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By Kerry Fugett, 10/16/17

The devastation that hit Sonoma County residents, students, small business owners, workers and our environment during the recent wild fires has been enormous. With well over 7,000 structures destroyed, our community has had to come together like never before.

As a leader in grassroots mobilization, Sonoma County Conservation Action stepped in on day one to help our community stay informed, work together and develop a platform for long term relief coordination.

To do this, we helped launch the SonomaCounty.Recovers.org website.

What is SonomaCounty.Recovers.org?

SonomaCounty.Recovers.org is a locally-managed bilingual website that works with local organizations, government and volunteers to help fire victims meet their individual needs without delay.

By leveraging the national Recovers.org community-powered disaster relief platform, we were able to start pulling together thousands of volunteers and donations in a matter of days, matching them to real-time needs in our community…by the minute! 

With over 50 local organizations working together on the backend of this site, we have already been able to meet over 150 individual needs in our community.

How does SonomaCounty.Recovers.org work?

With over 40 trained volunteer “matchers” on the backend, we are actively matching individual needs to resources in real-time as they are submitted on the website.

Fire victims can easily use the site to log a need for assistance, goods or services.

Community members can offer a donation or sign up to volunteer, noting their specific skill set and availability.

This easy sign-up process, multi-organizational collaboration and up-to-date recovery information makes this the most powerful site for helping meet the individual needs of our community following this crisis.

Simple, nimble and accessible, it has forever changed how communities can collaborate to support each other during and after a crisis.

How can you get involved?

If you know of an organization involved in disaster relief, invite them to use this tool! It’s free of charge and available to our local non profits to facilitate coordinate and collaboration. They just need to go to SonomaCounty.Recovers.org and apply as a representative of a local organization.

If you are interested in volunteering as a community need “matcher”, please email sonomacountyrecovers@gmail.com with “Matcher” in the subject line. Donations can also be logged on this site.  When a need is submitted that matches your donation offer, we’ll make the connection!

Together, we can not only re-build our community, but we can create a more resilient, equitable and networked community and healthy ecosystem.

 

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UPDATE: 10/15/17 – Vetoed by Governor Brown. Veto Message:

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 649 without my signature. 

This bill establishes a uniform permitting process for small cell wireless equipment and fixes the rates local governments may charge for placement of that equipment on city or county owned property, such as streetlights and traffic signal poles. 

There is something of real value in having a process that results in extending this innovative technology rapidly and efficiently. Nevertheless, I believe that the interest which localities have in managing rights of way requires a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill. 

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We are excited to have our beautiful Sonoma Coastline highlighted in the recent KCET and Link TV’s “Summer of the Environment,” video series, a state-wide project intended to ignite compassion and action for helping to save and heal our planet.

https://www.kcet.org/shows/california-coastal-trail/experiencing-the-wild-sonoma-coast-along-the-kortum-trail

This short video offers a beautiful overview of the history of Bill Kortum, co-founder of Sonoma County Conservation Action, and our community’s dedication to protect the Sonoma County coastline.

A story that winds it’s way from the 1960s to today, it highlights development pressures along our coastline and reminds us how important it is to safeguard the unique ecosystems we have in our own backyard.

A story of perseverance, collaboration and grassroots advocacy, this video captures the gift we have in our coastline. Enjoy!

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Sonoma County Community Separators

Supervisors Unanimously Approve Community Separator Ballot Measure and Designations

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In August 2016 the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to renew longstanding protections for green buffers between towns and cities for another 20 years with a ballot measure requiring a countywide majority vote in the November General Election.

The Community Separator Protection Ordinance will extend existing protections for rural open space and agricultural lands designated as community separators by preventing conversion to shopping malls, housing tracts or resort hotels without a vote of the people.

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The supervisors also added lands to the existing eight community separators and established a long overdue community separator between Healdsburg and Cloverdale.

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By Kerry Fugett, Executive Director

 

Stepping into Dennis Rosatti’s role as Executive Director can certainly be described as “big shoes to fill”. But I am ready for this challenge and am extremely honored and excited for the opportunity to take those shoes and stretch them out. To keep those shoes knocking on 50,000+ doors a year, educating and building our community to achieve a healthy quality of life and ecologically thriving environment in Sonoma County.

