Friday, August 14, 2015

What community projects are you involved with?


SRT is interested in helping distribute information about what community projects our members are a part of.  Use the comments feature below to write up a short answer.  If needed, we'll contact you to gather more information to best inform all of us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

SRT Newsletter Issues: What's Happening in Southwest Santa Rosa?


As you may recall, the Santa Rosa Together Steering Committee recently adopted a set of Strategic Initiatives for 2015. One key initiative is focused on southwest Santa Rosa (SWSR) and the Roseland Annexation. The key objectives for this initiative are:

1.   SRT will partner with others to form and then work in a broad coalition of community leaders and organizations to:
  • Ensure that the residents in SWSR have a strong and organized voice in ongoing city and county outreach efforts, and
  • Work with community leaders to form a community-wide organization in SWSR that is community led and gives the community a strong and organized voice
2.  SRT, working as a part of the broad coalition, will work in and with the existing city and county outreach efforts to ensure that:
  • The efforts are coordinated to ensure that community participation is maximized and that the participation helps to build the capacity of the community to work together
  • The community has a strong and informed voice in the process
  • The community’s voice is heard and incorporated into outcomes
  • The need for an ongoing community voice and organization in SWSR is discussed and supported
SRT members have been active participants in the Roseland Area Projects Steering Committee (the advisory group to the Santa Rosa Roseland Area Specific Plan and the Roseland Annexation Process) and community meetings held in June. SRT members Arthur Deicke, Gregory Fearon, and Pat Kuta are representing SRT on the Roseland Area Projects Steering committee. SRT member Duane DeWitt is also on the Steering Committee as a representative of Roseland Action. SRT members Beth Dadko, Lee Dibble, and Hank Topper have also been involved in various SWSR projects. An update on the Roseland Area Projects was presented to the Santa Rosa City Council on August 11. Click here to read the staff report for more details.

Several SRT steering committee members met with City Manager Sean McGlynn in mid-June to discuss concerns regarding the lack of coordination between the many projects impacting Roseland and the broader southwest area. In addition, members emphasized the importance of city support for the development of a strong community based organization in southwest Santa Rosa.  The city has taken the following steps to address our coordination concerns:
  •  City staff participates in monthly meeting of representatives from all projects impacting SWSR to provide updates and coordinate plans. A group calendar was created for coordination of meetings/events in SWSR to avoid conflicts.
  • The city has recently made changes to the Roseland project web site -- adding Spanish translations; adding a new page listing all the projects underway in SWSR; and launching an online survey and discussion group to provide another way for the community to provide inputs to the Roseland Area Specific Plan and Annexation projects.
Less progress has been made in developing a strong community based organization in SWSR, so Santa Rosa Together, working with the forming SWSR Health Action Chapter, and others, will focus in the coming months on helping the residents of SWSR form the organization they will need to monitor implementation of current planning efforts and take the lead in the ongoing work to strengthen their community.  Overall, the city now seems to be taking community engagement seriously, but there is still a lot of room for improvement and more work to be done.

Finally, we are excited to announce the launch of a campaign to fund a library in Roseland, something the community has dreamed about for many years. To learn more about the plans for the Roseland library and how you can help make it a reality, go to
If you have any questions or feedback on SRT’s work in SWSR, please contact Pat Kuta, Gregory Fearon, or Tanya Narath.

SRT Newsletter Issues: Homelessness

Engaging our City to Address the Needs of the Homeless

Recently, SRT successfully advocated that the city establish a community dialogue on responding to homelessness as part of it’s approach to the affordable housing crisis we are experiencing.  We’d like to further explain our case for this approach.

1) This would not be just “Another Taskforce”
Addressing the needs of homeless people will not be accomplished by better coordination among and funding for our governments and not-for-profit organizations. We have all learned this lesson many times over in our work to address complex issues like preventing crime, improving education, and addressing environmental challenges.  Our governments and not-for-profits can do great work, but they, by themselves, do not have the resources or ability to address these issues.  We know that it takes a community-wide effort that can engage a broad number of our community members at all levels to make real progress on any of our complex challenges.  We need the resources and ideas of our community members at all levels to address the needs of the homeless.  Just as importantly, we need to find common ground and develop a common plan to address this issue so that we are all working together.

We don’t need another taskforce, we need a new process that can engage our community and provide an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the planning and work to address this issue.  We need a process that brings the expertise of our governments and not-for-profits together with the ideas and resources of our community and its many organizations to succeed.

2)   Broad engagement sounds like too much work. Is it worth it?
We have the opportunity to create a broad and effective community wide effort to address the needs of the homeless –an effort that could finally begin to address this issue in significant ways.  In addition, creating a process that brings everyone together, this effort will give us all a chance to get to know each other and learn how to work together more effectively.  This will be a major step forward for our city, increase our ability to address all of our future challenges, and begin to shape the kind of democracy we need to create a great city. 

