Fighting the good fight; Springs meeting; and virtual participation

Posted on February 19, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun

A video of a fight (brief, no injuries) at Sonoma High School last week has gone viral. School District staff contacted Facebook asking it to remove the video due to its violent content, and because minors were recognizable within the video. Facebook refused. The video did not “violate (the company’s) community standards,” replied the faceless Facebook rep. Area newspapers and TV stations apparently have the same (lack of) community standards – they shared the link and even embedded the video post in online stories. Infinitely less salacious but far more important was the District’s response: “This incident does not accurately represent Sonoma Valley High School or Creekside High School. The District does not condone such behaviors. Not unlike other districts across the United States, our school district continues to deal (with) the challenging impact that social media has on our school communities. We hope that you, as parents, take this incident as an opportunity to remind your children about the acceptable use of social media, and the responsibility that goes with it.” So have that talk with your kids; afterwards, watch funny cat videos together.

If you believe there’s more to the future of the Springs than new paint colors, heads up: The first of five community workshops on the Springs Specific Plan will be held on Monday February 29, 6 p.m., at Altimira Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, in Sonoma. This is the process that will guide future development along the Highway 12 corridor from Agua Caliente Road to Verano Avenue. Residents may also participate through web-based surveys. Find out more at

The irony of public meetings is that they’re often inconvenient enough to be almost exclusionary. Finding a few free hours (and a place to park, and maybe a babysitter) in a busy schedule can be tough. Attending a Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Rosa, on a weekday, is a huge chore. SVTV27 does a great job of televising meetings of the Sonoma City Council and Planning Commission (the meeting room is wired for multiple-camera broadcasts) and shows the Supervisors meetings as well. But because it’s one thing to watch and another to participate with live comments or questions to the panel, and because its 2015, why not make the Supervisor meeting truly interactive? Let people attend via an annex site, one in each district; here, the city meeting room. Via live-feed monitors, the Supes can hear comments from people whose opinions are no less important simply because they couldn’t schlep all the way to Santa Rosa. Electronic voting is here, why not interactive public meetings?… Or just Tweet the damned thing. The meetings would certainly go a lot faster if public officials’ statements were limited to 140 characters. PS: Can’t wait for the Susan Gorin emoji.

–Val Robichaud

Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA