Sonoma Valley Sun


Let’s get going on Annexation

Posted on February 4, 2024 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The latest iteration of the discussion about annexation of the Springs Community by the City of Sonoma is going around again. Please keep in mind that to reach fruition the process would take a long time—at best maybe 10 years. In dating terms, this first phase is akin to thinking about going out for coffee. 

There are many steps along the way involving both communities including studies, reports, gauging community concerns and reactions and voting. 

The most pertinent reason for going forward is the increased disparity of conditions in the Boyes Springs, Fetters Springs, Agua Caliente and El Verano communities (the Springs) and the City of Sonoma. As economic trends favoring the corporate higher echelons and the (already) wealthy have escalated, there has been downward economic movement for the middle class, working class and the “economically disadvantaged,” a.k.a. poor. 

Sonoma has become increasingly the home of higher income and almost exclusively white people. The Springs, always working and middle class, now shifting into retirement, has had an influx of Latino immigrants, including many undocumented. Sonoma policies have heavily discouraged all ranges of new affordable housing and the Springs with little new construction has absorbed a lot of people into overcrowded apartments, mobile homes and substandard rentals.

A strong argument can be made that the Springs/Sonoma is already one community. In reality, if Sonoma and the Springs were joined, it would be the fourth largest city in Sonoma County. That in itself is a strong reason to look at annexation, which only seems possible if it proceeds as combining the two entities, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. 

We share many essential resources—the Sonoma Unified School District, the local Fire Department, the Sheriff’s Department, sewage and the hospital district. Water could likely be combined easily. Registered voters all may vote on issues surrounding these shared departments. We share other services–Sonoma Valley Health Center, Doctors, Lawyers, other professionals. 

Hunger exists in the Springs, but also in Sonoma, and is increasing, in part due to reduction in federal and state government services. Low income elderly, who have a harder time finding and accessing resources are increasingly stressed and insecure. Sonoma Valley Hospital and most medical providers are stretched thin in the Valley partly as a result of lack of affordable housing.

Better compensated workers essential to community safety – fire and public safety most notably – cannot find housing anywhere near Sonoma Valley. Businesses in Sonoma and more widely in the Valley, are having trouble finding workers, in general and a stable workforce in particular because housing is so out of alliance with pay. 

Looking at our community as an interdependent whole, realizing that we all need each other to be healthy and empowered is a huge step in creating a beautiful home for everyone in the Valley – the Sonoma and Springs Community. 

— Iris Lombard, Boyes Springs

One thought on “Let’s get going on Annexation

  1. The downside is that property taxes and sales tax would go up. Some people would be forced to move out of the Springs due to increases in rent and the already high cost of living going even higher.

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