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January 2018

Zane First Responders Sign

I write this New Year message while navigating through a complex web of thoughts and emotions in the aftermath of one of the most difficult years many of us have encountered. Like several of you, 2017 tested me in ways I could not have imagined. I have spent countless hours reflecting on the past year and contemplating our future. We are at a turning point now and we, as a community, are charged to be good stewards, and to make the careful decisions that ensure our sustainability, our resiliency, and our survival. Hope need not be abandoned and despair need not define us as we find our path forward, together.

Against a backdrop of profound loss, hope, catastrophe, political tumult, uneven economic recovery, environmental challenge, flood and fire, I had the honor to serve as Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors during its first year with a female majority on the dais. While I wish the number of women in elected office and other leadership positions reflected our demographics, the fact is that Sonoma County had a male dominated Board of Supervisors for all the years between its founding in 1850 and 2017. That’s a long time!

I would be remiss if I did not report a few of the County’s initiatives that I am honored to have moved forward in 2017.  It is important to highlight a small sample of these accomplishments because they were made possible not just by the Board of Supervisors, but because the County organization includes approximately 4,000 of the most dedicated people I have ever had the pleasure to work alongside. These committed and brilliant individuals are your friends, neighbors, family members and in some cases you! This year I witnessed a public service ethic like no other.

Here is a sample of our collective work product —

In this Issue

  • HouseConstruction75.jpg
    Funded Palms Inn for low income residents and veterans; authorized sale of Chanate Campus; purchased College Avenue property for affordable housing; expedited Granny Units; committed an additional $621,000 for workforce housing and homeless services.
  • Girl in Shelter 75 thumbnail image
    Created Behavioral Health Wellness Campus; committed to support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients; launched Immigration Initiative; opened Small Business Recovery Center; assisted with Disaster Unemployment Insurance filing.
  • Kids Looking at Fish 75 thumbnail image
    Established three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies; Watershed Taskforce collaboration; prorated bills for Sanitation District customers impacted by fires; implemented emergency ordinances to allow for temporary hookups of mobile homes to help fire victims.
  • Road Work 75 thumbnail image
    Used more of General Fund for local roads; launched SMART train service with free rides following the fires; opened Sonoma County Fairgrounds to support first responders, evacuated animals, and shelter for evacuees; enabled fire recovery services by various County departments.
  • Rebuild image with flag
    Our attention now turns to rebuilding this beautiful County, our communities, our neighborhoods. I want you to know that all your government officials, across all jurisdictions and at all levels, are working collaboratively to help this community build better and faster than we could on our own.