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from the Redwood Empire
Town Hall Coalition is a grassroots social movement of citizens
from all walks of life who have come together to address issues
relating to changes in water quality and quantity, habitat destruction,
pesticide contamination, forest conversions to vineyards, and
changes in land use. Our concern addresses the lack of protection
by elected officials and regulatory agencies of public health,
safety, and the environment. The Town Hall Coalition has sponsored
eight town hall forums with panels of experts from government,
business, farm labor, scientists, and nonprofit organizations.
These forums are designed to exchange information, provide community
stakeholders an opportunity to speak and listen to each other,
and form grassroots citizen action groups for social change.
Within the past year, Town Hall Coalition helped to organize the
following forums: Your Water, Your Wallet, Your Health!;
Cancer in Sonoma County; Are You Concerned about Vineyard
Development?; and Pesticides, People and Healthy Farming.
We have published and distributed numerous information pamphlets
including The Organic and Biodynamic Wine and Vineyard List
for Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino Counties and a Contact
List. Our Contact List is a directory of government
agencies, elected officials, environmental organizations and news
Town Hall Coalition is currently in the process of developing
a Participatory Democracy Campaign. The campaign's primary purpose
is to enable people to activate, organize, and participate in
decision-making processes at the local, state, and national level.
Our goal will be accomplished through working with community members
throughout Northern California to organize future Town Hall Forums
on current issues, establishing grassroots citizen action groups,
and providing information and support to people who want to run
for elected or appointed positions in government. We are in the
process of publishing a Participatory Democracy manual. This manual
will consist of various pamphlets with information about how to
get involved in the decision-making process, a contact directory
of government and environmental organizations, an updated organic
and biodynamic wine list, and how to form Town Hall Coalition
affiliate groups. We plan to distribute this manual to every registered
voter in Sonoma County. Future plans include replicating the Participatory
Democracy model in ten Northern California Counties. The Participatory
Democracy Manual's distribution, future town hall forums and the
formation of citizen action groups depend on grants and donations
from generous people in the community.
It is our goal to be able to preserve natural life-giving ecosystems
in Northern California for generations to come. The success of
the Participatory Democracy Campaign, future forums, and the ability
to organize citizen action groups depends upon available funds.
Please become a member and donate to the Town Hall Coalition.
Help protect the quality of life, public health, and environment
in Sonoma County and Northern California. Your donation will insure
that the volunteers and staff at the Town Hall Coalition will
continue to organize, provide information to the public, and participate
and comment on issues that benefit the public good.
Town Hall Coalition would like to give special thanks to Pesticide
Watch for their generous grant to the Town Hall Coalition. This
money will help pay for letters that will be sent to neighbors
of vineyards about their rights and options to protect themselves
from pesticides and soil erosion, an updated Town Hall Coalition
brochure, and enable staff to respond to complaints about pesticide
drift and contamination of soil and water. Many thanks to our
members and individual donors for their moral support and generous
contributions. In order to maintain the Town Hall Coalition Resource
Center and programs, we need donations and memberships from you,
Action Affiliate Groups
contact the Town Hall Coalition if you are interested in forming
or joining a Citizen Action Group.
and Land Use
Habitat and Land Use Committee distributed 360 letters to Sonoma
County vineyard owners and managers. These letters included information
about organic practices, wildlife friendly fences, and laws that
regulate vineyard development. Ultimately, this committee would
like to mail letters to 1,500 property owners who neighbor vineyards.
The letter would contain contacts so that neighbors can intervene,
when necessary, concerning the vineyard development surrounding
As a result of citizen involvement and cooperation with landowners
and regulatory agencies, new and improved plans have been proposed
concerning the development of a horse ranch and a vineyard. Thank
you to everyone who wrote letters.
General Plan, Housing Element, and Zoning Ordinance Updates:
The county is updating regulations and codes that could drastically
alter the quality of life in rural neighborhoods. Proposals include
higher density zoning and reduction of setbacks for development.
To participate in the public hearings and to receive copies of
the documents, call the Permit and Resource Management Department
at 565-1934 or 565-3476. We urge anyone who is interested in preserving
the quality of life in rural neighborhoods to participate in hearings
regarding these important updates and changes to the General Plan.
The Board of Supervisors and their appointed Planning Commissioners
make the land-use decisions. Please check the voting record of
the Supervisor and Planning Commissioner in your district. We
need a new Board of Supervisors.
w General Plan Public Meeting Dates
Meeting Times: 7:00-9:30 PM
Aug. 2 -- Geyserville High School (1320 Moody Lane, Geyserville)
Aug. 7 -- Sebastopol Vets. Bldg. (282 High Street, Sebastopol)
Aug. 9 -- Guerneville Odd Fellows Hall (16219 1st St., Guerneville)
Aug. 14 -- Petaluma Vets. Bldg. (1094 South, Petaluma)
and committee members are networking with other groups to follow
up on possible legal action to address the poisoning of 400 robins
and bluebirds due to the use of the chemical Nemacur. Nemacur,
developed by Bayer Corporation, was applied by drip irrigation
on vineyards owned by Klein Foods in Geyserville and managed by
Vino Farms. The Sonoma County District Attorney has fined Klein
Foods and Vino Farms for poisoning wildlife due to this spill.