3)  What would the process of truly engaging our community look like?
Let’s take a close look at an outline for this process, so that we all understand both the time and resources that would be required as well as the potential of that this kind of effort would have.  This outline is based on successful experiences in other cities that have worked to engage their communities.
·       To engage more of our community members and leaders, take this conversation out to the community by forming small groups for facilitated conversations.  Hold these conversations in our neighborhoods, organizations, churches, and schools to give a large number of community members a chance to have a voice and be part of the solution
·       Let’s set a target of at least 50 small group discussions
·       Let’s prepare well so that these discussions have the best chance to succeed:
·       Train facilitators for each of these discussions to ensure that everyone has a voice and to encourage listening and learning from each other,
·       Provide these small groups with the information they need for an informed discussion by forming a group (students, homeless leaders, homeless staff, interested community members, journalists) to produce discussion materials that frame the question, provide information on the homeless and current efforts to address their needs, and known options and costs for addressing the issue from best practices around the world.  Work with the Press Democrat to print and make these materials widely available.
·       Small groups will meet and discuss these materials and their own experiences and work together to find solutions
·       Ideas from small groups will be circulated on city web site and in PD
·       Representatives from all the small groups will convene in a city wide meeting to discuss and work towards a common plan for a community wide effort to meet the needs of the homeless.  Recommendations for City and County action will be presented to Council and the Board of Supervisors for consideration.  An organization, if necessary, will be established to implement the plan.

Let us know if you are interested in hosting or attending a neighborhood meeting on homelessness!  Contact us at:

Monday, August 10, 2015

S.R. Downtown Subcommittee Hears Plea from Merchants


Last week, I attended a meeting of the Santa Rosa Downtown Subcommittee at which three members of the City Council (Wysocky, Coursey, and Olivares) heard a plea from downtown's merchants to move forward with a phased approach to revitalizing the downtown square.  Outlining their traffic and parking suggestions, and identifying the variety of ways to finance the changes, they requested the Council take action at its September 22nd meeting in order to advance construction early next year.

Here is a video containing the audio of the meeting, with some photos from the web of the square.   Sorry the volume is low, I used a recording app on my IPod Touch.

Here is a link to a city webpage detailing what the City of Oakland is doing to engage its citizens in discussing their downtown planning.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Website Re-Design Meeting for OGTF and SRT


The City of Santa Rosa is currently conducting a series of meetings at a variety of locations intended to attract targeted audiences to tell them what the City’s website should do for them.   Steve Cancian, Shared Spaces consultant who is assisting plan the Roseland Area Projects, has scheduled gatherings throughout the City.  As you read this, four have occurred, targeted at advocates and activists, families and children, seniors, and the southwest community.  This week, Steve will be meeting with students and youth, web community, tourism and the visitor agencies, and the business community.   

I have attended all meetings, and have suggested the website needs to support a more participative and engaged community, is simpler to find information, and is embracive of a wider set of content reflecting the entire city.

Very recently, a decision was made to conduct a ninth meeting, one aimed at listening to members of the Open Government Task Force and Santa Rosa Together.  It will be held in the Council Chambers this Thursday morning from 9:30 to 10:30am.  I know this is a late notice, but I encourage all of you to attend if you can do so.  The ideas being collected will be incorporated into the design specification for the vendor chosen to build a new website for the City. The meetings so far have been very well run, and the ideas varied and responsive.  If you have questions, I’d be happy to respond to them either through email ( or phone (546-5771).

Santa Rosa City Council, Aug 11th


Once again, Anne Seeley of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa provides a report on the City Council meeting coming up on Tuesday:

Beyond the first 2 links to staff reports, my copy/paste inclusion of staff report links went kablooey.  Sorry.   You can see the whole agenda on

Friends:    There is a 3PM Study Session 
3.1  Restroom Options for the Unsheltered.    Staff have provided an overview of potential ways to provide this most basic service to homeless people.  See below:

11.1 Authority to accept $110,000 in funding (which comes from an assessment on all water users) from the Sonoma County Water Agency.  Santa Rosa participates in a Memorandum of of Understanding (MOU) with other water contractors to conduct outreach efforts and education on water conservation.  This particular funding is proposed to expand Santa Rosa's Take it From the Tap program (TAP) and implement a regional local tap water campaign throughout Sonoma County and Northern Marin.
The objective is to inspire, educate and encourage behavioral change regarding water conservation.  See below:

13.1 Professional Services Agreement with Creative Thinking, Inc., dba The Idea Cooperative for destination marketing of Santa Rosa.
  The cost is $190,000, which would come from the City's portion of the Santa Rosa Tourism Business Improvement Area (SRTBIA) funding.   The SRTBIA was approved as an entity by the City in 2010 as an alternative to increasing the Transient Occupancy Tax.

