RRARA Community Update: 5/11/16

Community Activities and Opportunities

Creative Sonoma’s Summer Arts Youth Program Grants: Grants will be available to nonprofit organizations and to individuals who have fiscal sponsors to provide children aged 7 to 18 with opportunities to participate in high quality cultural arts summer programs. Eligible projects can incorporate any creative discipline from photography and writing to theater, graphic design, crafts, filmmaking and more.  Summer Arts Youth Program Grants are designed to support our creative organizations who are fostering creativity in our local youth while giving them oportunities to maintain learning while school is out of session. Beginning the week of May 9, grant guidelines outlining eligibility and application forms will be available athttp://sonomacounty.ca.gov/edb/. The deadline is Friday, June 3, 2016, 5pm. An applicant Q&A session is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24 from 1:00-3:00 pm at Creative Sonoma, 141 Stony Circle, Suite 110, Santa Rosa.  Applicants may also dial in to the session at 707.565.8996. RSVP for the Q&A.

Board of Supervisors hearing on the Planning Commission’s Vacation Rental Ordinance recommendations is scheduled for May 24: “At a meeting in January, a majority of the supervisors approved a number of tweaks to the county’s vacation rental ordinance suggested by the commission, but did not take the major step of banning all new rentals in residential R1 zones throughout the county, as was recommended. A divided Sonoma County Planning Commission voted to recommend to the Board of Supervisors a list of specific single-family residential areas in the county where new vacation rentals would be prohibited, almost all of them located in Sonoma Valley. The total R1 ban was pushed by First District Supervisor Susan Gorin, who said that Sonoma Valley was “under siege” from the rapid increase in vacation rentals ever since a vacation rental ordinance was put into effect in 2011. The number of approved vacation rental permits county-wide totals 1,120, the majority of which are in Sonoma Valley and west county (about 40% of the vacation rentals are located in the Sonoma Valley and 40% in the Russian River area). The stated purpose of the X zone is to prohibit new rentals in areas that meet certain criteria, such as inadequate road access or off street parking, potential of significant fire hazard, and where housing stock needs to be protected from conversion to visitor-serving uses. Additional considerations include bans in areas where residential character is “to be preserved or preferred.” Though each of the X zoned maps up for a vote was approved by three of the commissioners, including District 1’s Greg Carr, two of the commissioners either voted no or abstained, expressing their dissatisfaction on the entire concept of X zones. Expressing reservations was commissioner Pam Davis, representing Efren Carrillo’s District 5. Davis said she didn’t see X zones as an, “elegant solution to the problems in a community.” The three commissioners who voted in favor argued that X zones are a good way to aid in the preservation of affordable housing and deal with issues regarding short-term rentals and neighborhood compatibility.” Read the entire article here.
Volunteers Needed for Great Russian River Race on May 21: The 6th annual Great Russian River Race is coming up and they need more volunteers! This race is a fundraiser for Russian Riverkeeper educational programs and their Russian River trash clean-ups. It’s a community event that helps instill a love for the River and deepens the collective commitment to protecting it and keeping it healthy. Volunteer shifts include helping with check-in (early shift, 8 a.m.), managing the Boat Valet where boaters can store their boats, and helping with clean-up later in the day. They also need experienced paddlers for the Safety Crew who are stationed on the river to help racers if they need it. More details and to sign-up here. Everyone is invited to come to the free Race Party at Johnson’s Beach from Noon-4 p.m. to watch the racers cross the Finish Line and have lunch and enjoy the live music! (Parking is $5 at Johnson’s Beach).

Annual Equitable Future Conference From Economic Inequality to Economic Sustainability: Lifting the barriers for everyone to thrive  8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Sonoma Mountain Village: Presenters will be focusing on Economic Inequality to Economic Sustainability: Lifting the barriers for everyone to thrive. Speakers will include leaders from different organizations throughout the Bay Area including First 5 Sonoma County Commission, the UC Berkeley Labor Center, Social Advocates for Youth – SAY, Sonoma County Winegrowers, and many more. There will be a full day of presentations addressing how to examine proven policies that lift people out of poverty, how to move communities from the current state of Economic Inequality to one of Economic Sustainability for all, and what services are available to help the community who bear the brunt of poverty today. Learn more here.

