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News from the Redwood Empire
January 2000

The Town Hall Coalition was formed to build a social movement that promotes ecological and economically healthy communities through responsible land use.

w Happy New Year! Yes, the Town Hall Coalition is alive and kicking. Our last meeting was on December 7th. There were 350 people, about half of them were new. There was a panel discussion with panel members from various county and state agencies. When asked specific questions regarding pesticide use and well water drilling regulation the panel was silent. There were no solutions or satisfactory answers offered. This leads the Town Hall to believe that we need to replace the majority Board of Supervisors, go around the government bodies as they are now and go direct to the public. To that end, the THC is supporting and endorsing Noreen Evans for Supervisor. THC political committee has formulated a list of questions for all candidates. Anyone wanting to participate in the Political Committee, formulation of questions and interviews of candidates can join the Action Committee- this is where the work is done, and recommendations are forwarded to the Core Group. Send an email or call us if you are interested.

w Do you have a complaint or worry about your water quality or quantity, or pesticide exposure due to agricultural development? Are you a witness to habitat destruction and soil erosion near your property and want to make a complaint or need help investigating? Here is some of what we are doing:

1. The THC has developed "Complaint Forms". We will write up the location and nature of the complaint and send it to the appropriate THC "Action Committee", as well as the Board of Supervisors for the public records, and the various appropriate county and state regulatory agencies for action and response. We want to keep a paper trail of the complaints we hear about and witness as valuable documentation.

2. We have formed an alliance with the Sonoma County Surf Rider Chapter, and are in the process of training groups of people to test wells (for water quantity and quality) that could possibly be in jeopardy due to new well drilling. We recently received a donation of a Fisher Scope to do this. We will file well logs with the Board of Supes as well as PRMD (Septic and Well Dept.). We will also teach people how to get well logs from the people who drilled the wells. Again, the purpose is to establish baseline data and a paper trail before wells even go in.

3. We have copies in the THC office of a pamphlet from the State Water Resources Control Board, with specific information regarding investigating water right complaints in California. If you 'd like a copy for a (copy fee donation) call the THC office.

Important Announcements

w The Core Group and Water Committee will go before the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors at their meeting on January 11th to present a petition requesting an interim moratorium on deep draw water wells. Sonoma County has never had a ground water ordinance. The last ground water study done in the county was in 1975. On September 21st, the Board of Supes passed a Minute Order directing Permit and Resource Management Dept. to prepare a report for the Board regarding options and costs of protecting groundwater overdraw in mapped water scarce areas. We must insist that this be done. Deep wells have been drilled in recent months and more and more people through out this county are finding their wells running dry for the first time. Please try to attend this meeting on January 11, 2000 at 2 PM in the Board of Supervisors Chamber Room, in Santa Rosa.

w The Town Hall goes to Sonoma! On January 18th at 7pm in the Community Center in Sonoma, the newly formed Sonoma Town Hall Coalition will sponsor its first meeting, with a panel of guest speakers. Flyers are available at the Occidental office. To help with this event, please contact Debra Anderson at 874-9111 or Will Shonbrun at 996-5701. Contact people for each Citizen Action group should be there to direct the sign-ups and coordinate this first joint meeting. Please join us in support of this meeting!

w Hillside Erosion Vineyard Development non-ordinance -The Board of Supervisors will have a meeting on January 25th at 3pm to discuss this issue again. Please contact the habitat and land use committees regarding our policy about this ordinance. Try to attend the Board meeting and voice your concerns!

w Bodega Land Trust is sponsoring Fay Creek Planting days on Jan 9th & Jan 23rd from 9am-3pm. They will be planting native riparian trees and shrubs. The location: from Bodega Hwy, in Bodega, head down Salmon Creek Rd to Fitzpatrick Lane. Walk or carpool about 3/4 mi. to end of the lane. Wear boots, work-clothes and gloves. Bring shovels & buckets, food and drinks.

As always, the THC is looking for volunteers to join our action committees: Forest, Habitat, Land Use, Legal, Media and Publicity, Politics, Water and Toxics, Labor, and Organics. Also, our fundraising committee is currently soliciting for more help, and will be meeting together soon. To join that committee please call Betty Ann Sutton at 874-1471.

There are now many files and resources here at the THC office that are available to the public. Office hours are M,T,W 9am-12:00, Thursday 2-5pm and Friday 8:30-11:30am. E-mail and phone messages are checked and responded to every day.

And finally, many many thanks to all of the wonderful, dedicated and passionate volunteers that make this organization work. Let's stay united and strong in the coming year, and continue to make our voices heard.

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Town Hall Coalition
6741 Sebastopol Ave. Ste. 140 Sebastopol California 95472
T: 707-824-4371 / F: 707-824-4372