Saturday, December 24, 2016

Steps out of Homelessness: Clear and Accessible Pathways to Housing at All Levels


I know all of you have been supportive of building a system of housing and supportive services which addresses the needs of our community.  And over the past five decades, we have enacted, administered, and fought to improve and retain many excellent components of that system.  And I applaud the more recent initiatives by local and state governments to respond to the accelerating housing crisis.  Our representatives have heard from a unified citizenry that all are effected, and are pursuing solutions like gifts under a Christmas tree.

But more than ever before, what is needed is a stronger coordination of programs to insure that they facilitate clear and methodical pathways to permanent housing for all.

If we agree that a general acceleration of housing development at all levels is an essential component of the solution, and we believe that the housing mobility that results will contribute to those pathways, we must do everything we can to link and coordinate access at each level of housing.

To insure that those living on our streets and in our woods can access shelters, we funded shelters with the expectation that they will be available to them.  

To insure that those in shelters can access transitional housing, we funded shared-housing placement programs, rental deposit and security funds, and short-term rental units with the expectation that they would be available to them.  

To insure that those in shared transitional housing can access stable, individual permanent housing, we built and rehabilitated housing stock with long-term low income access requirements, and established government rental subsidies to attract an even larger pool of available housing.

And social service agencies working with the occupants of this housing stock assisted them in understanding the many, and often confusing, rules governing eligibility and access.  And the agencies supported these residents to utilize personal services which addressed many additional needs. 

As a result of an unprecedented emergency housing crisis, we are now embarking on both the addition of new housing alternatives between the street and subsidized permanent housing (safe camping and parking, encampments, tiny homes, etc), and the modification and augmentation of a level above government-subsidized rental units - affordable housing beyond in-iieu-funded, nonprofit-built housing.  Santa Rosa’s Affordable Housing Incentive Pilot Project and Sonoma County’s Community Development Commission initiatives to partner with local developers are examples.

In order to insure that those who continue to utilize our housing continuum can truly achieve their goals of self-sufficiency, we need to improve and expand our access coordination for them throughout all levels. A greater sharing and coordination of participants, coupled with coordinated policies for priority eligibility of those in the system to these new levels would be good first steps to those goals.

Monday, December 12, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda

Here is an analysis of the Santa Rosa City Council agenda for this Tuesday, Dec 13th, provided by our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa:

Friends:   There is no Study Session before this meeting.  This coming year, friends, plan on attending the meeting especially for  Study Sessions.  They contain the grist for many future proposals and City plans and policies and it's good to have the information.  They generally start at 3PM.

11.3 Resolution Adopting Amended Conflict of Interest Code.   New positions, new people require an update on these requirements.

13.1 Extension of the Proclamation of Homeless Emergency.
          On August 9, 2016, the Council made the first Proclamation of homeless Emergency, which affects how much of certain types of financing can proceed.   Since then they've renewed the proclamation 4 times, each one for 30 days.

13.2 Courthouse Square Reunification Project.   Due to several recently discovered or expanded discovery of issues related to the work, more money is recommended  to be applied to the project.  Happily ,there's a fund called the General Fund Unassigned Fund Balance that can cover this.   First a greater power supply had to be designed and built to provide power for events and equipment all over the Square.  Then Wi-Fi was found to be necessary across the Square (well, of course!)   And most recently, a very old fuel oil tank was found submerged in soil in front of the Empire Building in the northwest side of the Square.  It had to be evacuated and removed.  
More dollars for preservation of the Azawa panels and for an independent review of ADA compliance was found to be necessary.   It's a little galling (but I'm ignorant of standard planning) that more money is requsted for Construction Management, ($530,00), since many of the reasons for delay in finishing were unanticipated, but important  The project is now slated for a finish date in March, 2017, weather allowing, of course.
The Council is asked to approve an additional $1.3 million for the project.

19 Upcoming meetings.  Please notice that the Budget Priorities Public Hearing will be held on January 24.  Neighborhood groups, civic interest groups, get your priorities set and present them to the council at this meeting.

See you there!    Anne

Sunday, December 4, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Dec 6th


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's Santa Rosa City Council agenda:

Friends:    There is no study session before this meeting.  The biggest deal on this agenda is the seating of the Newly Elected Council members AND the election of Mayor and Vice Mayor.  Unfortunately, these come at the end of the agenda!

14.1 Santa Rosa Fund-to-Fund Loan to Acquire Agricultural Land at 7630-7650 Lakeville Highway.  This land is to be used for spreading biosolids that are left as the end-products after water is extracted and treated.
The City already has lands where they are spread, but they need more area.  See below for an explanation of the funding arrangement.

14.3 Resolution to Declare a Fiscal Emergency as a Result of Passage of State Proposition 64.   Because there will be costs related to regulation and because there are time limits ruling when local government can enact a taxation plan to pay for those costs, the Council is asked to declare this fiscal emergency in order to place on the March, 2017 ballot a measure to do just that.  Further explanation can be found below:

Council Dinner Break.

