to previous page
from the Redwood Empire
mission of the Town Hall Coalition is to build a social movement
that promotes ecologically and economically healthy communities
through responsible land use; conserving, protecting and restoring
our watersheds, forests and natural habitats, and supporting
sustainable and diverse agriculture.
continues to be a busy winter for the Town Hall Coalition. We
know that THC's growing influence is helping to make change
happen. We successfully helped sponsor the first Sonoma Town
Hall Coalition meeting in January, in Sonoma, our fourth successful
forum in four months. Over 350 people attended. Moderated by
Dave Henson of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, our panel
of speakers included Jerry Bernhaut of the Sonoma THC, Lynn
Hamilton, Allan Buckmann of the county Fish and Game Department,
Ed Wilson, water rights attorney, and Patti Clary, of CATs.
the open microphone portion of the meeting, numerous representatives
of the agriculture community (grape growers, both conventional
and organic) were able to speak and voice their concerns, disagreements
and questions for the first time. It was a fine, lively and
respectful forum for the community's shared voice of concern.
The Sonoma Valley Vintner's & Growers Alliance (possibly
inspired by THC) held a community meeting on Vineyard development
issues on February 22nd, inviting Jerry Bernhaut of the Sonoma
THC to be on their panel. A number of our Occidental THC members
spoke at that event.
Calendar of Meetings
March 2, the Penngrove Area Plan Advisory Committee will hold
it's first Town Hall Meeting.
w March 9, at 6:30 p.m. the Russian
River Town Hall Meeting will be held in the Veteran's Auditorium,
First St. in Guerneville to discuss the proposed 30-year Russian
River Redevelopment Plan, community impact issues and concerns.
w We are helping the Healdsburg
Alliance of Responsible Citizens (HARC) to plan a meeting in
the late spring.
w The next Occidental Town Hall
meeting is currently under discussion. Stay tuned!
to the members of the agricultural community who are taking
steps to comply with sustainable agricultural standards. Kendall-Jackson
recently announced that they will no longer use methyl bromide
or cut down forests to plant vineyards. The Sonoma County Grapegrowers
Association received a grant to study the use of alternatives
to pesticides in vineyards. A landowner in Forestville was recently
convinced not to convert 2.99 acres of ridge top Douglas fir
and large madrone to grapes. Talk about good neighbors!
owners of the Bohemia Ranch are taking steps to convert up to
100 acres of the ranch to vineyard. This is an extremely environmentally
sensitive 960-acre ranch. Please contact the THC office if you
would like to join in strategy and action regarding this issue.
THC Office continues to take calls and document complaints from
the community regarding water problems, habitat destruction,
toxics exposures and the like, due to vineyard development.
We will fax, and call these concerns to the appropriate county
and state agencies and assist in helping the voice of the community
be truly heard, documented, and followed up on. Our actions
have prompted investigations by not only county agencies, but
also the local newspapers, particularly the Press Democrat.
PLEASE CALL US WITH YOUR OBSERVATIONS, CONCERNS AND COMPLAINTS,
including an address and/or AP number. We find that it gets
much faster results. While it is best to use names when we report
complaints, we will do our best to preserve your anonymity if
you so request.
In our continued response as a coalition to the Vineyard Erosion
and Sedimentation Control Ordinance, we made a fine showing
at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb 1st, during which
a severely compromised ordinance was enacted. Brock Dolman,
THC Core Group member made a rousing presentation in a full
salmon suit, reminding the Supes of the loss that has occurred
in our watersheds. Kimberly Burr, attorney and THC member, made
a strong presentation of the Town Hall position, noting that
the ordinance doesn't come close to reviewing the broader needs
of the entire watershed community. Please take a look at our
website to read their full statements.
Citizen Actions Groups of THC have been very busy. Many many
thanks to the dedicated and passionate people continuing to
volunteer their precious time and energy. The groups can all
use even more volunteers, including the THC office! Please call
the THC office if you are interested. The groups meet once or
twice a month. Here are brief summaries from the Citizen Action
conjunction with the Sonoma County Surf Rider Chapter, has completed
numerous well testings of quantity and re-charge, in response
to calls from property owners worried as vineyards go in next
door. We'll teach you how to log your well, and document your
water rights. They are working with Supervisor Mike Reilly on
the proposed ground water ordinance for Sonoma County. The committee
met with the Well Drillers association recently in the on- going
investigative efforts regarding this issue.
addition to the work with the Water group, the legal committee
now has a legal defense fund, which will be available to help
our community in appropriate situations.
a close watch on Timber Harvest Plans - (copies of THPs are
available at the THC office), Bohemia Ranch, CYO, Togneri and
others. Members address concerns to the Department of Forestry,
attend hearings, and seek to develop strategies to mitigate
or defeat destructive timber operations. In addition, they have
identified many concerns for possible future action.
working to promote public eco-literacy, preserve habitat for
plants and animals, and monitor vineyard development in order
to prevent habitat degradation and loss. They are developing
content for a THC habitat brochure and two-page handouts on
subjects like Habitat Laws and Regulations, Wildlife Corridors
and Wildlife Friendly Fencing, Habitat Friendly Plants, "So
You're thinking of Buying Property in Sonoma County" which
we will distribute to vineyard managers, real estate agents,
new rural home owners as well as the general public. A longer-term
project involves gathering technical information from various
agencies and overlaying it on GIS maps to show where habitat
loss is occurring and what plants/animals are endangered.
and Winery Safety
received a small grant to develop a brochure. The brochure will
provide real suggestions on how to reduce pesticides and toxins
in the home and garden. It will also include resources and phone
numbers you can use if you see or are exposed to potential problems.
In addition, it will discuss safety issues for field and winery
workers who do the real work and are most often at risk. We
have come to find out that smaller wineries are not required
to comply with OSHA on confined space training, signage or any
written documented safety training. If we are to form alliances
with vineyards for environmentally friendly wines, we must also
implement proper protection for our winery workers. The brochure
will have an insert listing all of the organic and biodynamic
vineyards in Sonoma County.
pleased to announce the long-awaited raffle drawing for the
three original pieces of artwork by Sonoma County Artists, will
be held on March
18th, at a Core Group Citizen Action group meeting. You do not
need to be present to win. There is still time to buy tickets!!
You can purchase them directly from the THC office, or QuickSilver
Mining Co. in Sebastopol.
Else You Can Do
Support 3rd District Supervisor candidate Noreen Evans. Even
if you can't vote for her, you can help in this extremely important
campaign. She supports the ideals and goals of the Town Hall,
and is the best environmental candidate. You can call Noreen's
office at: 578-3101, and also join us in walking precincts in
Rohnert Park Sat March 4th and Sunday the 5th.
Support the Rural Heritage Initiative: this initiative will
prevent urban sprawl on about 80% of the County's land area
by implementing the "city and community-centered growth"
policy of the General Plan. It will require, with limited exceptions,
a vote of the people for changes to the County General Plan
Agricultural or Resources and Rural Development land use designations
until the year 2031. Signature gathering campaign is underway.
For more info or to help out call 575-3661 or 869-5616.
THE TOWN HALL COALITION WITH YOUR DONATIONS AND YOUR TIME WORKING
ON CITIZEN ACTION GROUPS OR IN THE OFFICE!
to previous page