Friday, February 16, 2007

02.15.07 RRROC Meeting: Brief summary to tide folks over whilst I digest everything

Whew! The 02.15.2007 Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee meeting proved to be a long & contentious affair. I'm still digesting everything ... an arduous but self-inflicted ordeal which can only be compared to that of a boa constrictor swallowing a watermelon & hoping it will soon ... um ... pass.

For now, please accept my VERY brief summary. I promise to post the WHOLE ENCHILADA (complete with exciting dialogue, blow-by-blow action sequences, names, relevant URLs, & the spelling out & more systematic definitions of my current alphabet soup of acronyms) by the end of the week.

Brief Summary of topics discussed at the RRROC meeting for 02.15.2007:

  • Election of Officers: Dan Fein & Ken Wikle are re-elected as RRROC Chair & Vice Chair (respectively) despite protests from Lloyd Guccione (who organized a petition to remove Dan Fein as Chair) & John Uniak (who wanted to discuss the petition prior to the Election of Officers because 28 constituents had signed Guccione's petition).
  • Public Comment: Citoyen Larry Lane announces that Milo from 95.1 KGGV FM (our local radio station) is interviewing Mr. Fein every other Thursday evening on Milo's radio show (The Touch, 5-6pm, weekday evenings). Zelda Michaels pointed out that Mr. Fein is not officially authorized to represent the RRROC on the radio station. River Rattina fails to see why Ms. Michaels has a problem with this, since Mr. Lane is not officially authorized to represent the radio station to the RRROC either.
  • Public Comment: Citoyen Rich Carmichael asks the RRROC to look into possible mismanagement of funds for the Niche Marketing (GLBT) project
  • Public Comment: Citoyenne Deborah Waller states that there are too many items on the RRROC meeting agenda & that discussing them all would require our staying until one in the morning. Mr. Fein strikes most of the "New Business" items from the agenda. It is also suggested that the RRROC hand items off to subcommittees before-hand to shorten the discussions.
  • Correspondence: Chamber of Commerce writes letter withdrawing application for fixing the sidewalks & tree-root problem in Guerneville for legal reasons (their legal counsel advises against it); 2 people write in support of the new Riverkeeper Park (which will be adjacent to the new Guerneville River Park).
  • Monthly Reports: Boris Sztorch, Redevelopment Manager, goes over the status of & funding for current & future projects, including: Koret Club Rehabilitation, Vehicle Abatement Program, Building Removal (Norgaard/Kelso & De Monchy sites -- still need information from contractors before demolition can proceed), Design Guidelines (draft document due in March, 2007 for review by consultants & then CDC & RRROC); EcoRing (eco-tourism efforts) to proceed as planned; Woodstove Program (may be renewed for 2007); Guerneville River Park (funding requested); Riverkeeper Park (update on Phase I, request for funding for Phase II); Niche Marketing Grant (for GLBT tourism -- marketing activities continue), Strategic Plan (next public input sessions scheduled for late March, 2007); RRRPD Tennis Courts (agreement signed & will proceed), Monte Rio Fire District Feasibility Study (grant agreement signed & project can proceed). Other projects are still in the early stages of review &/or obtaining approval.
  • Restrooms Subcommittee: Safeway says "no" to allowing RRROC to install public restrooms on their parking lot & they're still waiting to hear from CalTrans about the other two potential locations.
  • Housing Subcommittee: Burbank Housing & Habitat for Humanity addressed their recent meeting. They're interested in working with us & have begun inquiring about land acquisition.
  • Communications Ad-hoc Subcommittee: They've met with County representatives & pan to gather input for how we can improve the CDC & RRROC sites & what we would want from a community site.
  • Koret Club Rehabilitation (Monte Rio Recreation & Parks District): After much hashing out of details with representatives of MRRPD, the motion to approve the project was passed & the rehabilitation of the community center will move forward. Yay! Presenters, including Suzi Schaffert (Facilities Committee Chair) & Brian Grant (member), were heartily congratulated by almost everyone.
  • Guerneville River Park (additional funding to complete Phase I): The performance space/stage part of the proposal is deferred for further review & discussion; A short-term ad-hoc subcommittee is formed to visit the park, gather input & make recommendations for the next meeting so the project can continue moving forward.
  • RRROC Annual Budget from County: After much contention & heated words between Kathleen Kane (CDC Executive Director) & John Uniak (RRROC member), the budget document is approved with the understanding that the numbers have been entered as estimated projections, not actual costs, & that there may be some flexibility.
  • Riverkeeper Park: Don McEnhill from Russian Riverkeepers delivers an update on Phase I of the project & submits a revised proposal for RRROC funding towards completing Phase II. RRROC told Mr. McEnnis that he still needs to obtain the actual bids from contractors before they can vote on his proposal.
  • Woodstove Replacement Program: The program has been reinstated, but only as a housing-funded project. This means you now have to fill out more forms, jump through more hoops & meet income qualifications.
  • Adjournment: At this point, it was 11pm & the meeting adjourned. The following topics have been moved to the next meeting: (1) the Role of the Infrastructure Committee; (2) The formation of a Youth Outreach Subcommittee (umm, while you guys are at it, howzabout another Outreach Subcommittee for people who can't come to meetings in the evenings, like parents with young chidren & folks who work evening shifts?); & Website enhancements.
I promise to post all of the juicy details (along with the more dessicated ones) within the next few days! Thank you for your patience.

NEXT MEETING: MARCH 15th, 2007 at the Guerneville Veteran's Hall at First & Church Streets in Guerneville (by the entrance to Johnson's Beach).


mary robertson said...

So, why are you doing this?

Could you at least spell Don McEnhill's name right?

Russian River Rattina said...

Thanks, Mary -- I corrected my mispelling for Don McEnhill.

As for why I'm doing this? It's because I can't seem to find much information on what's going on around here on the Lower Russian River online & figured that maybe a niche needs to be filled.

There's a lot going on at the RRROC meetings & a lot of people who are interested cannot attend these meetings because they work at night or have to stay home with their kids.

The local papers (Russian River Monthly, West County Gazette, & West County Times) do a good job, but their space limitations prevent them from providing details. Plus they don't come out until a week or two after the RRROC meetings.

The transcripts of meetings are not posted on the CDC Web site & the ones that are printed out & sparsely distributed provide very little detail and absolutely NO mention of public comments, beyond the names of who spoke. I believe that this defeats the purpose of having the public attend meetings, because it does not truly allow the public to be heard.

I'm also trying to cover other stuff, too, like the new River Park -- I can't believe that even the official County site doesn't provide photos like I have.