October 15, 2014 Bulletin
DIGITAL EDITION No. 98 October 815 2014 EDITOR: Julia Parranto PHOTOGRAPHER: Nicole Le
Our Program For October 22nd
SONOMA COUNTY WINEGROWERS
Karissa Kruse is President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. Karissa joined Sonoma County Winegrowers as Director of Marketing in September 2012 and was named President for the organization on May 1, 2013. Karissa earned a BS in Economics and an MBA in Marketing from Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania. She has over 17 years of experience in various aspects of marketing, brand management, strategic planning and business development. Karissa has worked for companies such as General Mills, Universal Studios, Mattel and Dairy Management, where Karissa worked for seven years on behalf of dairy farmers nationally. She is a partner in a small winery, Argot Wines, and the owner of a 25 acre parcel in Bennett Valley, with five acres planted to grapes. Karissa is on the Advisory Committee for Wharton’s Initiative on Environmental Leadership and on the boards of the Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm Foundation, Ag Trust Committee and Viticulture Advisory Committee and a member of Leadership Santa Rosa Class 29. Kruse was selected as a NBBJ Women in Business 2014 Honoree and 40 under Forty Award recipient in 2012.
October 29: Evening Meeting
November 5: Club is dark in honor of the Veteran’s Program on November 6th
Thursday November 6: Veteran’s Program 11:30am to 1:00pm at the Santa Rosa Veteran’s Memorial Hall
Wednesday, November 12th: Rotary Foundation
Visit our district at: http://www.rotary5130.org
Check out Rotary International at: http://www.rotary.org
Come see us at: http://rotarymeansbusiness.com
Be prepared: http://srcity.org/departments/fire/firecorps/pages/cope.aspx
We got off to an early start for our well attended City Council Candidates Forum. The room was patriotically decorated in red, white and blue, thank you Flamingo!
Pledge was led by Chip Rawson; although the flag was hiding in the back of the stage.
The Invocation: was beautifully done as a primer on the 4-Way test by Mike Kallhoff, who suggested that the
candidates utilize the Four Way test in their decision making.
We hosted Alein Coate, a Community Banker from the Sebastopol club, as well as Scott Holder, Financial Advisor, from Santa Rosa Sunrise. Welcome, Rotarians!
PROPOSED NEW MEMBER
Emily Harrington of Summit State Bank sponsored by Cecil Humes.
GUESTS OF ROTARIANS
Were not introduced due to the time constraints, but the Register revealed the following: Steve Schofield, banker, guest of Layne Bowen; Emily Harrington, guest of Cecil Humes; Troy Aldrich, from Marquis Auto Body; Trisha Allen, guest of Rick Allen; Gabi Edman and Avery Roux, guests of Ray Gaimpaoli; Mel Konrad, guest of President Mark; Eddie Geary, wife of Jack Geary; Victoria Hogan, guest of John McHugh; Matt Heath, candidate, guest of Jack Geary; Chloe Mellier, Rotary Youth Exchange, guest of Jeff Gospe.
YMCA Golf Tournament – Don McMillan – still needs volunteers. It’s this Friday and apparently involves a lot of beer drinking.
Pres. Mark Burchill announced that our annual Veteran’s Lunch, November 6 – 48 tix sold, need to sell 150 (we’ve committed). This is our meeting that week, so buy lots of tickets!
Murder Mystery, evening meeting, October 29. If you want to be one of the stars, contact President Mark or Karen Ball. (President1415@SantaRosaRotary.com)
Interclub Bocce Tournament and social, October 25. We will be fielding three teams. Even if you don’t want to play, come out and cheer on our teams.
Best Practices Breakfast this morning had 150 attendees, and very good exposure for RCSR.
Not announced, but important: Salvation Army bell ringing sign-ups will be available next week. If you haven’t done it before, it’s a lot of fun!
Moderator: a dapper Jack Atkin
Time Keepers: Shannon McConnell and Wayne Rowlands
We had 8 of the 9 candidates for Santa Rosa City Council: Colleen Fernald, Tom Schwedhelm, John Sawyer, Lee Pierce, Ashlee Crocker, Chris Coursey, and Curtis Byrd. Keith Rhinehart showed up about half way through, so never made an opening statement.
The candidates were given 2 minutes each to introduce themselves, after which Jack Atkin grilled them mercilessly. Moderator Jack admonished the crowd not to engage in undue amounts of cheering or jeering, but allowed that “due amounts” would be OK.
Colleen Fernald spent 11 years attending meetings of the City Council in both Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, as well as the Board of Supervisors. She is “not a politician” and will not be one even if elected. (And your editor is not a trial lawyer like you hear about on the anti – 46 ads on TV.) Anyway, politics is not working, and Colleen wants to fix that.
