Want a better community? Speak up!

As a past candidate for Santa Rosa City Council in November (I ceased my campaign in late September for a myriad of reasons) and a person who has had to learn a lot about Measure Q in Santa Rosa (District Elections), I found the article linked below to be a perfect example of how to make our communities BETTER!  A quote from the article:  “We need to get better at community outreach and engagement because we still have a lot of traction to gain at the local level.” (http://bettercities.net/article/want-better-communities-engage-them-better-19084)

Also, as someone who has attended many public meetings (for projects, to show support or opposition) without any cause but to be a part of my COMMUNITY, the author also says “Show up. Don’t wait for a meeting, or an invitation, or for someone else who was going to arrange a conversation. Call them now, meet them now…”  Our community members, YOU, need to get engaged.  Why, you may ask?  Because you don’t want to be on the receiving end of something that you don’t agree with.  Many times, our community only pulls together for certain, specific issues – that is not community.  It is responding to an issue because of great like or dislike – yes during that time you may meet your neighbors and continue a relationship, but, what I have found to be ever so successful is community engagement.  Be ENGAGED in your community through neighborhood meetings, community meetings, public meetings, etc.  Don’t just wait for something to smack you across the face after it has already been approved.

There are many ways to do so, and I’ll list some ideas for our local community (Santa Rosa), but the City you live in should have very similar resources for you to learn about:

Community Engagement:  http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/departments/cityadmin/communityengagement/Pages/default.aspx

Email Newsletters: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/CASANTA/subscriber/new?topic_id=CASANTA_75&pop=t (Santa Rosa)

Public Meetings:  http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/government/Pages/default.aspx

Neighborhood Groups (where is your neighborhood?): http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/departments/cityadmin/communityengagement/Pages/Neighborhoods.aspx

Join a Board or Commission:  http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/government/boards/Pages/default.aspx

To close, a better community starts with YOU!  In order to be a vibrant, active, engaged community, the community needs YOU!  Get involved!

Erosion & Sediment Control

Global warming notwithstanding, we have quietly entered the “rainy” season for the Bay Area.  Is your site buttoned up for light storms, long storms, or heavy intense storms?  Which erosion control measures are you using?  Are they the most cost effective for your site?

Some erosion control basics:  Straw wattles (aka fiber rolls) are only effective if installed properly; they need to be placed on contour, and not sloped;  the need to be held down to the grond tightly; and by using biodegradable mesh, you protect the environment from plastic, and save on disposal costs.  Gravel bags are great at protecting inlets; they should be packed loose enough to allow water to penetrate through, but hold back sediment; tightly packged bags, or sand filled bags will simply create a dam condition that may not function as a sediment block.  Straw mulch protects barren slopes and areas.  Better still, hydroseeding provides an inexpensive way to stabilize a slope without constant maintenance.  Silt fences are best used as a last line of defense, and should be preceeded by other erosion control measures.

As your choice for creative landscape architecture and civil engineering solutions, Firma Design Group can quickly step in and provide erosion and sediment control assistance.  Call us today at 707-792-1800, or email us at office@firmadesigngroup.com.


Sudden Oak Deaths rise in North Bay

The Press Democrat’s article today about Sudden Oak Deaths in Northern California, but especially in Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino is especially alarming!  The quick rise in deaths of trees, without any knowledge of how the pathogen was brought to or originated from and no knowledge of how to stop the pathogen or to treat the pathogen.  For any horticulturalists, landscape architects, biologists, large property owners – this is truly alarming!


What can you do?

There are a number of volunteer groups in our communities that do an annual survey of randomly selected Bay Trees (which are thought to be the host to the pathogen that then gets passed on to the oak trees).   The major event is the SOD Blitz, where groups all over the Bay Area survey trees for signs of infection.

Also, when walking in native or urban areas where you know there is SOD, sanitize your clothes, shoes, etc.  The air-borne pathogen clings to cloth, shoes, etc. and you could potentially pass the pathogen to an uninfected area.

Learn more about Sudden Oak Death.  This website is a great reference:  http://www.suddenoakdeath.org/