Thank you to Citizen Action Group members who followed up on this
complaint. We have also responded to numerous complaints about
pesticide drift and suspected poisoning of wildlife.
Water Committee volunteers will assist you and your neighbors
to learn how to test for water quantity and recharge of your well.
If you would like to take part in a training to learn how to test
for water quantity, call the Town Hall Coalition at 874-9110.
We would like to thank Stephen Fuller-Rowell for organizing this
and members of Citizen Action Groups have been working with other
groups interested in protecting the Russian River from destructive
gravel mining practices supported by the Board of Supervisors
and their appointees to the Planning Commission. Gravel mining
reduces the storage capacity and filtering ability of the Russian
River drinking water aquifer. A drop in the level of water in
the river has already occurred due to gravel mining. This has
resulted in dried up wells and exposed bridge piers and has led
to taxpayer's money being spent on fixing these problems. Please
check our web-site at townhallcoalition.org if you would like
to participate in public hearings and meetings concerning this
Save Our Forests
County's redwood forests in the northwestern section have faced
a barrage of conversions from forestland-to-vineyard applications.
The Save Our Forests Group is working on local and state legislation
and policy to eliminate clear-cut logging and conversions of forests
to vineyards and other such uses.
Clean Water Institute
are thrilled to report that Community Clean Water Institute, formed
as an affiliate group within the Town Hall Coalition, has spun-off
and become its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. CCWI is dedicated
to promoting and protecting clean water and public health through
identifying water pollution, advocating for sound water policies,
and providing information about water quality to the public throughout
Northern California. Their mission is accomplished through identifying
and informing the public and regulatory agencies of polluted ground,
surface and drinking water and advocating for sound water quality
policies. The Institute recently hired a full-time staff person,
Brian Bacciarini, who will spearhead the program development aspects
of the organization. Brian is a senior at Sonoma State University
and will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental
Studies and Planning with a focus in Water Quality this coming
December. CCWI had initiated a program to test and provide information
about water quality in Northern California in areas where pollution
is suspected. Please contact Brian at CCWI for more information:
Phone: 707 874-3803; Fax: 707 874-2579; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
or web-site: www.ccwi.org
Your Water, Your Wallet, Your Health!
March, Town Hall Coalition cosponsored a forum in Santa Rosa on
issues relating to water in the Eel and Russian Rivers and the
role of the Sonoma County Water Agency. Your Water, Your Wallet,
Your Health! Forum was moderated by Daniel Solnit, Director of
Leadership Institute; and attended by over 350 people. Panelists
included Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin; David Keller, former
Petaluma City Councilman; Brenda Adelman, Director of Russian
River Watershed Protection Committee; Nadananda, Executive Director
of Friends of the Eel River; Alex Forman, member of the Marin
Municipal Water District; and Don McEnhill, Friends of the Russian
River. Special thanks go to members of the Working on Water group
for organizing this successful event. Members of the group have
continued to follow up on issues relating to gravel extraction
in the Russian River, water diversions, water rates, and growth.
Please check www.townhallcoalition.org for updates and information
about public hearings and policy relating to gravel issues.
You Concerned About Cancer in Sonoma County?
April, Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Noreen Evans moderated a town
hall forum in Occidental titled Are You Concerned about Cancer
in Sonoma County?. Debra Anderson, President of the Occidental
Chamber of Commerce and owner of the Lookinglass Salon, worked
incredibly hard to organize this emotional and informative event.
Anderson has developed a map and a cancer registry where people
with cancer and their loved ones can record information and put
them on the map. Molly Boice and the Juicy Tomatoes presented
a reading from Press Democrat Columnist Susan Swartz's book by
the same name. Panelists included Francine Levien, Founder and
Director of Marin Breast Cancer Watch; Marty DeKay-Bemis, West
County Health Center; Britt Bailey, Center for Ethics and Toxics;
Ginger Souders-Mason, Marin Beyond Pesticides; Dr. Kathryn Scott,
Sonoma County Public Health; and Emmie Morgan, representative
for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. Tapes of all the forums are available
at the Town Hall Coalition office.
