I am honored that Val Robichaud, the editor of this newspaper, has given me the opportunity to write a monthly column about my community — the Springs. By the Springs, I mean the unincorporated towns of El Verano, Boyes Hot Springs, Fetters Hot Springs and Aqua Caliente.
Of the 27 years I’ve lived in Sonoma Valley, the last 23 have been in Boyes Hot Springs where I’ve been actively involved in a number of issues.
We in the Springs live in an area rich in character, history and resiliency. The improvements that have been made over the last 20 years have occurred because we made them happen. Residents, businesses, nonprofits and the schools continue to work to improve the area. The work that we’re doing, and the various issues we face, will be the subject of this monthly column. Look for it on the third Thursday.
There are two upcoming events in early October that provide opportunities for dialog about issues important to people of the Springs.
The first is a forum Wednesday, October 9 on the issue of our crumbling county roads. I am collaborating with the grassroots advocacy group SOSroads to bring to Sonoma Valley concrete, honest and useful information for those of us who live every day with our county’s bad roads. The featured speaker will be the Sonoma County Director of Transportation and Public Works Susan Klassen.
SOSroads co-founders Craig Harrison and Michael Troy will also be on the panel discussing how Sonoma Valley residents can help advocate for county roads. Supervisor Susan Gorin will give an opening statement. I will moderate.
Harrison and Troy formed SOSroads in 2011 to improve the condition of Sonoma County roads. Besides studying Sonoma County’s road situation, they have looked into how other rural counties deal with the issue.
We can only go so far to improve the Springs if we don’t eventually tackle the road issue. Failing, pot-holed roads are hazardous whether you’re driving, walking or riding a bike, and they negatively impact property values and add to blight.
Bring to the road summit your questions and ideas. Half the forum will be devoted to dialog between the panelists and the audience.
On the following night, Thursday, October 10, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss whatever local issue you want at the Springs Community Alliance’s Town Hall community organizing meeting. The handful of us who make up the core group of the Alliance, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Springs, want to hear what others think are important issues in the Springs. The group would also like more individuals to get involved.
The format for this town hall is a first for the Alliance. It’ll feature participants breaking into small groups to discuss and prioritize issues under six different categories: Safety, Business, Community Identity, Beautification, Youth and Family, and Health and Wellness. The small groups will then convene with the whole to discuss their priorities and possible next steps to take action on issues. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Grange Hall.