Tom Schwedhelm likes Rotary’s active participation in the community. He wants to be engaged in the community as well. Tom asked what do you want to see on the resume of someone you’re voting for? And then gave 4 points: He raised his family here and has seen the community through the eyes of his children. He has 31 years with the SRPD, first chief to be promoted from within the ranks of the PD. AA degree, BA degree, and a Master’s degree focused on Organizational Development. He has worked in the non-profit sector on various boards.
John Sawyer talked about his family ties to SonomaCounty.. His great-grandparents immigrated to this County over one hundred years ago and another part of his family opened Sawyer’s News in 1945 in downtown Santa Rosa. He has plenty of experience working on nonprofit boards and also served for eight years on the City Council, including as vice mayor and mayor. John sees the biggest issues facing Santa Rosa as economic development and jobs. He also thinks affordable housing is important so that our children don’t have to move away from Santa Rosa. He wants more attention paid to our infrastructure. John said the culture of the Council has been damaged of late, and needs some healing. He mentioned that our group is the largest group that the candidates had addressed so far in the campaign.
Lee Pierce introduced himself as a former City Council member from 2004 to 2008. He was vice mayor in 2006. He was on the Planning Commission in Santa Rosa for 21 months before that. Lee advocated for all Council members to take the Four Way Test, which got some laughs and applause. Lee claims to have an ear on the left and an ear on the right and a CPU in the middle, in other words he likes to find middle ground and says that he did so when he was on the City Council. Lee is endorsed by Congressman Thompson, former state Sen. Noreen Evans, and Susan Gorin. He has a degree in human relations, and mentioned a wife, 3 children, and five grandchildren.
Ashlee Crocker says that she moved here from Minnesota at age 3. She is a graduate of Santa Rosa High School. She has twin daughters who are attending Sequoia Elementary, which she also attended. Her priority as a City Council person would be to focus on jobs and economic development, maintain public safety and education programs, and work toward a more transparent and open government. She is a land-use and environmental law attorney and has worked with developers, environmentalists, cities and counties around the state, so she believes she has skills that are needed on the Council. She has worked on the open government task force, the planning commission, the Board of Directors for the children’s Museum, and is a working parent.
Chris Coursey told us that his father was in Rotary in Denver, Colorado and his family had an exchange student from Rhodesia while he was in high school. Chris has lived in the area for 35 years, having come to Santa Rosa to work at the Press Democrat. He wants to be on the City Council so that he can make it focus on its job, which he says is to maintain city services: maintain the roads and the parks. He also mentioned annexing Roseland. He is endorsed by Congressman Thompson and state Sen. Noreen Evans, and feels that he could offer a fresh perspective to some of our city’s problems.
Curtis Byrd is a native fourth-generation Santa Rosan. He says that he has a fresh perspective and will bring a cooperative approach to a Council that has not been very cooperative recently. He wants to focus on affordable housing, annexing Roseland, and making sure the government is open. He is endorsed by Congressman Mike Thompson, former Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, State Sen. Noreen Evans, supervisors Mike McGuire and Susan Gorin, numerous others, including the Sierra Club and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. He’s been on the Mayor’s gang task force, the commission on human rights, and the planning commission. He wants to restore our parks and roads and create new jobs.
Jack Atkin asked the 1st question, a two parter: if the City were to identify a new source of funds totaling $10 million, what would you do with it? And, if for some unforeseen circumstance $10 million had to be cut from the city budget, what would you do?
Curtis Byrd went first: the first priority for him would be to deal with the unfunded pension liability, then he would want to deal with affordable housing, which would help with the homeless issue, and then he would deal with capital improvements. He advocated for the North area station plan, which he said would create jobs. In terms of cutting $10 million, he wants to see parity between departments. He wants to see fairness and community involvement in the cutting process.
Chris Coursey went next and said that he would start by not thinking that he has the answer to the question, and going to the community for the answer. He advocated for affordable housing and more money for roads.
Ashley Crocker went next and emphasized education, and restorative justice. She said that any cuts that come should not affect city staff with cuts to city staff being the last option.
Lee Pierce proposed getting rid of the parking meters downtown.
John Sawyer wants to fix the roads and assumed in his answer that it was a one-time $10 million. In terms of cuts, indicated that they should not be across the board but should be surgical in nature. He would not remove the parking meters downtown because they fund the five parking garages, which need money to be maintained, well lit and safe.
Tom Schwedhelm wants to give the money to economic development. He said that the city needs to help businesses instead of being a hindrance to business and make that clear to city staff. Roads and parks would also be a priority. For cuts, he would go to the community and asked them what their priorities are and cut accordingly.
