Kenwood Press

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News: 10/01/2020

Advisory council to look at evacuation and preparedness on Oct. 16

Sonoma Valley’s newest public organization will start off its real mission on Oct. 16 with a focused and timely presentation on evacuation and preparedness from a member of the Sheriff’s office and two people from the county Department of Emergency Management. The seven-member North Valley Municipal Advisory Council’s second meeting will take place via computer on Oct. 16, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Vice-Chair Daymon Doss suggested the topic at the Sept. 16 meeting’s wrap up asking members to suggest future agenda topics.

“Evacuation routes are unclear,” Doss said, supporting his topic nomination. “Suggestions from the CHP or Sheriff’s department would be helpful. We need information on fire safety, service, traffic.”

The NVMAC’s inaugural meeting was virtual and basic: seven members and two alternates were sworn in by Darin Bartow from the County Administrator’s Office, followed by remarks from Council Chair Arthur Dawson and sponsor Supervisor Susan Gorin, who is the reason the council exists, providing her office with information she needs about this part of her district.

“This has been a long time coming,” Gorin said. “We started this process last fall, had a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), COVID this year, recent fires and more power shutdowns. Thanks for your flexibility and continued willing to serve on this advisory council.

“The idea I’ve had is bringing Department heads to talk to (the council) and community about what they do and how the MAC might work to advocate for projects going forward.”

Gorin noted her budget for these councils is slim with faint hope of augmentation, but has provided Arielle Kubu-Jones to be her permanent liaison with the group and has provided a person to take minutes and tend to the NVMAC website.

Kubu-Jones brought the new council members up to date with the county policies and procedures for public bodies: how to conduct a meeting, proper meeting rules, the kinds of topics the council will be expected to handle, and more.

The group was given basic training in Brown Act requirements that apply to public bodies like this council. Assistant County Counsel Linda Shiltgen explained the ins and outs of how members can gather in public without violating the venerable California law aimed at keeping public body decision making transparent.

A regular feature of future meetings will be presentations from members representing the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission (Matt Dickey) and the Glen Ellen Forum (Melissa Dowling). Neither had anything to report for this meeting, but theyv both described the nature of their organizations and what to expect in the future.

The meeting wound down with a spirited discussion of possible future topics. Kubu-Jones noted a first step will be to pass a Mission Statement and to develop goals and policies. Both are on the next meeting agenda, along with presentations on the central topic of the evening: evacuation and emergency preparation.

Speakers include Misti Wood, Community Engagement Liaison for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, along with Nancy Brown, PhD, Community Preparedness Manager, and Richard Diaz, Deputy Emergency Services Coordinator, both from the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management.

The meeting will close with presentations from Dickey and Dowling on their respective groups, and another round of suggestions for future topics. Other topics raised at the first meeting include a look at the Glen Ellen downtown bridge over Sonoma Creek.

“That bridge is obviously deteriorating and Caltrans has jurisdiction, Matt Dickey said.

The public is urged to join in the meeting and learn more about evacuation and emergency preparedness and discover this newest addition to the Valley’s public forums.


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