14.4 Termination of the CMedia Contract.   In January, 2014, the city entered into an agreement with CMedia to provide for the operation of Public Education and Government (PEG) access channels in exchange for City funding.
You've likely read in the Press Democrat about irregularities with spending leading to a full spending audit.  Read more below: 

14.5 Amendment to City Classification and Salary Plans for the City Attorney and the Water Department Director.  Due to an asserted need for the City to remain competitive for these currently vacant positions, the City Attorney's salary is to be increased from $202,800 annually to $222,800.  The same reason is cited for increasing the Water Director's salary from $181,450 to $190,523 annually.

17. Council Reorganization
   17.1 Declaration of the Results of the November, 2016 election, including election of 4 City Council members, as well as passage of the City's 2 ballot measures, N and O.
   17.2 Comments by Council members
   17.3 Administration of the Oath Of Office to the newly elected Council members; then the seating of the new members.
   17.4 Comments by Newly Elected Council members.
   17.5 Election of Mayor for a two-year term.
   17.6 Election of Vice Mayor for a one-year term

   17.7 Election of a Designated Presiding Officer to preside when neither Mayor nor Vice Mayor is in attendance.  Creating this as an elected position requires amendment of part of the Council's Manual of Procedures and Protocols.

See you there!    Anne

Thursday, December 1, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Dec 6, 2016


The Council has no Study Session scheduled, but will gather in the Mayor's Conference Room for a Closed Session prior to the Council meeting.




This item may be postponed to Dec 13th if the City Clerk does not receive certified results from the County Registrar of Voters by noon on December 1st.


Administration of oaths, election of Mayor, Vice Mayor, and Mayor Pro Tempore.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

S.R. City Council Mtg Agenda, Nov 29th, 2016


Our thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's City Council meeting:

Friends:   There is no Study Session before the 4PM meeting.

6 Proclamations
    6.1 National Native American Heritage Month
    6.2 California Law Enforcement Challenge Award for Santa Rosa's Police Department.  The Police Chief will accept the award from the CHP.

  14.1 Fiscal Year 2015/16 Measure O Annual Report.  This measure was amended by the voters on November 8 to good effect. In the link below, there's information on how the money from the tax was spent.  It's interesting that the Violence Prevention Program was moved in Fiscal year 2016/17 from the City Manager's Office to the Office of Community Engagement. 

  14.3 Roseland Pre-Annexation Agreement and Annexation Application.
Starting in 2014 the City of Santa Rosa and the County have been negotiating a Pre-Annexation Agreement to address cost-sharing and other commitments necessary for annexation.  
In October of 2016 the Council approved the EIR, adopted the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Road Specific Plan and various pre-zonings and re-zonings. The recommendation by the City Manager's Office is that the Council approve the agreement with the County of Sonoma, adopt a resolution directing the Planning and Economic Development Department to file an application with LAFCO, the local agency formation commission, for annexation of 5 unincorporated County islands.  In the link, there 's lots of information about how much improvements are going to cost, along with a map of the areas to be annexed.

5PM Public Hearings

  15.2 Proposed Zoning Code Amendment to Allow Lodging - hotel or motel- land use upon approval of a Minor Conditional Use Permit for all properties in the city with the CO (Office Commercial) zoning.   This proposal is new to me.  It is perhaps meant to help with the glut of vacant office space we currently have.  The main areas on the map look like Bennett Valley and the Airway Drive area.

See you there!


Monday, November 21, 2016

S.R. City Council Meeting, Nov 29th


On Nov 29th, the City Council will consider allowing motels and hotels in all areas zoned for offices in the city.  The Planning Commission public hearing in September presents a great opportunity to learn not only the background on this vital land use issue, but contains some easy to understand information for citizens on the City's public notice practices.  It also will helps explain how a citizen can request that an particular use permit application can be elevated from an administrative hearing to a public hearing before the Planning Commission.

Click here for the link to the Citizens University post.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sonoma County Takes Action to Ease the Housing Crisis

Santa Rosa, CA  –  November 15, 2016  –  Sonoma County took significant action today to ease the local housing crisis. With actions taken by the Board of Supervisors, the County is now set to expand emergency shelter capacity during winter months, implement innovative programs to boost homeless services, challenge federal Housing and Urban Development regulations to make housing vouchers work in Sonoma County, and invest nearly $4 million in new affordable housing construction in 2017.
“Housing is fundamental to the health of our communities,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Efren Carrillo. “Expanding housing opportunities for all in the County and providing the safety net of expanded shelters during the winter will save lives today and help families in the future.”
Covering a sweeping set of actions, the presentation given by the Community Development Commission highlighted a number of investments and programs to ease the housing crises. With the Board’s approval today, the County will now invest approximately $300,000 for a sustained expansion of emergency shelter capacity during the winter, and nearly $4 million for the development of additional affordable housing in 2017. In partnership with the City of Santa Rosa, the County will also gather the needed data to challenge existing federal criteria for housing vouchers that are dramatically out of step with local rents, making it difficult for low-income individuals and families to afford rent even with the vouchers. The County will amend its existing policies to make it easier for local veterans to use local financial assistance for housing.
In addition, the Board of Supervisors received updates about the County’s efforts to date on housing and homelessness. Highlights included the County’s investment of over $20 million in the last decade on affordable housing, over 450 homes that have been built or are in development, including the creation of nearly 300 additional units by private and non-profit developers.  The report emphasizes the collaborative work with community stakeholders to draw attention to the critical need of affordable housing in Sonoma County.
The presentation comes just a few days before the “Housing for All” summit organized by the Community Development Commission. The Executive Director of the Community Development Commissioner, Margaret Van Vliet, noted, “while these are major investments in resources and capital, we know that $4 million for new units is just the tip of the iceberg for what we need to do, and we know that making vouchers actually work for individuals in Sonoma is just the beginning of our advocacy in Washington. Our team is proud to have our leaders and community partners so committed to this issue.”