Colleen Fernald talked about funding our values and investing locally. She pointed out that there is a solar project at the Wells Fargo Ctr. In the parking lot, and asked why it doesn’t exist in the city hall parking lot? She also talked about spending money on roads, wastewater pipes and parks. She ran out of time before she could tell us what she would cut.
The second question had to do with who the candidate is going to represent and whether or not they have any conflicts of interest. Jack Atkin, focused initially on Curtis Byrd and Ashlee Crocker, who are supported by the North Bay labor Council, which is known for having candidates sign what Jack called a pledge. Jack also asked any other candidate with similar obligations or conflicts to identify themselves and explain their position. He referred to project labor agreements, or PLA’s, and asked if any of them were involved with those.
Ashlee Crocker indicated that she would represent all the interests of all of the citizens of Santa Rosa. She further indicated that she is endorsed by a broad spectrum of groups, including business groups like the chamber, the Sonoma County Alliance, as well as labor groups, including police and fire. She does not call the documents required by these groups “pledges”, but rather considers them to be commitments to keep an open ear to each group’s concerns. She pointed out that she has agreed to disagree with labor over the issue of a living wage. She is an advocate for a higher minimum wage, but not a living wage.
Curtis Byrd indicated that yes he had signed a pledge. He stated that the unfunded pension liability problem is a huge one and requires everyone to come to the table to solve the problem. He supports a living wage. As to PLA’s, he stated that more information needs to be at the table before he can decide. He too indicated that he would represent the entire city of Santa Rosa.
Chris Coursey then interrupted Jack to ask if he could respond to the Union question. He pointed out that he worked for the press Democrat for a very long time and was a member of a union for 27 years and at one point was the president of the union. He sought the endorsement of the SEIU but did not sign their pledge so he does not have their endorsement. He said that when dealing with unions as a city Council member he will represent the taxpayers.
Keith Reinhardt then had his first moment to address our club. He identifies himself as the homeless candidate, but says he finally found a place to live in Santa Rosa. He says he has made no pledges. He says that if the government requires business to pay a living wage, that’s socialism, which he called un-American. He says he is the only candidate in the middle. He says he has only one donor and that’s David Codding. He apologized for being late
Colleen Fernald indicated that she too is independent. She pledged to represent 99.05% of the citizens of Santa Rosa and stated that the rest don’t need representation because they’re already represented. She deliberately did not accept any endorsements. She’s keeping her campaign donations to $1000 or less. She will not do any robo calls and her signs will not be littering our yards. She does not have a campaign manager telling her what to say to us.
Lee Pierce wants to make it clear that he has no labor support, even though he has belonged to unions in his past. On the subject of PLA’s, he says that he’s leaning in that direction.
Tom Schwedhelm says that he’s still learning about PLA’s and how they would affect things.
John Sawyer is concerned that PLA’s would be an additional great cost to the city of Santa Rosa. So he is leaning against them as they could be an additional cost that we can ill afford at this point. He has signed no pledges.
Next question: Jack told the panel that there is a perception in the community that when the city Council negotiates with employee unions, there is a conflict of interest because some of those city Council members are supported by those same unions. So Jack asked each of them what confidence they can give the community that they’d be representing the community and not their supporters.
Colleen Fernald said that she is neutral on the subject of unions. She talked about not living beyond your means and not living on credit cards. She talked about saving for a rainy day or drought. She criticized the fact that we have a fire station, which is on a payment plan. She reiterated that she will represent 99.05% of the citizenry and will be fair.
Tom Schwedhelm advocated thinking of the city staff as an investment and looking at what we can afford and not afford and needing data points before negotiating with city staff.
John Sawyer says that in the past when he was on the city Council before he has said “yes” and he has said “no”. He indicates that the employees are very well aware of the trend currently that results in more responsibility and more participation in paying for benefits. He said it is the responsibility of the city Council to protect the employees as well as to protect the revenues of the city.
Lee Pierce advocated for the creation of a taxpayers committee analogous to the Measure O committee.
Ashlee Crocker pointed out that she is a negotiator by trade and has always been able to listen to all sides. Creating new business and creating new jobs is good for both business and workers.
Chris Coursey disputes that an endorsement causes a conflict of interest. He has been endorsed by five different mayors of the city of Santa Rosa and he doesn’t think that any of them expect him to vote “their way”. Going into a negotiation with employees, he will be representing the interests of the taxpayers.
Curtis Byrd believes that the issue comes down to ethics and integrity. He believes it’s important that when the city Council looks at contracts, that they look at all of them at once instead of one at a time. So he believes that the process needs to be changed so that we know where we are going. He says that we have a $4 million deficit because we’ve only been able to deal with one contract at a time.
