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Moscow Rd and Staff update, LCP meeting, Public Safety, BOS Actions & more

District 5 Update

Published: June 14, 2023

Moscow Road and Team News!

Portrait of Lynda Hopkins

I'm excited to announce that the Moscow Road repairs have come through the bidding process and is now in the contracting phase. Yesterday, June 12, SoCoPi (Sonoma County Public Infrastructure) announced the intent to award contract notice, listing Ghilotti as the contractor. Next week SoCoPi expects to ward the project and construction should start within 15 days thereof. The work is expected to be completed within 90 business/working days which is approximately 5 months, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

We also have big changes coming up in the District 5 team. We are sad to see a vital team member leaving us, and also excited to announce the new team working hard for West County.

Leo Chyi has accepted a new position with San Francisco’s Environment Department as their Chief Administrative Officer. He tells us "It’s an exciting opportunity that will allow me to focus on climate and environmental work full time, while leveraging the skills I have developed here and in my past roles. While I'm disappointed to be leaving Sonoma County employment, I plan to continue to be actively involved in the community however possible, and with hybrid work, I will remain local most of the time."

Tracy Lyons will be promoted to Chief of Staff, taking over my District Director responsibilities. The new title reflects our office’s growth in staff management responsibilities over time and complex policy work that she will focus on. She has extensive prior experience managing teams in the education field, and she has studied policy analysis. The office will benefit from her systems-oriented approach and impeccable organization.

Elise Weiland will be promoted to Program Manager, reflecting the increased workload she has taken on, independently managing multiple complex projects at one time. The Lower Russian River Governance Study is an example of this work, as is her tireless work on the Russian River Confluence. She will continue to be a strong advocate for small businesses and unincorporated communities, ensuring that our office and the County are responding to their needs.

Debbie Ramirez, Field Representative, will continue her excellent work empowering the community through her hard work supporting our Municipal Advisory Councils. She has also made steady improvements to our office’s website, making information easier to access.

Lupe Catalan, Field Representative, is our newest staff member who will help ensure that we are reaching all of District 5’s vulnerable communities. An initial focus will be serving the Spanish-speaking community, as well as the Lower Russian River geographic area.

Jason Wilson, Board Aide, will continue his excellent administrative work for the office, ensuring that Lynda has all the correct information in her calendar and ensuring that everything logistical is appropriately handled. We have been grateful for his magical coordination skills and getting key items through Legistar.

Finally, a quick shout out to Amy Cohen, Intern, who has helped with minute-taking at our MAC meetings, trucked around chairs, and done whatever needed.

5th District Logo  Upcoming Meetings: 

° Special Coast MAC meeting
June 22nd , 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Bodega Bay Harbour Club (AKA "The Yacht Club")
565 Smith Brothers Road
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Full agenda and meeting details here.

Local Coastal Plan Presentation from Permit Sonoma

Scott Orr, Claudette Diaz, and Cecily Condon from Permit Sonoma will provide an overview of policy options work conducted since the April 4 Board of Supervisors meeting and outline the next steps in the process. The policy discussion papers can be viewed here

The policy discussion papers, draft plan and other documents can be found here: 

° D5/Lower Russian River Public Safety Meeting featuring our new Sheriff Eddie Engram and District Attorney Carla Rodriguez
June 28th from 6-7:30 pm
Guerneville Elementary School, multi-purpose room
Meet Sheriff Eddie Engram, DA Carla Rodriguez, and bring your questions for them or Supervisor Hopkins on Public Safety topics.

° Lower Russian River MAC
July 13th, 5:30 - 7:00
Location tbd
Hot Topic! The Potter Valley Project and the threat to the Russian River watershed water supply.
We'll be bringing you up to date on this critical infrastructure issue and how this will affect our water in the lower Russian River area.

° Governance Study meeting, July 15th
Guerneville School Multipurpose room
10:30 - 12:30
Spanish Language Interpretation, Child care and snacks available.

This meeting will focus on reviewing the range of governance options available to unincorporated areas of California. We will follow up this meeting with a series of informational visits to local organizations to answer questions, review the information, and further dive into the topic with local communities. If you are part of an organization from chambers to rotary, workforce to nonprofits, Community Service Districts (CSDs) or neighborhood groups - please do reach out and invite us to come to one of your upcoming meetings to talk about the study and possible solutions.

   In Monday's special Board of Supervisors meeting we also took action on:

I. Abandoned Vessel Abatement Fund and Commercial Berthing Credit at County of Sonoma Marinas

The BOS adopted a Budget Resolution allocating $150,000 to Regional Parks to create the Abandoned Vessel Abatement Fund to remove abandoned fishing vessels from Bodega Bay Marinas operated by the County of Sonoma and authorizing a temporary waiver of dock fees at County of Sonoma Marinas for commercial fishing vessels experiencing financial hardship.

This will make a big difference to our fishermen who have been weathering extraordinary conditions this past year. The commercial fishing fleet was dealt a significant economic blow due to the cancellation of the salmon season and shortened crab seasons this year.

II. Board of Supervisors boosts funding for county’s pavement preservation program

The BOS yesterday unanimously approved a 3 percent boost in the General Fund contribution for resurfacing and maintaining the county road network, an increase that will be equal to $310,145 for fiscal year 2023-24. This is an addition to the $10 million in General Fund dollars that the board already allocates to the program each year, which supplements the gas tax funds that also are spent on road improvements in Sonoma County.

The Board of Supervisors proactively contributes more discretionary dollars to road repairs than any of the 58 counties in the state. Since 2012, the Board has invested more than $203 million to improve 516 miles of roads totaling 38 percent of the county’s 1,368-mile road network, the largest county-maintained road network in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

III. Sonoma County Supervisors award $3 million for homelessness solutions

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved $3 million in additional funds for housing-focused homelessness intervention projects as part of the county’s overall goal of reducing the homeless population by 10 percent every year.  The funding comes from Measure O, the quarter-cent sales tax measure voters approved in 2020 to fund mental health and homelessness services. 

Sonoma Applied Village Services (SAVS) and West County Community Services (WCCS) were two organizations funded that will help address this challenging issue in the 5th District.

IV. Supervisors approve extreme weather response plan, commit to developing partnerships with local groups

The Board of Supervisors on Monday unanimously approved a new plan for how and when the county will work with local faith-based groups and nonprofits to open heating centers during freeze warnings and cooling stations during high-heat events.

The new plan, otherwise known as the Extreme Temperature Response Annex, came at the recommendation of the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management and will be added to the County’s Emergency Operations Plan. The plan identifies three phases of response: readiness, alert, and warning for both heat and cold events.

Sea Otter Summit

On May 26th, Supervisor Hopkins hosted a forum in Bodega Bay to explore the possibility of reintroducing southern sea otters to their former habitat on the Sonoma Coast. Lynda brought together tribal representatives, elected leaders, marine biologists, representatives from the fishing community, economists, local environmental advocates, and other stakeholders to discuss the possible impacts and benefits of helping expand the sea otter’s range into areas it historically occupied until they were decimated by the expansive fur trade of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has no active plan to reintroduce sea otters and a process to prepare for a reintroduction project is lengthy, so any potential release of sea otters could take a few to several years but these were great first steps to explore what reintroduction could look like. Click here view a video of the summit.

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