Monday, October 31, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Nov 1st


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Friends For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's City Council agenda:

Friends:    Two important matters are before the Council on Tuesday:   

3:00 PM     First, a Study Session with the Planning Commisson on alternatives for the Southeast Greenway project. There are three alternatives for land use and circulation. The Council and Planning Commission are asked for feedback to guide the staff in preparing a preferred alternative.

14.1 Santa Rosa Housing Series   Report #6
In early 2016 the City Council began a 6-part housing series addressing supply, affordability and other issues.
This part considers housing as economic development and presents a draft plan for priorities in the housing plan development.
Please take a look at the priorities presented.  There are some odd choices, such as putting 'Amending the Hillside Ordinance' in the first priority, while some more easily obtainable goals are planned for next year.

I'll see you there!


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Senator Mike McGuire's LiveSteam of Meeting on Housing and Homelessness


Here is a link (click here) to a 10/27 meeting on the "No Place Like Home" funding, held in Ukiah, in a Homeless Housing & Services Town Hall, sponsored by Senator Mike McGuire.  The meeting starts about 46 minutes into the tape.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Oct 25th


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's City Council Agenda.

Friends:    There is a 3PM Study Session before the 4PM meeting.

3.1 Groundwater Sustainability Agency Formation Update  This might sound esoteric, but it will mean a lot in the future for what water comes out of your faucet.
The State mandates that certain watersheds of concern will create oversight agencies to protect groundwater.  There are 3 in Sonoma County: Santa Rosa Plain, Petaluma and Sonoma Valley.
The way the State Board has this set up, the agencies will be lead by elected leaders from the cities and from the county.  There are some (such as the Sonoma County Water Coalition) who believe alternatives would better serve the area, especially since almost all city water users are served by water obtained from the Russian River.  A lot of rural well-owners will not be represented and/or part of the discussion.  This will be an interesting staff report. See below.

4PM Meeting
12.3 Ordinance Adoption regarding a change in zoning policy for certain designations of land use.   This is one of the votes (along with the next two items) to prepare for the annexation of Roseland, according to the plan approved by the Council last week.  These are confirmatory votes.

12.4 Ordinance Adoption regarding reclassification of 190 properties in the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Road Specific Plan (RASR Plan).

12.5 Prezoning of 1606 Properties in the RASR Specific Plan area

   Here is a map of the proposed project area: Map.pdf

14.1 Extension of the Proclamation of Homeless Emergency  The Council first voted to Declare a Homeless Emergency on 8/9/16 and the declaration must be reviewed and renewed every 30 days in order for many types of funding and programs to be possible.

Staff also recommend sending letters to our Congressional representatives seeking support for change to the  of Continuum of Care Care Funding Formula

20. Upcoming meetings

See you there!   Anne

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Homeless Talk

Greetings! Here is the video which Homeless Talk has produced to use in its community discussions.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Oct 17th-22nd HUTS Schedule

HUTS construction schedule

Monday, Oct 17th
Clean up, Set up, Organize
Moving day from studio to site
Pick up lumber from Mead Clark
Check out the table saw
Cut plywood panels
Drill pocket holes in cross pieces
Assemble top deck frames
Pre-drill holes in deck side rails

Tuesday, Oct 18th
 Cut plywood panels
Prime and paint floor ply
Glue and staple plywood onto wall framing
Trim out for end walls

Wednesday, Oct 19th
Rip 3/4" for bay windows
Build bay windows, alternate window sides
Sand out lumber marks
Caulk interior
Paint interior

Thursday, Oct 20th
   Cut and frame ceiling panel
   Paint ceiling panel
   Install ceiling panel
Cut roof framing
Build roof
   Install vent mesh
   Install insulation
   Attach purlins and trim
Cut insulation
Rough frame for windows

Friday, Oct 21st
Install windows
Caulk exterior
Paint exterior

 Saturday, Ot 22nd
Cover roof
   Temp plastic sheeting
   Metal roof
       Cut panels to length
       Finish with flashing
   Cut rails and stiles
   Drill pocket holes
   Glue on plywood panels
   Attach hardware


Building Homeless HUTS this week

Saturday, October 15, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Oct 18th


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for this analysis of this Tuesday's City Council agenda:

Friends:   There is no study session before this meeting.
14.1 Courthouse Square Project Update, Expenditure Report and Contingency Action
       With the discoveries about needed design changes, the council is asked to increase the Contingency level.

14.2 Approval of an agreement to host the IronMan event in Santa Rosa from 2017 through 2021.  The Council is asked to authorize the City Manager  to sign the needed documents.  An explanation about the finances can be found in the link below.

5PM Public Hearing

15.1 Roseland Area Projects.   Among them are the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Road Specific Plan and preliminary work toward future Roseland Annexation.
 The link below shows the extensive work that has been done over a couple of years.  Come and see and hear about the planning done.