June 2 Webinar: Healthier Students Are Better Learners: Learn what the research says about the role that various health problems can play in children’s academic growth and development. Explore why school health programs are an important component of K-12 education. Find out what educators can do to reduce health barriers to learning in their classrooms and schools. Learn more and register here.


Money on the mind at Fifth District forum: Sonoma West Times and News: With only 60 seconds to answer each, the five Fifth District Supervisorial candidates were grilled last Thursday night with 16 questions on topics ranging from well-known West County issues like affordable housing and road maintenance to countywide controversies including water fluoridation, medical marijuana, composting and rent control. Most newsworthy Thursday night was each candidate’s confession to his or her endorsements and financial backings — paperwork that was due earlier that day.Hopkins revealed her backings paperwork was 61 pages long because she had more than 350 individual contributors. For the period of January 1 to April 23, Hopkins raised $117,763, two-thirds of which she says are contributions of $250 or less. Her endorsements include the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Sonoma County Farm Bureau, North Bay Association of Realtors, Santa Rosa City Council member Ernesto Olivares, the Sonoma County Alliance and current Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carrillo. Evans unveiled a long list of supporters, including a coalition of environmentalists and labor organizations, such as Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and North Bay Labor Council. Current Board of Supervisors Shirlee Zane and Susan Gorin have also endorsed Evans. So far, Evans has earned roughly $6,000 less than Hopkins, recording $111,615 from January 1 through April 23. Read the article here

Broad alliance formed to expand preschool at local level: EdSource: Despite strong support for universal preschool for 4-year-olds in the state Legislature and among the public at large, getting programs started – and funded – on a local level is another matter altogether. That’s what a broad-based coalition is focusing on in Petaluma and the countryside that surrounds it north of San Francisco. The coalition is the type of alliance increasingly seen as the only way to push universal preschool past funding and political logjams at a local level. It reflects a collaborative approach slowly emerging in communities around the state, with organizations joining together to advocate for greater access to preschool for all families, especially those who are lower-income, and to harness the political will and funds to make it possible. Read the article here

Sonoma County tourism dollars tapped to soften tourist impact on emergency services: Press Democrat: A large chunk of the money given out Tuesday — more than $6.5 million — went to agencies working to lure tourists, as well as money for improving veterans’ memorial buildings, parks facilities, county signs, visitors centers, agricultural promotion, historical commissions and economic development initiatives. An additional $350,000 for workforce development and scholarships was granted, plus $1 million in seed money for improving housing options for low-income residents. The money will go to the Community Development Commission to generate funds for similar projects through private company partnerships. Read more here.
Close to Home: Growing pains in a tourism economy: Press Democrat: Tourism is the best economic development driver, right? Tourists come, spend their money and leave. Or so we’ve been led to believe. New and extensive research is debunking the myth of an economy dominated by tourism. A recent symposium in Napa County explored the benefits and costs. National experts shared data that can help us understand both sides of the story. Read the Close to Home here.

Middle class no longer dominates in the U.S.: CNNMoney: For decades, the middle class had been the core of the country. A healthy middle class kept America strong, experts and politicians said. But more recently, these residents have struggled under stagnating wages and soaring costs. Presidential candidates on both sides of the political aisle are campaigning on ways to bolster the nation’s middle class and increase opportunities to climb the economic ladder. Read the article here.


Santa Rosa’s Palms Inn housing for homeless, veterans now full: Press Democrat: Bishop is one of about 120 formerly homeless people who have moved into The Palms since February. The last resident moved in last week. The transformation of the former motel on a downtrodden stretch of Santa Rosa Avenue into permanent housing is seen as a model in Sonoma County for addressing homelessness, especially among veterans. The project provides each resident with a case manager and access to support services, including mental health care, substance abuse treatment and job training. “We need to do more of this in Sonoma County so we can house our most vulnerable residents and those who have served our country,” Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane said. Read Article Here.

The U.S. Is Still a Long Way From Eliminating Food Insecurity: The Atlantic: ood insecurity in America is an issue that can be hard to see. It is not synonymous with poverty: two-thirds of food-insecure households have incomes above the national poverty level, according to new data from The Hamilton Project. The same report also demonstrates that the way food insecurity is measured often masks the extent of the problem. Instances of food insecurity often arise suddenly and temporarily, and as a result are difficult to track from year to year. Read the article here.

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