Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Miscellaneous newsy tidbits

In the nick of time … Budget cuts and stricter funding guidelines for various public agencies have put many existing and proposed programs and projects at risk. Fortunately, a couple of worthy causes near-and-dear to some of our hearts have received funding in the nick of time. The Russian River Charter School narrowly escaped shutting its doors this month – three months before graduation – via a settlement with the California Department of Education. However, renewal of their charter for next year remains in doubt due to a dispute concerning funds received for average daily attendance.

Despite mutterings about how ambulances do not technically count as “infrastructure,” the Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead to the Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee’s recommendation for $242K towards the funding of a badly-needed, new ambulance for the Russian River Fire Protection District. Fire Chief Sean Grinnell's and 5th District Supervisor Efren Carrillo's strong support overcame objections from Valerie Brown (chairwoman and supervisor for the less-downtrodden 1st district) concerning possible legal challenges from the State.

Girl Scouts, anyone?: Local moms, a few dads, & their girls met last Tuesday at the Sebastopol Library for an orientation on joining or starting Girl Scout troops here in West Sonoma County. Fledgling troops include a combination Daisies (K-1)/Brownies (2-3) troop in Guerneville, and a Daisies troop in Occidental/Salmon Creek. For more information, please email Sandy Pete, the coordinator for West County, at stp @ sonic.net (spaces inserted to prevent spamming). You can also look up local troops on the Girl Scouts’ Web site at www.girlscoutsnorcal.org. If you live in or around Guerneville & crave those delicious Girl Scout cookies, come by Safeway & pick up a few boxes (Saturday from 12:30-3:30pm & Sunday from 1:00-3:00pm) from troop #10480.

Anecdotal Evidence: KGGV FM DJ Laura Mueller hosts a fascinating show about history on the Russian River, including interviews of our older residents. Tune in on Saturdays at 11:00am by turning your dial to 95.1 FM or clicking on the streaming audio link at www.kggvfm.org. If you’ve got a story to tell, contact her at laura @ kggvfm.org (spaces added so Laura doesn’t get SPAM from the email link).

Neighborhood Watch: A number of communities here on the River are forming neighborhood watch groups, including Monte Rio, Guernewood Park, and Rio Nido to address safety and security issues like emergency planning, crime, and substance abuse. For updates, information, and resources, visit Microbulletin Board’s new Neighborhood Watch page. Monte Rio residents, business owners and stakeholders can contact MonteRioWatch @ gmail.com (I’ve added spaces so they don’t get spam from the email link). Folks from Rio Nido are invited to attend the upcoming Neighborhood Watch meeting on Saturday April 3rd, 11am, at the Rio Nido Roadhouse. If anyone out there has information on the one in Guernewood Park, please let me know.

County creates task group for “revitalizing” Rio Nido: Seriously, it’s on page 5 of the latest Russian River Redevelopment newsletter! And how will task group members be chosen? According to Redevelopment Associate, Al Lerma, applicants’ names will be added to to the list I am compiling for our Executive Director Kathleen Kane who will make the final selection for the task groups …” How considerate of Ms. Kane to save applicants the trouble of filling out applications, by handpicking all the task group members herself. Apparently, nobody has bothered to inform her and her associate that Rio Nido ALREADY has a task group. They’ve been meeting for the past five months and have set up committees to address Rio Nido Residents’ top priorities: Beautification, Infrastructure, Safety & Security, and Business/Economic Development (which is also in the process of setting up a Rio Nido Web site).

SPEAKING of the Rio Nido Task Force ... The REAL Rio Nido Task force will be meeting on Saturday March 13th at 10:00am at the Rio Nido Road House. We'll get to meet & greet our neighbors over coffee & hear reports from our newly-created committees (Beautification, Safety & Security, Infrastructure, & Business/Economic Development) which have been meeting over the past few weeks.

A page from the affordable housing developer’s playbook: A friend of mine from Guernewood Park recently sent me the link to a fascinating document from the CA.gov Department of Housing and Development’s Web site, entitled “The Fair Housing Toolkit”. This 80-page document serves as a training manual for developers of affordable housing and provides detailed instructions on defusing and overcoming opposition to affordable housing. Since several affordable housing projects here on the Russian River are in various stages of planning and development, many of us may find the strategies explained on pages 53-55 to seem eerily familiar: http://www.cacities.org/resource_files/24068.fairhousingtoolkit.pdf .

Please note that while I DO support construction of affordable housing, I ALSO hope that any developers and County officials involved in these projects to make genuine and meaningful efforts to actively seek and incorporate input from affected communities.

The Rio Nido Road House thanks you!: As per my previous post, they've received over 100 letters of support from us. Efren Carrillo and others from the County are working with the owner, Brad Metzger, to help resolve these issues.

1 comment:

Justin said...

As usual, Elisabeth, your comments are interesting, informative, and indispensable. However ...

Knee-jerk support for what passes for "affordable housing" is what certain greedy developers are counting on -- after all, they'll ask, how can anyone be against housing that is affordable?

The economic reality, however, militates against this waste of taxpayers' money. A simple look at craigslist.com, under Russian River apartments for rent, tells the whole story: there is a plethora of eminently affordable housing in the Russian River -- and especially Rio Nido -- already. The real estate market collapse means that the price of ALL housing is rapidly falling, as landlords try to rent out their behind-in-payments houses to renters with a wide array of choices. See that "for rent" sign in front of Dennis Judd's River Road property? It's been there ever since he bamboozled the RRROC and the CDC into giving him $300,000 dollars to haul in two manufactured houses onto his property. He still hasn't rented all of them out, in spite of a relentless advertising campaign on craigslist.

We don't need more affordable housing in Rio Nido -- and any effort by Judd or anyone else to impose it on us is going to be met with opposition that is organized, vocal, and unrelenting.