20 Upcoming meetings

See you there!   Anne

Saturday, October 8, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Oct 11th


Our thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this Tuesday's City Council agenda:

Friends:    There is no Study Session before this 4PM meeting.
I begin with Report items, because there are many important ones.

14.1 Referendum - Petition Challenging Ordinance #4072, the Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance. This is an update from staff on how this challenge will (or will not) proceed.
You've likely read of the petition drive funded by The California Apartment Association challenging the ordinance.  Many signatures were obtained using mixed-up language that lead signers to think that they were signing to support Rent Stabilization. See below for more info;

14.2 Expanded Year-Round Community Homeless Assistance Program (CHAP).  It is recommended by the Housing and Community Services Department that the Council issue regulations to allow for immediate implementation of the Year-Round CHAP.  See more below:

14.3 Plan Bay Area Draft Preferred Scenario.  It is recommended by the Planning and Economic Development Department that the Council provide direction for comments to be sent to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) regarding the draft scenario and to authorize the mayor to sign a letter submitting those comments.

14.4 One Bay Area Grant 2 (OBAG2) (Everything has its acronym!)
    The Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) will release a call for for projects in November. This is a request from the City of Santa Rosa that the Council will discuss.

14.5 Measure Y -Should the Council Endorse Measure Y, the Sonoma County Library 1/8 percent sales tax to restore and enhance Library Services?
14.6 Proposition 52 - The Council will discuss whether to endorse Prop 52.  This is about protecting the funding that the state collects from hospitals that is required of hospitals to allow them to receive Medi-Cal payments.

15 Public Hearings
  15.1 Short-Range Transit Plan for Possible Adoption. It is recommended by the Transit and Public Works Department that the Council adopt the Fiscal Year 2016-2025 Short Range Transit Plan.

29.  Upcoming Meetings

See you there!

Friday, October 7, 2016

S,R. City Council Agenda item - CHAP Guidelines


Here is the Powerpoint presentation which the City Staff are using to inform the City Council of the history, content, and intentions for the expansion of CHAP:

Pilot Program
• October 2015 Council approves initial pilot (CHAPP) for 2015/2016 winter months
• Safe parking, placement of portable toilets, temporary overnight shelter
• March 2016 Council extends by 30 days to April 30

Expanded Program
• July 2016 Council received a report from staff regarding an expanded year-round CHAP
• Council directed staff to work with the Homeless Policy Subcommittee to prepare appropriate ordinance amendments for an expanded CHAP

Homeless Emergency Declaration
• August 9, 2016 – action provides City with more flexibility to address homeless crisis
• Subcommittee prepares recommendations
• Strategy Adoption
• CHAP Guidelines
• Emergency Declaration Work Plan
• Prioritizes CHAP Guidelines

CHAP Guidelines Content
• Allow property owners to use their properties or facilities, which meet the Zoning Code definition for “Meeting Facility, Public or Private”, for a range of activities
• Safe parking or safe camping
• Placement and maintenance of portable toilets and access to existing bathroom facilities
• Provision of temporary overnight shelter
• Storage for personal belongings

CHAP Guidelines Intentions
• General operating guidelines – further refine as part of code amendment process
• Immediate implementation
• Allow interested parties to begin operations to further address the homeless crisis in Santa Rosa

Monday, September 26, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Tuesday, September 27th


We thank our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's City Council Agenda:

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

10. 2 Matters from Council re Future Agenda Items
10.2.1 On 9/20/16 Council member Wysocky asked that Measure Y be considered for Council Endorsement. This concerns  Voter Support for a Library Tax.
10.2.2 On 9/20/16 Vice Mayor Schwedhelm asked for Council consideration of State Proposition 52, which concerns fees charged to hospitals to access MediCal payments.

14.1 Sonoma County Voter Approved Protection for 'Community Separators' Measure K. The Council will decide whether to endorse Measure K.

14.4 SMART Preparedness Update and Notice of Intent to Establish 24 hour Quiet Zones

Public Hearings
15.1 The 2016-2025 Short Range Transit Plan Presentation and Possible Adoption.

20.1 Upcoming meetings

I'll see you there!


Monday, August 15, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Tuesday, August 16th


Here is an analysis of this Tuesday's Council agenda, thanks to our friend Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa:

Friends:   This is an important meeting, with votes that should be watched.

There is no Study Session.
11.2 Resolution to Add 1.25 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) positions to the Code Enforcement Division of the Housing and Community Services Department.  There has been a chronic backlog in code enforcement due to reduced staffing and a recent focus on this with discovery of many cases of sub-standard rental housing.

13.1 Consideration for Adoption of an Ordinance ... Regarding 1)Rent Stabilization and  Other Tenant Protections for Certain Rental Units; 2) A Resolution Adopting a Policy Regarding Capital Improvement Plans for Certain Rental Units (for landlord-proposed improvements and cost recovery for them) and 3) Review of Preliminary Cost Estimates for Program Administration  through June 30, 2017.

13.2 Ordinance Adoption Requiring Just Cause for Tenant Evictions.

15  Written Communications
15.1 Request for a Gubernatorial Declaration of Homeless Emergency.  This is one of three types of Declarations approved by the Council last week.

