. With these grant funds the City established the Clean Energy Advocate (CEA) Program within Santa Rosa and Sonoma County to provide independent, unbiased advocacy in assisting homeowners to navigate the renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water-use efficiency upgrade process. Clean Energy Advocates are available to assist homeowners throughout any stage of the upgrade process at no cost. Free monthly educational workshops are also offered covering topics on solar photovoltaic energy, thermal energy, available rebates and financing and much more.
“It is clear to me that there is tremendous value in the connections we have with the U.S. Department of Energy and with our partnering Solar America Cities throughout the nation as we forge a common vision for other communities to follow. These resources and strong partnerships continue to strengthen Santa Rosa’s commitment to our greenhouse gas reduction targets while highlighting our abilities to remain a leader in renewable energy generation and overall market transformation.” –Mayor Ernesto Olivares.
For the first time since its inception, the 2011 Amgen Tour of California concluded without a stage in Santa Rosa. With this year off, the City has been planning something big for 2012 - hosting the Tour's overall race start. By kicking off the largest cycling event in the US, Santa Rosa will be featured on the international stage in its biggest way yet. With a Tour presence starting at least eight days before the May 13th race start, opportunity and exposure will come from teams training around the County, international press conferences, team presentation Gala, mass participation ride events and an expanded festival downtown. The event will take place the week of May 7, 2012 cumulating on May 13th with the start of the race.
It will take an enormous amount of work and funding to pull this off, so if you are interested in helping or would like to donate to the effort, please check out the official web site www.SantaRosa2012.com. Take a moment to view the Santa Rosa 2012 commercial teaser.
Congratulations to the Project Development Team who received the grand prize of $25,000 at Green Giant’s “The Green Awards” Celebration on May 13, 2011!
The Project Development Team entered the City’s Fuel from Aquatic Biomass (FAB) Project, which uses aquatic vegetation to treat wastewater and produce energy from the harvested vegetation and local organic waste, into “The Green Awards” Green Civic Leader category. The submission included a short essay and video describing the project. The video featuring student intern Caden Hare was posted on www.thegreenawards.com along with over 100 other submissions.
In April, the Project Development Team was notified they were one of twelve finalists determined by public online voting. Each finalist won an all expense trip paid for two to Los Angeles to attend “The Green Awards” Celebration announcing four grand prize winners of $25,000 to put towards their projects. Nicole Dorotinsky, FAB Project Manager, and Caden Hare attended the award ceremony on May 13, 2011 at the Vibiana, a historic monument, in Downtown Los Angeles where they accepted a $25,000 grand prize for their contribution to civic environmental leadership.
What fun would LA be without celebrities? The Award was handed out by Ed Begley, Jr., star of “Living with Ed” and emceed by Carter Oosterhouse, model and star of HGTV and Actress Amy Smart. The celebration also included “green” celebrities, entertainers, and a performance by grammy-winning songwriter and producer, Dan Wilson.
Take a moment to view both Caden Hare's entry video and the Green Giant's Awards video Visit the Green Awards web site for more information.
The Public Works Department has begun installation of a solar powered pedestrian activated flasher at the intersection of Sonoma Avenue at D Street. The curb ramps at this crosswalk will also be upgraded as part of this project. These improvements will help alert drivers to pedestrians crossing the street and improve access to the crosswalk. Weather permitting, this project is expected to be completed by mid-June.
Telephone: 707-584-2000 Fax: 707-585-1363
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