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Cloverdale Reveille
Cloverdale, California
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October 17, 2019     Cloverdale Reveille
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October 17, 2019
 

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Page 8 - The Cloverdale Reveille - October 17, 2019 www.claverdaistassiiiensm FIREFIGHTER: Dad is his hero Continued from Page 1 firehouse, literally. He did 30 years in Graton asa volunteer. What’s the funniest or strangest thing to happen to you while on the job? You look at a lot of things and go, “How did that happen?” You go and see a car that fit through two trees and it shouldn’t have, and the person is unscathed. You never know what to expect based on what you’re going to. It’s when you get there that you have to adapt to the situation. Fires are the same way — what looks simple turns into something very complicated and a different situation. There’s a great deal of wonder in this job of how things happen, how people get themselves into these situations, how certain things occur. That’s what makes it fun and interesting. What’s your favorite part _of the job? What’s your least favorite part? My favorite part is going to fires, because not everybody can do that. It takes the type of person who is drawn to that. It’s not just something that the layperson can go, “Oh, I’m going to be a fireperson today.” Fires to me are very exciting, and you’re helping someone on their worst day. It’s the ability to help people that draws you to this job. Fires are the thing that you come into fire service for, ' but they don’t happen daily. The worst part is the wait. This is my 47th year in the fire service and 38 of those years were paid. The wait, the downtime, the minucia, the busywork. Anybody that’s into the job likes going to calls, because that’s why you’re there. Who do you look up to the most? There’s a list; that’s not a one-person answer. There’s been many many people over my lifetime or career that I’ve come in contact with, that I’ve been exposed to, there’s dozens of people that I can say that about. I’ve been in circles where a lot of guys I work with on the job were never in and never had a desire to be in. You can’t just have one person that’s your mentor. Ifl had to choose one person, I’d have to say my dad is that one person. Ifit wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have all the other opportunities in my life to do this job. What do you like best about working in Cloverdale? This department is more \ community focused than a lot of departments that are left. We have a tax base that we collect from every parcel, but beyond that we try hard to keep us involved in the community by doing fundraisers and being at activities and always being there. That’s what’s good if you just close your doors, you’re missing the boat. It’s about letting the community know we’re here and we’re here for them. We’ve got a good group, we have a pretty robust volunteer base in Cloverdale and have since we began in this department. That speaks volumes to the quality of the people who work here. «MAYORS: Low wages prevent diverse councils Continued from Page 1 afl‘ordable housing. The project is currently in preliminary review with the city’s planning commission, but Hinton pointed out that while the site could provide a lot of much- needed housing, it is also the location of the Ceres Community Garden, which is a point of tension for many Sebastopol residents. She did say, “We are encouraging people to put up ADUs,” since the city lowered the associated fees. Bagby said having more mixed-use developments would be good for Cloverdale specifically since she said the city doesn’t have a lot of tax revenue. In regard to other housing work in Cloverdale, a senior living project that will have 58 units is nearing the end of its completion. , The project at Vine Ridge and Treadway Drive is slated to haVe its ribbon cutting on Oct. 26. Housing for Sonoma is a bit more Climate change . _ _ The next question posed was, “What condonumum development behind the old can smafl cities and individuals do in O’Reilly Complex along the north end of Sebastopol as a potential source for energy. plan. Hinton said Sebastopol’s weekly farmers market also has recycling education programs and that the city has also switched to Sonoma Clean Power. tricky since there is an element of retaining the city’s historic integrity, however, Harrington said the city wants to come up with a housing action plan and has also made it easier for folks to build ADUs. Q&A response to climate change?” “I am very concerned about our future,” Harrington said in response. She said that the city of Sonoma has switched to. Sonoma Clean Power and residents are also encouraged to sign up for Sonoma Clean Power’s “Evergreen” plan, which uses solar and geothermal Hinton stressed that making a difference in the environment starts with one thing at a time, such as getting used to using a compost bin or signing up for the aforementioned “Evergreen” “Sebastopol has always been a leader in the environment and we have strong goals for zero waste,” Hinton said. Bagby’s take on what individuals can do involved talking to their local officials and urging them to take action. While there wasn’t much time for the slew of questions from guests, the three did get to discuss whether or not councilmembers or other oflicials should be regularly paid with a living wage r . board. rather than just receive a stipend, as well as the possibility of increasing the county minimum wage to $15 an hour. Those on the panel agreed that having a regular wage for elected officials may be helpful in terms of diversifying who can hold an elected seat, since it can be difficult for people with younger families or with a 9-to-5 job to commit to working on an elected Bagby said it results in de facto segregation since really only folks with their own flexible schedule or people who are retired can make the 20 hours a week time commitment without having to worry about their day job or getting their kids to school. Hinton agreed, saying it really prevents having a diverse council. , “I can’t imagine doing this, running kids to Little League and balancing a job,” Hinton said, calling Sonoma County District 5 Supervisor Lynda ' Hopkins a “superwoman” for being on the county board of supervisors and raising three kids. In regard to the minimum wage, all three mayors said they would like to see it raised, but do not know when that we will.” would feasible. Bagby said of raising the wage to $15, “Heck yes I’d like to, but I don’t know if COUNTY: Supes have suggestions for PG&E Continued from Page 1 she said. . - District 2 Supervisor David Rabbitt said he preferred, an outage to a wildfire, but said that the standards for what the infrastructure could Withstand Seemed low. “This is going to happen until infrastructure is improved,” he said. As far as what the county did well, it listed several items, including outreach to the county’s vulnerable population and Spanish communication. Staff said they reached out to a SHUTOFF: Threat of September. shutoff helped city take early action Continued from Page 1 industry,” stated a PG&E press release sent out on Oct. 15. “We understand the hardship and disruption} this caused for our customers and the general public, but given the devastating effect of wildfire on our customers and communities, we believe we made the right decision. We are reviewing this event across all facets of the . . . company, and seeking input from state and local agencies to scrutinize our performance ' and identify areas of improvemen .” . According to City Manager David Kelley, parts of the city began to lose power at around 3:15 am. on Oct. 9. Reports of power restoration in the city began on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 10 and concluded the morning of Friday, Oct. 11. ’ Some residents said that they experienced strong winds on Oct. 9, however many said that as the week went on, the initial wind dwindled. When asked about why residents on the south end of town experienced the shutofl‘, but not residents to the north, Bagby said that it could have been because of older infrastructure and Kelley said that it could have been because of the south end of town having a higher fire risk, though neither were positive of the logic behind the decision. Some residents said that they were included in the shutofl‘, but their neighbors weren’t. When asked of the potential reasoning, Contreras said that it could be because of the alignment of vulnerable population list they had made as well as a “medical baseline” list from PG&E. “We should send PG&E that bill,” Zane said. In terms of solutions, the board had several ideas. Gore posited that PG&E should test its system — essentially what this PSPS was — during a non-hazard time in order to better work out the kinks. Once the state has come down with its mandates, there may also be the option the break PG&E up and turn local control of the infrastructure to the electric system. “It is very possible that customers may be affected by a power shutoff even though they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location,” she said. “This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.” While only some of the — people in and around Cloverdale had their power shutoff, the outage was felt citywide. Cloverdale’s southern shopping centers were darkened, with businesses in and around Furber Plaza being left without power. Some businesses, like Ace Hardware and Ray’s Food Place, left their doors open, guiding shoppers through the stores by flashlight. Others, like Grocery Outlet and Starbucks, closed their doors. Cloverdale resident Thomas King said that his most vivid memory during last week’s shutoff was going to Cloverdale Pharmacy. “1 very badly needed some pharmaceuticals and, even more, some pharmaceutical advice,” King said. “CVS was Closed. I went by (Cloverdale Pharmacy) and it looked dark. However, the pharmacist was meeting customers at the front door, one at a time, and taking them by flashlight to g the pharmacy counter. He gave me some highly educated advice which turned out to be very useful and sold me a couple of over-the-counter medicines He was acting out of a strong feeling of professional responsibility. I'm sure he wasn't making much money, but he was municipalities including the county. The board noted that San Hancisco was recently blocked from attempting this but also noted how well the city of Healdsburg was able to communicate with PG&E as it operates its own poWer company and leveraged that to give high priority to its communication. Micro-gridding was also suggested as a strategy. The county is also requesting additional Wildfire monitoring cameras from PG&E, asking for another 12. The county has three now as well as six doing a lot of good.” King also mentioned the volume of people using the Cloverdale Regional Library as a place to recharge their phones and use the internet. “Every outlet was taken; many of them were shared using extension adapters,” he said. “Everyone was courteous and the stafi" were helpf .” Bagby was critical of PG&E’s decision, citing its deferred maintenance as a catalyst for the shutoff. “The power shutoffs are going to be with us for. awhile because of 20 years of deferred maintenance by PG&E. But by shutting off the power, they’re only limiting their liability,” she said. “A fire could still start some other way and be just as deadly as the others we’ve seen. With the power out, it also makes it harder to communicate.” Bagby anticipates that should outages like this one continue, there will be an even greater economic impact to the county. “How long until people quit holding weddings in the wineries in the fall, or until breweries leave?” she questioned. “These are our businesses here. That’s the economic reality.” Kelley said that during the shutoff, the communication line between PG&E and the city was nonexistent, with the city relying on the same updates as residents coupled with the occasional county call. “The only real communication we got from PG&E was the same level of communication that the residents got — that the PSPS was imminent. So we were operated by PG&E, all of which are maintained by thercounty. No matter the solution, however, the board acknowledged it was going to take time to implement. That time worried the supervisors, as the longer the time between incidents, the further the issue would be in the public’s mind. “We’re all rattling the cages” of PG&E, Hopkins said, but said it would be up to the state and supervisors to provide follow through. “We’re searching for that accountability factor,” Zane added. kind of in the same communication loop as the other residents,” he said. “Luckily through the Sonoma County Office of Emergency Services, we were having operational area calls three times a day — they were able to have direct communication with PG&E.” According to Bagby, one of the reasons there was any line of communication from PG&E was because of a year of pressure put on them from government officials on behalf of their constituency. Lessons learned When it comes to city , preparedness, Kelley said that the threat of a PSPS in September helped prepare the city for the Oct. 9 event. “I think because we were threatened with the PSPS about two weeks ago, we had taken some actions to be prepared and when it came around we kind of went back in that mode,” he said. “We topped off water, we were fuel prepared. We always learn that there are certain things that are good to have in place.’ Last week’s power shutoff taught the city that there are items that they may need to use in a power shutoff that the city doesn’t have immediately available — like additional generators. While the city has a portable generator it can use, they still had to rent one. However, the citywide demand for generators could have made it diflicult to find one. “I think we were lucky in some regards that one was available,” he said. Additionally, while the city had access to gas for their generators,'Kelley brought up (\ Open Studios Photo Teresa Elward ANOTHER WEEKEND OF ART TRAILS — Some 140 artists opened their studios last weekend for the 35th annual Sonoma County Art Trails and will be participating agin this weekend, Oct. 19 and 20. Above, Sebastopol landscape painter Gen Zorich greeted visitors to her studio. All artists have special pieces available for sale and many offer tours and demonstrations of their craft. DRIVERS: Continued from Page 1 The lack of available drivers is multipronged, Decker said, attributing the lack of interested backup drivers to both low unemployment rates and the level of training required. According to California’s Employment Development Department, unemployment in Sonoma County was at 2.7% in August. “There sirnply isn't a big candidate pool of people looking to be trained to fill in as a back-up bus driver,” Decker said. “Also, it takes a lot of training to become a bus driver. The majority of people who are trained have ongoing permanent jobs with other entities. In Cloverdale, we need a backup driver, not a that should Renner Petroleum (who agreed to provide backup fuel for city generators) need generators to run its machines in a future outage, the city may need to take that into account. “That would be a lesson learned,” he said, “to really try and prepare in advance either as part of our capital equipment or to have contracts where we can rent them when these times occur.” For Bagby, the lesson learned about preparedness and more about accountability. “The recent PSPS has also brought attention to the fact that we have a serious problem: our economy, way of life and the well being of our most vulnerable residents is being held hostage by a company that has, 20 years of deferred maintenance and is currently in bankruptcy due to that very negligence,” she said, calling on the Galifornia Public Utilities Commission to “get back to its core mission of protecting ratepayers and ensuring public safety.” A proponent of “innovative energy solutions through Sonoma Clean Power,” Bagby said that adopting a decentralized, smart grid would enable potential shutoffs to be smarter and shorter. “City and county officials need to work together with our state legislators and put pressure on Gov. Newsom to move us to a green energy economy and invest in a let . Century power grid that is reliable and safe for all Californians,” she said. While emergency preparedness has been permanent driver, in case our bus driver is unable to drive for some reason or we have a need for two busses to take students to events.” Having backup drivers they can call on in cases like these can help relieve the stress put on Wright, and the district as a whole. To get additional bus ‘ drivers in place, Decker said that the district is willing to pay to have drivers trained. “The district is willing to pay to have people trained to become a bus driver so long as they are willing to sign an agreement that states they will provide services to the district after being trained,” he said. “Stefani has become a credentialed trainer in the past year. The district needs to have a list of people that can be called for field trips, sports games and when our current bus drivers are unavailable.” to Rick Scaramefia, director of maintenance, transportationfer-the district, those a bus fertile must go through “which is required by the Department of fie , . g g ..: .. g'includgs S , onlB’us Dri'trer you I closeroomfinstruction. (30 Epilepsy. timeldiabetes ' and alcohol. year’oftraim’ 'ng. discussed at Cloverdale City Council meetings before, Bagby said that she can see it becoming part of the city’s legislative platform going forward. Resident Mia Munselle, who lives just outside of city limits on River Road and Geysers Road, said that living outside of the city limits helped prepare her family for the shutoff. “When you don’t and can’t rely on city infrastructure, you might just be a bit more prepared for the unknown, than those who do,” she said. “We have a well for our water, so when power goes down we don’t have any water like those in town do. We have generators for our refrigerators and freezers so we didn’t lose any food. “Honestly, I was really grateful that the shut off was planned and we were not being evacuated from our homes for an imminent emergency,” Munselle continued. “My kids probably missed the Wi-Fi more than I anything, but our oflice Where we work in Healdsburg still had power and a shower so we faired just fine. I think it was probably much more impactful for those whose businesses had to close, whose kids were out of school for so many days, and especially for the elderly. I would much rather have a warning and time to prepare than the possibility of a massive fire.” “One of my messages is for residents to really reach out to their neighbors and their community,” Kelley said. “I think this really is an opportunity to band together.” e...