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from the Redwood Empire
Friends and Neighbors,
HOLIDAYS! The staff and volunteers at the Town Hall Coalition
have prepared a list of organic
wines and vineyards and a contact
sheet of government agencies, elected officials, environmental
organizations and news media for your information. Please feel
free to copy these lists and distribute them to family and friends.
We hope you will find them useful. These information pamphlets
are a work in progress. Please contact the Town Hall Coalition
Resource Center if you have additions or corrections to these
lists. Your donations to the Town Hall Coalition will help us
print and distribute these brochures to interested people throughout
Sonoma County and beyond.
Town Hall Coalition was formed in the summer of 1999 as a community
response to concerns about the deteriorating quality of life
due to the overwhelming number of new industrial vineyards and
other development in Sonoma County. Since then, the Town Hall
Coalition has addressed issues relating to changes in water
quality and quantity, wildlife habitat destruction, pesticide
contamination, forest and oak woodland conversions to vineyards,
and the lack of protection of public health, safety and the
environment by government officials and regulatory agencies.
Town Hall Coalition has sponsored six forums throughout the
county with panels of experts from government, business, farm
labor, scientists and nonprofit organizations. These public
forums are designed to exchange information and provide community
stakeholders an opportunity to speak and listen to each other
as well as organize. Within the past six months, we held forums
in Occidental and Sonoma to address the issue of the sharpshooter
emergency, pesticides and environmental and public health concerns.
Over 2,000 people attended these forums which were widely covered
by the media.
Town Hall Coalition works closely with community members and
regulatory agencies to report emergency environmental and public
health risks. During Thanksgiving week, the Town Hall Coalition
received reports that over 400 birds including robins, bluebirds
and other appeared to be poisoned and were dying from nemacure,
a nerve toxin. The Town Hall Coalition has requested a cease
and desist order for the use of this chemical until the Department
of Fish and Game, Water Quality, the Environmental Protection
Agency, National Marine Fisheries and the Sonoma County Agricultural
Commissioner can prove that nemacure does not kill birds, fish,
and other wildlife. Concerns have been expressed that these
nerve toxins might get into the soil and contaminate domestic
wells and we have requested guarantees that public health is
being protected. This is an example of the immediate action
taken by the Town Hall Resource Center. Your donations make
it possible for the Town Hall Coalition to take your calls and
respond to concerns about public health and environmental issues.
Town Hall Coalition needs your continued support! All of our
Community Action Committees welcome more participation. Call
the Town Hall Coalition Resource Center for information on meeting
times and contact people. Your donations are needed to maintain
the Resource Center and continue with the many valuable programs
and projects supported by the Town Hall Coalition. We have secured
nonprofit status and donations to the Town Hall Coalition are
tax-deductible. We are in the process of forming and formalizing
our Policy Advisory Board with members selected by our Community
Action Committees. The intent of the Policy Board is to advise
the Administrative Board about membership, selection of future
board members, communication, Community Action Committee structure
and input into larger organizational fund-raising and general
governing principles, etc.. If you would like to participate
in the Policy Board please join a Community Action Committee.
We plan to start the Advisory Board gatherings after the first
of the year. Many people have expressed interest in the continued
work of the Town Hall Coalition to endorse political candidates,
lobby and influence legislation and government policy. We are
applying for a 501C4 nonprofit status which will allow us to
continue with this valuable work.
of the Town Hall Community Action Committees have participated
in educational public meetings and provided information relating
to public health and environmental protection before government
decision-making bodies. The committees meet regularly. If you
would like to join a committee please call the Town Hall Coalition
members have joined forces with the No Spray Action Network.
They have been working to prevent forced pesticide spraying
in residential areas to control the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter.
To this end, they have testified at public hearings, educated
county and state elected officials, participated in conferences,
forums, and panel discussions and served as resources to the
media. The Toxics Committee plans to develop strategies for
reducing pesticide use over the long term. Current goals of
the Toxics Committee include: create educational materials,
work with vineyard managers, monitor pesticide use and drift,
explore tests to identify side effects to public health and
the environment from pesticide use and improve pesticide regulation
networks with other organizations.
Water Committee keeps abreast of all the county-wide water issues,
contributes to educational and informational discussions about
groundwater and surface water regulations, gathers and distributes
information, educates the public about water issues and networks
with local and regional groups. Currently the committee is working
on county groundwater and grading ordinances, water table monitoring,
the Sonoma County Water Agency plans to increase the Eel River
Diversions to the Russian River, Camp Meeker and Occidental
wastewater plans and is networking with Western Sonoma County
A coalition of groups have formed to hold a county-wide water
forum addressing water diversions, rates, growth, etc. in January
or February of 2001.
w Members of the Water Committee
were invited to speak at a conference sponsored by the Friends
of the Eel River, in Humboldt County, in November. They presented
ideas and strategies for organizing Town Hall Forums and established
Community Action Committees to assist the Friends of the Eel
River in reducing the diversion of water flow from the Eel River
to the Russian River to fuel growth, and to get the dams decommissioned
to restore life to the river.
w The Water Committee volunteers
will assist you and your neighbors to test for water quantity
and recharge of your well. If you would like to have your water
tested for water quantity and recharge please call the Town
Hall Coalition Resource Center at 874-9110.
w If you want to test for water
quality (e.g. pesticides, heavy metal contamination) call River
Watch at (707) 874-2579.