19.1 Upcoming Meetings

I will see you there!  Anne

Monday, August 1, 2016

S.R. City Council Agenda, Aug 2nd


Thanks again to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's City Council agenda:

Friends:   This is an important meeting, when a crucial decision on Just Cause Eviction will be finalized and a decision made on how to place ballot measures for City taxes on the November ballot.

There is no study session before the 4 PM meeting

12.6 Ordinance Adoption - An Ordinance of the City of Santa Rosa Requiring Just Cause for Evictions (JCE) in the City of Santa Rosa.  The initial vote on July 19 of this year was 4-2-0-1, with Vice Mayor Schwedhelm and Council member Olivares voting 'No' and Mayor Sawyer absent/recused.   This vote will be significant in the reelection campaigns later this year of Julie Combs, Gary Wysocky and Ernesto Olivares.  

14.1 Ordinance Introduction Approving Ordinances to 1) Amend Measure O (adopted by City voters in 2204) to change the level of funding required to be dedicated to certain Public Safety purposes and 2) Amend Measure P (adopted by City voters in 2010) to extend for 8 years a quarter-cent General Transaction and Use Tax.
At the July 19, 2016 Council meeting, the Council agreed to study possibly combining the measures on the ballot.   The City Manager and the Finance Department recommend that the Council 1) receive the polling results done recently (see the link below) ; and 2) Approve one or more measures to a) amend Measure O to modify the the baseline spending on certain public safety purposes; and b) amend Measure P to extend the quarter cent 8 more years beyond its 2018 sunset date.

From my point of view, the problem is this:  a public safety union is thought to already have plans to try to kill the amendment of Measure O and support the extension of Measure P.  If they appear on the ballot together, that effort would backfire.  This opposition to amending the baseline formula for public safety funding has been constant; the change proposed is from the now-unrealistic, pre-recession 2004 budget funding level  (Plus addition of the equivalent of the CPI) to, instead, a constant percentage based on the Fiscal Year 2015/16 budget ( a very generous 57%).  If the extension of Measure P passes without an amendment of Measure O, the public will continue to see further erosion of funding for City Services other than public safety in each budget year.
***Please send emails to the Council  (   asking them to combine the measures on the ballot, or come to the Council meeting to say the same. 

14.4 Zoning Code Interpretation To Allow Cannibis Support Uses- (non-volatile) Manufacturing, Distribution and Processing.  The Council wants to assert their right to make decisions on these matters. More below:

20.1 Upcoming meetings

I'll see you there!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Santa Rosa City Council, July 26th


Much thanks to Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's City Council Agenda.

After last week's meeting (ending at 11:15PM) when the Council hashed out their planned actions regarding homelessness, the urgency of a Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance and considered which tax measures it will place on the November ballot, this will be a relatively straightforward meeting.

There is no Study Session.

4PM Meeting
11.2  City of Santa Rosa and Oakmont Village Association Agreement to provide a deviated fixed route bus service.   This is a continuation of that contract. 
Oakmont Village Bus Service

11.4 Ordinance Adoption - Requiring Just Cause Evictions in the City of Santa Rosa.  There was an attempt last week to pass this as an Urgency Ordinance, which failed, so it returns as a regular ordinance  This is a Bandaid for the renting public`to prevent them from being evicted unjustly while the City staff prepare the Rent Stabilization Ordinance for the Council. (Around me in Council Chambers last Tuesday, I heard 'suits' saying, "They wouldn't have this problem if they hadn't announced their Rent Stabilization plans.")  The standard, and understandable reasons for eviction will remain - failure to pay rent, violation of apartment safety rules, etc.
13.1 Certificates of Participation - Courthouse Square Project and 2007 Lease Refinancing.  This refinancing is explained in the report below.

13.2 Labor Agreement with unions for Firefighters, some Police, Bus Operators and City Attorneys
   A 2.5% Salary Increase across the board. Cost of the contract: $1,757,798, of which $1,118, 584 is a General Fund cost.  Where does the rest come from?

13.3 Labor Contract for Santa Rosa's Unit 10 - Executive Management. Again, a 2.5% salary increase.
13.4 Labor contract for Santa Rosa's Unit 11-Middle Management. Cost: $93,780, of which $79, 411 is a General Fund cost.
13.5 Amendment to Anti-harassment, Anti-Descrimination and Anti-Retaliation Council Policy.  This adds classes of 'protected persons' - City Volunteers and Unpaid City Interns. It also changes the reporting procedure if a Council member is involved.  The complaint would now go to the City Manager.

13.6 Emergency Declaration Concerning Homelessness. Last week the Council asked staff to prepare all 3 types of declarations.  Each has its benefits and restrictions.  The hope, according to Council member Tom Schwedhelm, is to reduce the number and rate to "functional zero."

See you there!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Santa Rosa's State of Homeless Emergency, Tuesday, July 19th, 2016


I wanted to share a special six and a half minutes of Santa Rosa City Council time where, as Mayor John Sawyer said, the "hearts" of our city's leaders were on display.

Friday, July 22nd, Santa Rosa Courthouse Square Reunification


I had some extra time this morning while Pat pitched the Library Tax Campaign to a donor, so I went downtown to see what the progress there has been on the reunification of Old Courthouse Square.

