Board Walk ~ Susan Gorin

Susan Gorin Susan Gorin represents the First District as a member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, an area that includes the entire Sonoma Valley.


The year of living stressfully

Posted on October 15, 2020 by Susan Gorin

What a year this has been. First Covid, then the Walbridge and Meyers Fires, and now the Glass Fire have tested our community again and again, with a few power shutdowns thrown in to keep us on edge. I am in awe of our first responders who worked double or triple shifts without rest to fight the fires, extinguish hot spots and keep the fires away from residences. And as the Glass Fire was still smoldering in some remote reaches of the burn area, we marked the three-year anniversary of the Tubbs and Nun’s fires that wrought such destruction and loss of life in our community. 

COVID – Conversation is ongoing all over our County about how can we work together to move us out of the Purple Tier, or the most restrictive tier based on the State of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, and into the Red Tier to open up indoor dining, gyms, theaters, schools, and other personal services. I know that our businesses are really hurting economically and pondering survivability, and people are getting anxious as we watch our neighboring counties’ numbers decrease and their restrictions ease, while still not being able to exercise or eat indoors, or send our children to school. 

It’s important to remember that these tiers aren’t arbitrary, they are based on our case data, and if we open prematurely, we would surely see an increased spread that would lead to more illness and spread of this highly contagious virus, as we are now seeing in European nations. 

One of the largest drivers of our case rate is gatherings – both large (12 or more people) and small. Other important drivers are household transmission and workplace transmission, which really go hand in hand: you live with someone who must go to work and contracts COVID on the job, and brings it home to you. These are impacted inequities that have always been here in our community – people who can’t afford or are unable to take time off, who lack sick leave or access to care, or who must share transportation or live in close quarters with a larger household. 

We are living through an incredibly difficult time. If you are dealing with stress and trauma and need someone to talk to, the County operates a mental health warm line where you can talk to a trained counselor. The warm line is available in English and Spanish 10am-7pm, seven days a week at 707.565.2652. 

 SONOMA COUNTY FIRES The situation evolves rapidly in the first days and weeks of recovery from a disaster such as these. Your one-stop shop for recovery information is the Sonoma County Glass Fire Recovery. This site will be updated frequently. You can find the Damage Assessment map on here under Step 2: Damage Assessment. We do not yet have a Federal Disaster Declaration for the Glass Fire. Until we do, survivors are not eligible for FEMA reimbursement, either for lost or damaged properties or evacuation expenses. I am hoping that we get a declaration soon to get these important programs moving. CalOES (Office of Emergency Services) has determined that the Glass Fire in Sonoma and Napa Counties will be joined together to allow CalOES to offer a public option for debris cleanup.

If I can offer a few pieces of advice from someone who has been there before: 

  1. Save your receipts, you will need them for FEMA, and/or your insurance. 
  2. Don’t rush and take your time. Some days you won’t want to do anything but rest or mourn; that’s ok. Your first priority is to find housing to shelter and give you a safe place to restore and stabilize your family.
  3. Keep digital and physical folders to put all of your emails and paperwork in. This can take over your life – keep it contained so you know where everything is when you need it. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I’ve offered a few ideas in this column, but there is a whole network of nonprofits, agencies, and other fire survivors who you can lean on, including United Policyholders to help you understand your insurance options and rights. 

If you are feeling stuck, please reach out to me. My staff has been through this before and may be able to help point you in the right direction, or unstick something for you. Most importantly, I urge you to be patient and kind to yourselves and each other. Even my friends who did not have to evacuate are feeling trauma from this incident, so however you were impacted – whether trying to keep up on the news, evacuating in the middle of the night, or knowing your home is gone – feel what you’re feeling and take time to rest. If you lost a home, know that the journey ahead is long and trying, whether you decide to rebuild or sell your lot. I know it well, I am still walking that path. And I am here for you.

Reach Supervisor Gorin and her team at [email protected] or 707.565.2241 (leave a message and you will receive a return call).



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA