Tags >> Sonoma County
Oct 28
2009

Landfill Divestiture

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , Sonoma County , Science , resources , politics , planning , news , Health , garbage , environment , energy , conservation , chemicals , California , budget , air quality , activism

Bruce Robinson

An unpopular plan to privatize the Sonoma County dump has been voted down by county supervisors, rekindling hope that they might still be able to resume operations at the facility, which has been inactive for the past four years.

A sizable crowd was on hand for the meeting Tuesday morning, many of them wearing "Go Green" badges to indicate their opposition to the proposed divestiture deal. Some of them were apparently mobilized by the eight-minute video below, which was posted on YouTube the preceding weekend.

[video:[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6JY28g86Q ]

“This agreement does not have a constituency,” observed Supervisor Shirlee Zane, after the parade of speakers unanimously denounced the proposal Tuesday morning. Windsor Town Council member Deborah Fudge (right)  faulted the county for much of that, saying that closed door meetings and a process that assumed any outreach would happen after the divestiture was approved, had backfired on the Board.

One of the repeated messages during public comments on the divestiture proposal was that, even if approved by the board of supervisors, it will still be dependent on the full participation of most of the local municipalities. Yet council members from Santa Rosa, Windsor, and Healdsburg  all expressed reservations. Petaluma, which has already opted out and is now shipping their waste to Novato, might still be open to working with the county, suggested Mayor Pam Torliatt. But none of that seemed to inspire a desire for cooperation in Supervisor Paul Kelley.

Also see these previous North Bay Reports on the Sonoma County landfill issue:

The Deal for the Dump  (Oct. 1, 2009)

Landfill Leak (July 7, 2009)

The Landfill's Future (March 31, 2009)

Sonoma County is far from alone is struggling to deal responsibly and locally with its garbage. This video takes a critical look at the situation in neighboring Marin County.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRuvi8Rs0R4 450x450]


Oct 27
2009

Auto Impounds

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Sonoma County , Santa Rosa , rights , public safety , protest , poverty , policy , law enforcement , justice , jail , immigration , government , California , activism

Bruce Robinson

Impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers is a discretionary call for police officers, one that can be an expensive hardship for immigrant workers in Sonoma County.

Once a vehicle has been impounded, the law dictates that it will be held for the full 30 days, but the owner can request a hearing to get it released soon. Sgt. Dough Schlies of the Santa Rosa Police Department, explains how that process works.

Here's the full explanation of the Santa Rosa Police Department policy governing the release of impounded vehicles.

While acknowledging that the law grants police officers individual discretion to decide whether or not to call in a tow truck when they find an unlicensed driver, Davin Cardenas, an activst and organizer with the Committee on Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County is concerned that those decisions often vary widely. And he suspects that in at least some cases, ethnic profiling is involved.

"Vehicle impoundment" is governed by Section 14602.6  of the California Vehicle Code. This is the California Highway Patrol's explanation of that law.

From the announcement of the Halloween Day march in Santa Rosa:

"On October 31st, the Committee for Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County will sponsor a march and symbolic Trick or Treat at City Hall to bring awareness about the impounding of immigrants automobiles. We want to let people know what we are asking for, as well as what our responsibilites are in order to bring change about. Bring the kids! Bring a costume! We will also be promoting the usage of safer forms of transportation, such as carpooling, bicycles (bring your bikes!), and walking. There will be face painting prior to the march, as well as a whole lot of candy. Where: Begin at 665 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, Ca (Dollar Tree parking lot)
            End at Santa Rosa City Hall
When: Saturday October 31st
           3pm - 6pm (rally and face paint begin at 3pm, march at 4pm)
For more information, contact the Committee for Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County at
(707) 571- 7559.

Oct 22
2009

Community Benefit Agreement

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Sonoma County , Rohnert Park , nonprofit orgs , jobs , housing , environment , energy , employment , corporate responsibiliyt , construction , community , business , activism

Bruce Robinson

A  new “Community Benefit Agreement” between the developers of the big Sonoma Mountain Village project in Rohnert Park and a coalition of labor, housing and environmental groups could set a new standard for cooperation between factions that have more often been adversaries.

David Grabill with the Housing Advocacy Group was one of the first to contact Codding Enterprises about the Sonoma Mountain Village project. He recalls that after some encouraging early meetings, it soon became apparent that it would be more productive to engage the full Affordable Development Coalition in the ongoing talks.

Kirstie Moore, development manager for the Sonoma Mountain Village project (seen fully built out in this artist's rendering), says the lengthy negotiations with the Affordable Development Coalition (ADC) were a learning experience for both sides.

The voluntary agreement with Codding Enterprises is legally binding for  Sonoma Mountain Village is concerned, but for other development projects, says ADC Director Marlene Dehlinger, it represents a standard to live up to, not a requirement that anyone else is obligated to meet.

Oct 21
2009

Food Bank News

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , Sonoma County , poverty , nonprofit orgs , food , families , economy , children , business , budget , activism

Bruce Robinson

The Redwood Empire Food Bank has seen their client base grow by 40% over the past two years, and has added some innovative new ways to serve them.

The development of the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s new “3 Squares” prepackaged meals, explains Executive Director David Goodman, grew out of a large donation of a single ingredient.

The “3  Squares” meals are now being offered in three flavors: Black Bean Chili, Pasta with Marinara Sauce, and  Spanish Rice. They were deliberately made not to be microwavable, Goodman adds, but to reinforce the idea of dinner as an event for the family to share.