It was a sunny day, which reminded me of how dearly we will pay for the loss of trees and shade when it is completed.  Just in time for the winter cold and rain, this outdoor mall may become a desert of concrete.

Here is a link to the photos of work being done. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Santa Rosa City Council Agenda - July 12th


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis:

There's no study session before the 4PM meeting
There are 2 Proclamations for retirements:   for Chuck Regalia, the City's Assistant City Manager and for Ruben Arminana of SSU.

12.2 Reauthorization of Over Hire of Up to 6.0 Positions in the Police Department.  This is presented as a way to phase in new hires with necessary training to avoid gaps in staffing.

14.1 Community Advisory Board Work Plan Presentation for 2016/17.   More explanation below:

14.2  R3 Consulting Group Review of North Bay Corporation Performance.  North Bay is the City's franchise waste hauler.  The City contracted with R3 to evaluate North Bay's adherence to its franchise contract.  They have found gaps and poor performance in several areas.

14.3 Courthouse Square Reunification Update on Costs So Far.

20.1 Upcoming Meetings

  The very significant things coming up at the Council's next 2 meetings are a report on the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance, A Declaration of Homelessness Emergency and Ordinances for Ballot Measures for the November Election.

See you there!   Anne

Anne Seeley

484-8722 (cell)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Santa Rosa City Council - June 28th


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley of Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa, for this analysis of this week's Council agenda:

Friends:  There is a 2PM Study Session before the 4PM meeting

3.1 Outlining the Polling Results.  This is to relate information gained regarding public sentiment on City services and matters that may come before the voting public in November.  It's about public sentiment on City financial matters such as extending sales taxes for specific purposes. CCSR has been encouraging the Council to place a reform measure on November's ballot for Measure O, that will change its formula for an ever-increasing budget for the Police and Fire Departments to a more moderate mechanism.  It looks as if the pollsters recommend that action to amend Measure O be delayed to a future year - disappointing.

14.1 City of Santa Rosa Wastewater Revenue Refunding bonds.  The City's wastewater system has over $250 million in bonds and State loans outstanding.
    More info below:

14.2 Collaborative Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Santa Rosa and the Santa Rosa School District to achieve low and/or moderate income housing for School District employees on Fir Ridge Drive.  Previous agreements had a deadline that this MOU extends up to 3 years and empowers the City Manager to extend farther if necessary.  This project has been under discussion since 1988.   I plan to encourage the Council to delineate their process for deciding whether low income or moderate income (or both) housing will be built, using guidelines that make sense for our current dire housing needs.

14.3 Appointment of Interim City Attorney.  The City Council seeks to relieve Interim City Attorney Molly Dillon while the city conducts a recruitment for the permanent City attorney position.   Interim City Attorney services will be provided to the City by the law firm of Renee Sloan Hotlzman Sakai LLP.

See you there!   Anne

Anne Seeley

484-8722 (cell)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Santa Rosa City Council Agenda, June 21st


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's Council agenda.

Friends:   Happy Father's Day, everyone!
There are no Study Sessions before the 4PM meeting.

7 Staff Briefings
   7.1 Courthouse Square Reunification Project Update.   Staff will update the Council on the progress of the project.
   12.1 Contract Award for the City Hall Demonstration Garden and Low Impact Retrofit.  Work is to begin in August.

    12.5 First Amendment to the Miscellaneous Employees Contract for Wellness Services. The aim is to increase fitness and decrease health risk factors.

    12.6 The same wellness services for Public Safety employees.  The cost for both sets of services is $300,000 total.

    12.7 Appointment of the Interim City Attorney and Establishment of Compensation.  The appointee is Assistant City Attorney Molly Dillon and her initial compensation will be approximately $180,000.

   14.1 Extend and Modify CityBus Inter-Operator Transfer Policy to include SMART.  SMART riders will  be able to transfer multiple times without additional fares on CityBus within a 2 hour time limit. Hooray!  Some planning for connection to the train is so welcome!
    Service will also be extended to Golden Gate Transit and Sonoma County Transit.

   20.1 Upcoming meetings.  I'm particularly interested to see that next week, the Council will hear the results of polling the City has done regarding likely tax measures to go on the November ballot.    Measure O needs (IMHO) revision to be placed on the ballot to allow voters to make reasonable changes to it, but it might not happen.  Measure P, which will sunset in 2 years, needs renewal.  What else was polled, I don't know.

See you there!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Santa Rosa City Council Agenda, June 14th

Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for this analysis of this week's Santa Rosa City Council meeting agenda:

There is no study session before this 4PM meeting
  12.1 Intention to Reimburse for the Courthouse Square Reunification Project (CSR Project).  Without a vote by the Council to reimburse the City's General Fund after the planned bond financing vehicle comes through, by law the General Fund wouldn't be able to be reimbursed.

14.1 City Agreements for Homeless Services.  Its partners in providing services are the Community Action Partnership and Catholic Charities. 

  14.2 Contract for Professional Services Agreement with Urban Economics, at a cost of $227,200, to complete the nexus studies already underway that are necessary to update 4 current Impact Fees for development.  Added (remarkably, as this has been suggested for years) will be a nexus study for a commercial linkage fee.