Keith Reinhardt gave a pat on the back to Ashlee Crocker for being the only member of a commission who does not serve the city council member who appointed them. He stated that we will never get out from under the unfunded pension liabilities if we have 4 police related council members, calling out John Sawyer and Tom Schwedhelm. Nobody ever says no to the police or fire, and we have to be able to demonstrate that we can say no.
Next question: what would make Santa Rosa more business friendly?
Lee Pierce said this is his top issue and said he wanted to cut the red tape out. He said there’re over 3000 small business owners in the city of Santa Rosa and we need an ombudsman to help them out.
John Sawyer says government needs to get out of the way. City staff need to learn how to say yes rather than no when approached by a business.
Tom Schwedhelm wants to change the culture at City Hall so that when business people come in they say “wow the city is trying to help me.”
Colleen Fernald wants to see an incubator like the Sonoma Mountain Village for Santa Rosa.
Ashlee Crocker said we need an overall culture change at City Hall to be more customer oriented. We need to streamline the application process. We also need to streamline the environmental review process. Based on her experience, she knows how to accomplish this.
Chris Coursey pointed out that when you go to the city to get a permit, there is a sign on the wall that says due to staff cuts, there is a six-week delay to get your permit. He wants to provide the staffing to meet customer demand. He wants clear regulations and then the city needs to get out of the way.
Curtis Byrd believes that with the expansion of Highway 101 businesses do want to come to Santa Rosa, but Santa Rosa needs to do a better job with its application process in order to invite them in.
Keith Reinhardt complained that Parks and Recreation has lost many positions and we cannot attract businesses and families to this city if we don’t have nice parks. He said the reunification of courthouse square is a bad idea; it’s just going to tear up downtown and make it harder for business. Finally, he suggested housing the homeless in the Community Hospital complex so they can live with dignity instead of sleeping in our doorways.
Next question: respond to the vision thing. What do you want Santa Rosa to look like in the future? What do we need to do to get Santa Rosa on the right course?
Lee Pierce went first this time and advocated for a better transit system, vertical development, and he wants more liveliness downtown to attract a younger crowd. He also wants to protect our open spaces.
John Sawyer points out that we’re the fifth largest city in the Bay Area and we need to grow up, and not out. He wants city center growth with more people living and working downtown.
Tom Schwedhelm’s vision is for the city of Santa Rosa to be known as the Nordstrom of cities. He says we have a thriving economy and it’s a place that people want to come to and we need to keep it safe for people to live, work and play.
Colleen Fernald asked how many people know about agenda 21? Only one person did and she was surprised. She’s looking for sensible development. She wants to protect the environment as well as the economy.
Ashlee Crocker wants us to pay attention to our long-range planning. We have documents that we have paid for that include long-range plans and we need to dust them off and follow them. She compared us to Healdsburg, which apparently does hold up each new project to its long-range plan and decide whether or not it fits in with the long-range plan before approving each plan.
Chris Coursey wants Santa Rosa to come to terms with the amount of water it has. He also wants the downtown area to be a 24-hour, seven day per week place that people come to live, work and play. He wants to encourage tourism downtown. He wants to encourage mixed-use development and affordable housing and create jobs along the freight line.
Curtis Byrd warns that there is going to be a lot of change coming for Santa Rosa. There’s a new police chief, new fire chief and a new city manager. He looks forward to the new city manager figuring out where we need to go.
Keith Reinhardt says that it’s ridiculous to think that the baby boomers are going to age into bicyclists. We need a robust and frequent transit system and says we should be spending money on that and not new bicycle lanes. He says we need a balanced city Council. The only trustworthy person on the left is Chris Coursey. On the right, the only trustworthy person is Ashlee Crocker, who he believes in. He says if you want an independent city Council you need to put Keith Reinhardt in the middle.
A round of applause ensued.
Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Officers
President: Mark Burchill, President Elect: Jose Guillen, President Elect Nominee: Doug Johnson, Past President: Peggy Soberanis, Secretary: Jack Abercrombie, Treasurer: Cecil G. Humes, Sergeant at Arms: Jack Geary
President Rotary International
Gary C.K. Huang, member of the Rotary Club of Taipei, Taiwan
Governor, District 5130
Kevin Eisenberg, member of the Rotary Club of Calistoga
Jack Abercrombie P.O. Box 505 Santa Rosa, CA 95402 707-538-4770
Board of Directors
Karen Ball, Tim Delaney, Debra Dorfman, Tim Fawcett, Bill Hatcher, John McHugh, Jack Tolin, Cathy Vicini