Developmental Center hearing; County wants out from under Vets hall; and Quips from the Raceway

Posted on July 9, 2015 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The state’s Department of Developmental Services will hold a public meeting on the transformation of Sonoma Developmental Center on Saturday, July 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sonoma Valley High School. The hearing is one of the steps required by Senate Bill 82, signed by the governor in June. It requires the DDS to come up with a plan to close the Eldridge campus by the end of 2018. As part of that process, the DDS is seeking public comment. Hence the upcoming meeting, where anybody who wants to speak has a five-minute opportunity, for the record… Don’t expect much from DDS officials, who are only there to hear testimony; they will not answer questions or make additional statements. Can’t make it? Participate by phone, live at 800.230.1059. You can also get your comments on the record (five minutes of words?) via e-mail to: [email protected].

It won’t affect the closure timeline, but some good news for the SDC: money to help with the transition. The feds have come through with Medicaid funds that had been blocked by a decertification action. The center can now count on about $53 million (about one-third of its budget) as it makes plans to transfer patients and shut down. “The agreement aids in the efforts for a safe transition of residents from Sonoma to the community,” stated Santi Rogers of the DDS.

The County wants out of the Veterans Memorial Building business, again. General Services, the department that manages six of the halls at an expense of $700,000, wants to find a third-party to take over the job, and find more revenue. Sound familiar? With then-Supervisor Valerie Brown leading the charge locally, the County made a similar pitch a few years ago. None of the proposals passed muster. Then, as now, vets and nonprofits that use the hall are worried that, under a private operator, prices could go up, and access curtailed.

Sonoma Mayor David Cook was part of the entourage meeting NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon at Sonoma Raceway. A photo of which, commented one quipster, “Confirms that our mayor is at home with those fond of going round and round in circles.” … The entire Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend raised $236,000 for Sonoma County youth groups. As for the big glass of wine chugged in the winner’s circle by the victorious Kyle Busch, it was all local: wine by Highway 12 Winery, custom goblet by Leaderlass… Not much complaint about traffic – most everybody knows to avoid the area during race weekend, particularly Sunday. “Nobody goes there anymore,” noted one keen observer. “It’s too crowded.”

— Val Robichaud

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