13.2 Grant Agreement for the Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST).  HOST is sponsored by the County of Sonoma and administered by Catholic Charities.  HOST is a multi-disciplinary outreach team that works to engage unsheltered homeless people into services and ultimately housing as apart of the 'Housing First" model.
The proposed agreement would provide $415,000 to Catholic Charities to fund the program from 8/15/15 through June 30, 2016.

13.3 Roseland Area Projects Update.  In 2014 the City bagan work on 2 projects in the Roseland area: the Roseland Area Annexation and the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Road Specific Plan.  There's also the Roseland Village Neighborhood Center, Bayer Neighborhood Park and Gardens, Roseland Creek Community Park and the Stone Point Road widening and Hearn Avenue overcrossing projects.
This report will update the Council on the status of each of these projects.

5:00PM Public Hearing
14.2 Adoption of Revised Animal Services Fees.    Sonoma County Animal Services (SCAS) provides sheltering, administration and field services to Santa Rosa, the Town of Windsor and the unincorporated areas of the county.  They're also responsible for rabies control throughout the county.
Increased fees are proposed to help recover the cost of SCAS services.

See you there!    Anne

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 11th, Council to hear Update on Roseland Area Projects

On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the City staff will present an update on the Roseland Area Projects to the City Council. 

The report to Council will outline the work that has been completed thus far on the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Road Specific Plan and the Roseland Area Annexation (collectively known as the Roseland Area Projects), and will provide the next steps for both projects.   There will also be a brief update of various other projects in the area, such as the Bayer Neighborhood Park and Gardens, Roseland Creek Community Park, Stony Point Road Widening, Hearn Avenue Overcrossing, and the Roseland Village Neighborhood Center. 

Below is the specific information about the date, time and location of the Council meeting:

Date:                     Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Time:                     at or after 4 p.m.
Location:             City Council Chambers, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue

Also, please note that the City is still working on scheduling the next Community Workshop.  As soon as we have a specific date, time and location an e-mail will be sent out and flyers will be posted around the community.

Thank you,

Jessica Jones | Senior Planner
Community Development Department |100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3 | Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Tel. (707) 543-3410 | Fax (707) 543-3269 |

Monday, August 3, 2015

S.R. City Establishes On-Line Community Discussion on Roseland Roads and Pathways

Roseland Area Projects Steering Committee Members,

Thank you to all of the members who participated in the on-line survey asking for ideas on possible topics for a series of small community group meetings that will be held in August.  We received a great response from the community! 

We now have a new question:  Where would you like to see new roads and pathways in the Roseland area that would help you move around the area better?  This question is a follow-up to one of the activities we had at the last Community Workshop.  Rather than a survey, this is an open discussion.  I sent out an e-mail this morning to our e-mail distribution list for the Roseland Area Projects asking everyone to participate.  

You can also find the survey on the project website ( by clicking on the “Get Involved! | ¡Participe!” link at the left side of the page. 

As we did with the survey, we are asking all Steering Committee members to participate in the on-line circulation discussion, and to forward this e-mail to others in the community that may not be on our distribution list.  The discussion will be available until August 16th.  A new question will be posted every few weeks, and I will send an e-mail to you each time a new question is posed.

Thanks so much for your continued participation!


Jessica Jones | Senior Planner
Community Development Department |100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3 | Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Tel. (707) 543-3410 | Fax (707) 543-3269 |

Santa Rosa City Council, August 4th

Friends :    
There is no study session before this 4:00 PM meeting

5.1  Proclamation Honoring Former Council member Jake Ours.  His obituary is in today's Press Democrat.
5.2 Proclamation for National Health Care Centers Week.  This proclamation honors the tremendously beneficial effect that health care clinics have in providing preventive care and health care for low-income people.  In particular, the proclamation lauds Santa Rosa's Community Health Centers for providing medical, dental and mental health services to many who have no other options.

6.1 Staff Briefings 
6.1  7th Annual Gang Prevention Gang Awareness Week


11.3 Amend the Smoking Ordinance recently approved. Specifically, include Outdoor Service Areas in the prohibition of smoking.  Such areas are ATM lines, outdoor food vending lines, movie lines, bus stops and shelters.  The original document referenced Indoor Service Areas only.

13.1 Reimagining CityBus Service and Scheduling.  This project was begun in January of this year, with the purpose of maximizing the convenience and efficiency of the system,  See more below:

Public Hearings
As often  happens, a public hearing is held so that the public can voice objections to the specific properties that will have weed abatement actions carried out on them.    This item is for more general comment on the City's Weed Abatement Program.

15.1  A letter from the council in support of a resolution by Senator Mike McGuire to rename Annadel State Park to Henry F. Trione Annadel State Park.
15.2 A letter of support for Santa Rosa's application for National Park Services' Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.
   This would perhaps provide funds for the future South East Greenway project, to help to acquire the 2 mile swath of land that is now a vacant State Right-of-Way to use for community benefit. 

Upcoming meetings, which includes the large number of study sessions that the Council just asked for to consider in depth the issues highest in their goals list.  See below:

See you there!   Anne