  14.3 Professional Services Agreement for the Southeast Greenway project work.  This year-long study will result in a General Plan Amendment, Rezoning and EIR for this 57-acre gem of a land use conversion project.

  14.4 Second Amendment to the Professional Services Agreement with Economic and Planning Systems (EPS) .   This work will allow the completion of the Housing Action Plan that was just unveiled last week.  Much work is still needed on it to make it useful.

  14.5 Rescinding Stage 1 - Mandatory of the Santa Rosa Urban Water Shortage Contingency Plan,  Starting in 2014, the council adopted, at the State's direction, water saving measures to reduce community-wide water consumption by 20%. After a better rain year, the State has eased its drought restriction.
It makes such good sense to me to keep the regulation to limit landscape irrigation to the hours of 8PM to 4AM.  Why let water be evaporated off of landscape areas?
  14.6 Amendment to the Measure O Implementation Plan.  This amendment would take 6 affirmative votes.    After voters passed the Measure O quarter cent sales tax measure in 2004, the Council approved an Implementation Plan for use of the funds.  There's a high bar for altering the Plan, for good reason.
  In November, 2015 the Council approved a new format for the Implementation Plan and this vote will ratify those changes.  See below for more information:

Public Hearings  Item 15.1 will likely be started at this 6/14 meeting, but then will continue at the 9AM session the next day, June 15 at 9AM.  Item 15.3 will be on 6/15 also.
15.2 Adoption of the City of Santa Rosa FY 2016/17 Operations and Maintenance Budget and FY 2016/17 Capital Improvement  Program Budget.

  15.3 Approval of Fees for Recreation and Parks Facilities and Services.  This Public Hearing will be held after the General Fund Budget item, on 6/15.  See below for more information:

I won't see you there.  I'll be out of town that day, but I hope some of you attend and tune in.
Thanks!    Anne

Anne Seeley
484-8722 (cell)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Santa Rosa Housing Plan Discussion, Jun 3rd.

Greetings! Here is a great discussion of what the Santa Rosa City Council is trying to do to respond to the affordable housing/homeless services needs of our community.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Santa Rosa Planning Commission - Roseland Area/Sebastopol Road Specific Area Plan Review, June 9th


Thanks to our friend, Duane Dewitt, and his friends Trish and Greg Tartarian, for this letter expressing the concerns of many residents of Southwest Santa Rosa.

June 8, 2016

Jessica Jones, Senior Planner, City of Santa Rosa
Community Development Department
City of Santa Rosa
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 543-3410 

RE: Comments on the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Specific Plan and Roseland Area Annexation projects Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) (City of Santa Rosa 2016)

Dear Ms. Jones:
We have read through the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Specific Plan and Roseland Area Annexation Projects Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) (City of Santa Rosa 2016) and we would like to express our deep concerns about three issues; the intensive development proposed in the Specific Plan Area, new roadways planned that will move many cars through the Specific Plan area that will increase dangers for pedestrians, and a severe lack of parks in the area to serve the existing residents and the many proposed new residents.

Intensive Development in the Specific Plan Area
The Roseland Area has seen more development that is medium to high density development than in other areas of Santa Rosa, except near the Coddingtown Shopping Center. We need affordable housing in Santa Rosa, but it does not need to be concentrated in our area of Roseland.

The Roseland Area has gained 8,147 new residents between 1990 and 2013, an increase of 76 % (page 3.12-1). By comparison, the rest of the City of Santa Rosa grew by 49% and Sonoma County by 10% between 1990 and 2013 (page 3.12-1). Renter-occupied housing represents a greater share of units in the Plan Area (54%) compared to the City (47%) and County (40%) (page 3.12-1).

As residents who live, work and own property in our neighborhood that is within the Annexation Area, we support development along Sebastopol Road and north along the Joe Redota Trail. 
However, the proposed Specific Plan Area shows Hearn Avenue as Medium-High density and Transit Village Medium density, as shown on the Proposed Land Use Plan (page 2.0-17).We understand this reflects the new transit hub that is to be located at the Southwest Community Park.

However, along with this proposed increase in density along Hearn Avenue, there has also been a proposed change from very low residential along Burbank Avenue to Medium –Low residential development. As one of the last undeveloped areas in the area of annexation, Burbank Avenue should not be developed as Medium-Low residential development; it should remain as Very Low Residential to support park lands and maintain the current scenic road designation, rather than become contiguous with growth along Sebastopol Road and Hearn Avenue, which are larger streets that can better handle the increased population, vehicular traffic, and infrastructure.

The plan proposes 5,759 single-family and 3,039 multi-family units in the Specific Plan Buildout, an increase of existing conditions of 2,358 and 1,244 units, respectively. Figure 10, Planned and Proposed Development in the Plan Area, identified the number of proposed projects that have been approved for the Plan Area, which includes 1,301 units, of which 318 are affordable units and 983 are market rate units. However, Figure 10, contains several errors and did not include several proposed development that are already included in the April 2015 City of Santa Rosa Pending Development Report, including Lantana Place (2875 Dutton Meadows) with 96 units of multi-family and Stony Village North (2729 Stony Point Road) with 40 units detached. This increases the number of Market Rate Units to 1,023 and the Affordable Units to 414for a total proposed all units to 1,437 not the 1,301 units identified in Figure 10.