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The environmental movement is shifting, as we stand on the shoulders of those before us, we must open our arms and acknowledge the impacts of social pressures affecting our environment. Longstanding, unsolved problems are festering: affordability of housing, stagnant wages, crumbling infrastructure, the impacts of climate change, and a generation who wants to call Sonoma County home but struggles to find a salaried job locally. This all affects our environment: carbon emissions from long commutes and increasing traffic, development pressures on open spaces, our local coastal access being used as a quick fix to state level funding problems.    While there is no shortage of problems, there is equally no shortage of solutions. Our community is filled with brilliant minds, passionate groups of millennials thinking outside the box, and advocates for our environment. The crucial piece is that we build the right alliances and push to have our values and voices represented in local government.

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What Is It?

A County-Wide Climate Action Plan (CAP) that intends to provide a regional framework for addressing climate change. The plan builds on Sonoma County’s historic practice of reducing Green House Emissions through a combination of regional standards and local autonomy.

 

The Climate Action Plan is being developed through a collaboration with the Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA), working groups from each local jurisdiction, as well as a stakeholder advisory group, among others.

 

Why Now?

As cited by the RCPA, climate emissions in Sonoma County have declined since the 1990s. The concern is that these losses are expected to turn into gains, by 2020, if further action isn’t taken. This is why the current planning process is focused on near and long term goals.

  • By 2020, reducing Green House Gasses by 25% below 1990s levels
  • By 2050, Reducing Green House Gasses by 80% below 1990s levels

 

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The Proposal

  • California State Parks has proposed a plan to create Fee Collection locations along the Sonoma County Coastline.
  • The proposal would allow for $8 day passes for entrance into some locations, while having $3 hourly parking fees in others. There would be a low income pass, and a credit system, but none of these elements have been concretely laid out.
  • The plan has been re-submitted to the Coastal Commission for approval after the County unanimously rejected it.

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Dear Friends, Members and Supporters,

 

I am writing to announce my departure from Sonoma County Conservation Action. We are looking for someone great to take my place! The Executive Director job posting is found on our website

Dennis Rosatti

I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in the leadership of Conservation Action the past 13 years. When I discovered Sonoma County, I was awestruck with the biological diversity, the coast, the redwood forests, and the amazing community of people. The working agricultural landscape, vineyards, parks and open spaces coexisting with urban areas and little towns, all within an hour or so of the great City of San Francisco, almost seemed too good to be true.

Conservation Action offered me the job as a canvasser that turned into a career as not only a non-profit program manager and eventually executive director, but as a full-time environmental activist. I was given the chance to use my education, my skills and my passion, putting it into action on a local level where we were able to realize results. I learned about electoral politics, relationship building, coalition building with like minded organizations and people, and the nurturing of ideas in the political sphere of local and regional government.

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Key areas of concern

  1. Budgetary Ambiguity Over

    • Projected revenue from the proposal,
    • Insight into use patterns and the feasibility of raising the projected revenues,
    • Costs associated with the proposed pay stations,
    • System maintenance costs,
    • How money will be used, and if there will be additional services for the community.
  2. Equity Barriers

    • Could create 2-tier access, with low income members of the community having to look for beaches with free access.
    • Sonoma County, compared to Southern California, has significantly less public transportation options to the coast.
    • Adding additional shuttles to the coast could cost more than $300,000 per year. If this option were to be explored, who would pay for it, and how would that factor into the proposal’s revenue goals?
    • Will this fee plan unduly penalize the transportation needs of the disabled?
  3. Incongruent Values: Demand Pricing Model

    • It is unnacceptable to charge people more on sunny days, holidays, and other designated peak use periods.
    • Variable charges may have negative effects on tourism, hurting the local economy as a consequence.
  4. Environmental Impacts

    • The proposal has not addressed the possibility of direct or indirect environmental impacts.
    • Two different pay station types have already been proposed. What type of pay station is being proposed now? What are the power, size, and maintenance requirements? What will the overall environmental footprint look like?
    • If the proposal increases roadside parking, what will the affect be from environmental erosion and subsequent habitat displacement?
  5. Public Safety

    • Does the proposal take into account any possible changes in traffic patterns as a result of people searching for free parking?
    • Does the proposal take into account the increased likelihood of fires from cars parked on the side of the road?
    • Does the proposal consider the possibility of increased accidents between cyclists and motorists search for roadside parking?

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California Coastal Commission Pro-development Coastal Commission appointees maneuver to terminate Dr. Charles Lester, undermining the power behind what has become a model for other states working to preserve natural beauty. There will be a public hearing in Morro Bay on February 10th.

Please sign this MoveOn petition to express concern about the damage this could have on protecting our California coastline and preserving public access.

Please share this information with your friends and family using social media, to help build public awareness. And remember to include the hashtag #SaveOurCoast

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