Forest Group continues to meet once a month and has been working
on a broad spectrum of issues. Volunteers review and comment
on Timber Harvest Plans and Forest Conversion Plans that are
likely to overcut or use poor practices. The committee is also
promoting organic and biodynamic forest practices, educating
the community about forest practices and other environmental
issues such as Oak Mortality Syndrome. It also monitors the
California Board of Forestry regulations.
and Land Use
Habitat and Land Use Committee is moving forward with its project
to send letters to vineyard owners/managers and neighbors. Address
labels have been generated for approximately 360 owner/managers
and approximately 1500 neighbors. The committee will begin by
sending letters to neighbors in the West County when we have
funding. The purpose of this project is to empower vineyard
neighbors with information and contacts so they can intervene
when necessary in vineyard development surrounding them. It
will provide information about organic practices and laws regulating
vineyard development. Larry Weiss, an animal rights lawyer and
activist, is working with the Habitat Committee to tighten up
the issuing of Depredation Permits. The question of Depredation
Permits has been on the table since we learned that Dehlinger
Vineyards took out a permit to kill 77 migrating Cedar Waxwing
birds last year. Weiss has written a bill to amend the Depredation
Permit process and presented it to the Animal Legislative Coalition
that meets in Sacramento. The coalition has agreed to support
the bill. The bill proposes to grant discretion to the Department
of Fish & Game in the issuing of Depredation Permits and
to set criteria for the exercise of that discretion.
would like to give special thanks to the Western Sonoma County
Rural Alliance for serving as temporary fiscal sponsors during
our formation. The WSCRA is an important nonprofit environmental
organization that aids neighborhood groups engaged in projects
to protect the environment. WSCRAs Bob Sharp Environmental
Scholarship Fund awards two scholarships each year to Santa
Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State Students pursuing the field
of environmental studies.
you to all of our volunteers and members of the Community Action
Groups for your contributions of valuable time and energy that
makes the Town Hall Coalition such a successful organization.
Thank you to Anna Rose, Maggy Howe, Betty Ann Sutton, WSCRA,
Caroline Casey, Pilar Law and Alaura ODell of WOW Productions,
Milk and Honey, Mermaids, Starhawk, and Reclaiming of
Sonoma for your generous donations. And thank you to our Administrative
Assistant, Christina Newell, for everything you do!
have outgrown our space in Debras Lookinglass Salon and
we moved to a larger office across the street above Howards
Station Restaurant on the Bohemian Highway in Occidental. A
big thank you to Debra Anderson, Alisa Hubbard, and Carla Dykes
of the Lookinglass Salon for allowing the Town Hall Coalition
Resource Center to make use of their waiting room for the past
year. Please help us in expressing our deep appreciation to
the Lookinglass Salon by patronizing their business for a great
haircut, facial, pedicure, and/or manicure!
order to continue providing information like the Organic &
Biodynamic Wine and Vineyard List, the Contact Sheet, organizing
for the Town Hall forums and maintaining the Resource Center
we need to ask for donations and memberships from you, our supporters.
Here is a partial list of how contributions are used:
Rent, telecommunications, staff, and to maintain the Town Hall
w Produce Town Hall Forums on
water, toxics, vineyard development, wildlife protection, public
w Produce educational fact sheets,
distribute information to the decision-makers and the public.
w Provide information and assist
citizens to file comments and complaints with regulatory agencies
about environmental issues.
w Provide technical and research
assistance to Community Action Groups: Water, Habitat and Land
Use, Toxics, Forests, Legal, etc.
w Network with other environmental
groups throughout the region.
Town Hall Coalition Resource Center is in need of the following
items: folding chairs (for meetings), posters and pictures for
the walls, a rug and a PC computer. Please stop by the new resource
center, 74 Main Street Suite D, directly above Howards
Station Restaurant in Occidental. Office hours are M, W and
F 9-5. Our telephone number is 707-874-9110, fax is 707-874-2579,
and our e-mail and website are the same.
need your help to protect the quality of life, public health
and environment in Sonoma County. Please contribute to the Town
Hall Coalition. We welcome donations from anyone who loves the
wild and wonderful nature of Sonoma County and who wants to
preserve the beauty of this county for generations to come!
Make checks to: Town Hall Coalition P.O. Box 1005 Occidental,
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