We need to ensure that affordable projects are distributed more equitably throughout all areas of the city, rather than concentrating them in one already high-density quadrant, such as the Specific Plan Area.

Higher-Speed Roadways Crossing Through Specific Plan Area
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Network of Santa Rosa, created in 2011, provided background information used in the Transportation Section (Chapter 5) in the Santa Rosa General Plan 2035, in which Burbank Avenue (which has already been classified as a Scenic Road) was identified as a Class II Bicycle Road. However, in the Specific Plan, there are several new local roads proposed along the east side of Burbank Avenue.

Roseland Creek Elementary School is located on Burbank Avenue and currently supports 405 students with a capacity of 700 students. Some of the children walk to school, but the majority of students are driven to school. With the current number of students in the school, traffic is stopped on Burbank Avenue for the parents waiting to pick up their children between 7:45 - 8:30 am and between 2:30-3:30 pm. If we increase the number of roads connecting to or bisecting Burbank Avenue, the resultant heavy increase in traffic will create even more, major traffic congestion on Burbank Avenue.

There is also proposed a major road to connect Hearn Avenue to Northpoint Parkway to facilitate further development in the western portion of Southwest Santa Rosa. That would connect Northpoint Parkway, with speeds of 45 miles per hour, to Hearn Avenue – the only access from Highway 101 - crossing Burbank Avenue. The Southwest Community Park is identified as a major park with the Specific Plan that serves the Roseland Area. However, introducing these higher-speed roadways through the Specific Plan area will bisect the area with heavy, faster-moving vehicular traffic, reducing access and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. These new roadways would also negatively impact the scenic character, aesthetic value, and natural/cultural integrity of the scenic roadway, and negatively affect the quality of life and safety for existing residents, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Severe Lack of Parks for the Roseland Area
One of the Goals identified for the Specific Plan is “To make life and the physical environment better for plan area residents and employees.” (Page 2.0-2).  We feel this can be achieved by increasing the number of parks for the existing residents.

As stated in the DEIR (Page 2.0-1), the Specific Plan Area is 1,860 acres, which includes 1,220 acres of incorporated city land and 640 acres of unincorporated county land. The population within the incorporated city land is 18,918, while the population within the Annexation area is 6,594. Chapter 3.13, Public Services states (page 3.13-10) that the standard of six acres of parkland per 1,000 residents is comprised of 3.5 acres of city park, 1.4 acres accessible school recreational land and 1.1 acres of open space. Based on the current population of 18,918 residents in the Plan Area, a total of 113.5 acres of parks is required for the existing residents.

Although the Chapter also states (Page 3.13-13) that the General Plan 2035 Land Use Diagram shows eight proposed community and neighborhood parks in the project area, there are only five identified. All of the others are located outside the Plan Area. The Chapter also states (page 3.13-9) that there are six additional neighborhood parks identified for the project area, as shown in the Santa Rosa General Plan 2035. However, Figure 6-1actually shows parks that are outside the project area, and one on Dutton Avenue that is actually a proposed medium-density residential development, not a park.

Although it is stated on Page 3.13-14 that a sufficient number of new parks are planned in the project area to serve anticipated growth, we don’t agree with this statement is accurate, based on calculations. Not enough parkland occurs for the existing population let alone the addition of almost 10,000 people.

One of the few areas left undeveloped is along Burbank Avenue. If we assume the City is going to create parks for those areas of Roseland that are already developed, and ignore the addition of 9,662 residents approved by the proposed plan, we will still need 113 acres of parks for the existing residents. The only place to put that park acreage is on Burbank Avenue. Placing parks on the outskirts of existing development will require people to drive to the park area instead of walk.  Perhaps another urban garden, like Bayer Farm, should be built.

Within the Santa Rosa General Plan 2035 (Page 6-15) under Public Services and Facilities, the following goals are also identified:
PSF-A-5 Developing areas of the city (e.g., southwest Santa Rosa) should be given a higher priority for new park development, and underserved neighborhoods should be given priority during redevelopment and renovation of the park system. Priority for park development should also be given to areas of greatest density and areas that allow for safe and easy access and visibility. Priority should also be given to locations that minimize impacts to sensitive environmental resources that could require extensive and expansive mitigation; the most sensitive environmental resource areas should generally be preserved for more passive recreation that assures their protection.

One way to achieve this goal is to create more natural parks, like that of Roseland Creek Park, which was designed so that very little hardscape would be developed. This prevents the need for mitigation for loss of habitat for California tiger salamander.
PSF-A-9 When building new parks, consider expanding existing parks or consolidating proposed parks to provide larger acreage and greater range of recreation activities, while maintaining park standards.

One way to achieve this goal is to create a recreational park on Burbank Avenue located across from Sheppard Middle School and designate it for youth recreation only.

Based on the increased rate of growth in the Plan Area (76%), compared to the rest of the City of Santa Rosa (49%) and Sonoma County (10%), and the fact that the renter-occupied housing represents a greater share of units in the Plan Area (54%) compared to the City (47%) and County (40%), it is clear that not enough consideration of existing population and conditions is being taken into account.

We feel that the proposed planning for the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Specific Plan and Roseland Area Annexation area is far too intensive and will result in overcrowding, excessive traffic, reduced safety, and loss of remaining areas for much-needed parklands.