Would you like to help put on town hall forums concerning
issues that are important to you? All levels of assistance are
needed, from minimal to intensive. If you are interested in participating
in the following forums, please call the Town Hall Coalition at
Town Hall Coalition, students from Sonoma State University, New
College, Planting Earth Activation, and various other organizations
have joined forces to organize a Youth Activist Conference in
Sonoma County. Plans are underway for several organizational events
with music and entertainment. The main event will be a full weekend
of inspiring speeches, networking and organizing with young people
from all over the Bay Area and Northern California in the Spring
of 2002. Many issues will be addressed at the conference including:
micro-radio, environment, civil rights, food systems, free speech,
education, the drug war, war on youth, prison industrial complex,
and more. This conference will provide an opportunity for young
people to get involved in regionally-based efforts to reverse
corporate and business dominance of politics and government regulatory
agencies, environmental destruction, and harsh government regulations
against the rights of youth.
Forest Conversions and Deforestation
The Town Hall Coalition is networking with local groups throughout
Northern California to organize a town hall forum and to create
Citizen Action Groups that will explore ways to end deforestation
by clear-cut logging, destructive land-use practices that destroy
watersheds, and the conversion of forests to industrial vineyards,
agriculture and other uses.
Town Hall Coalition is saddened to report that Francine Levien,
Founder and Director of Marin Breast Cancer Watch, has passed
away. Francine has been an inspiration to us all and her legacy
shall live on. We wish her well on her journey.
- Think Locally, Act Locally How to Get Involved in Consolidated
you considered running for election to a local nonpartisan special
district? Examples of local special districts include Community
Services, Fire Protection, Public Utility, Recreation and Park,
School, and County Water Districts. Members of these boards make
critical decisions about pesticide and herbicide applications
on public landscaping, park and recreation facilities and programs,
water and sewer systems and services, public health, education
programs, ambulance services, fire protection and more. Property
owners within the boundaries of special districts pay additional
taxes that are administered by these boards. Any registered voter
who is a resident of the district is qualified to run for election.
Elected representatives of special districts must publish meeting
time, date, and place and follow the open meeting and Brown Act
laws. Board agendas, minutes and voting records are open to the
public and kept by the secretary of the board.
Special District elections are held in odd number years and election
costs come out of special district funds. In order to encourage
more people to participate in elections, the Board can pass a
resolution to consolidate the election to the even number years
when county, state and federal elections are held in order to
cut the cost of publication and mailing ballots. When incumbent
Board members decide to run again and no other candidates take
out nomination papers there is no election, the incumbents are
automatically appointed and serve the full term as if they are
elected. If there are two openings and one or more incumbents
do not apply there is a five-day extension so other candidates
can take out nomination papers. An election is held when there
are more candidates than open positions. If you are interested
in running for office please call the Sonoma County Registrar
of Voters for more information at 1-800-750-8683.
next election will be held November 6, 2001. July 16 to August
10-Take out nomination papers at the Registrar of Voters: 435
Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa. No fee and no signatures are required.
list of special districts holding elections for November 6: Community
Services District: Qualifications: Registered voter in district,
resident of district continuously throughout the term of office.
Meet the requirements of Principal Act of District.
Community Service: 5-member board-2 Openings (Gluch, Tye); 4 Year
Term; 708 people eligible to vote and run for office. Secretary:
Ruthann Tye 632-5733
Community Service: 5-member board; 2 Openings (Corcoran, McNeal);
4Year Term; 2,070 people eligible to vote and run for office.
Secretary: Jenny West 823-2129 (Anyone registered to vote and
living in the district is eligible to run for office and vote.
The district includes Harrison Grade Road to Green Valley, Graton
Road to Green Hill, Occidental Road to Furlong, Willow Creek and
Coleman Valley Roads to Coleman Creek, Joy Road to Joy Ridge Lane,
Bohemian Hwy ½ mile south of Occidental, all of Deer Meadow, Stoetz,
Hill Crest, Acreage, Westwood, Wyammi Ranch, Morelli, Taylor,
Jennifer, Lori, Fitzpatrick, Marra and Bittner Roads.)
and Park District: Qualifications: Registered voter in district,
or registered voter in the state and property owner of real property
within the district.
Meeker: 5 member board; 3 openings (Helfrich, Martinsen, Meyer);
4 year term; 539 people eligible to vote and run for office. Secretary:
Lori Ford 874-3794 Consultant: Hal Wood Russian River Utility
Monte Rio: 5 member board; 3 openings (Kokalis, Kieffer) 4 year
term; (Haas) 2 year term; 929 people eligible to vote and run
for office. Administrator: Sylvi Ciocatto 865-2487
River: 5 member board; 2 openings (Jackson, Pullaro); 4 year term;
3,757 people eligible to vote and run for office. Secretary: Ilene
Utility and County Water Districts: Qualifications: Registered
voter, resident of the district continuously throughout the term
of office. Meet the requirements of the Principal Act of the District.
County Water: 6 member board; 2 openings (Horstmann, McDermott);
4 year term; 1,765 people eligible to vote and run for office.
Secretary: Judith Miller 887-1551
River County Water: 5 member board; 2 openings (McGowan, Zagoria);
4 year term; 1,525 people eligible to vote and run for office.
Secretary: Cindy Kilass / Contact: Hal Wood 887-7735
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