Vesta Copestakes has taken over the writing of these articles from Lucy Hardcastle. They first appear in the Sonoma County Gazette and then reprinted here.
by Vesta Copestakes
COVID-19 prevented us from sharing the annual holiday tree-lighting on the traditional Sunday after Thanksgiving, but the Forestville Chamber of Commerce quietly set up the tree and decorated it with the help of the Trappe & Wood families, Earl Stephens, Dan & Sonoma Northern, Leahi Santos, Max Gram, and Nick Comich. And yes, the Forestville Fire Department put up the Christmas decorations on streetlight poles downtown. We NEED our traditions and the people who make them happen!
Also thank you for every person who did their holiday shopping with Forestville merchants. We need these merchants here for us, so the only way to keep them is to spend money at their businesses…restaurants, wineries, retail, food, any service, any need…fill it with a Forestville business when you can. Forestville is a FAMILY…our family! All families need to support each other, especially in tough times.
Re-Zoning changes for housing
Sonoma County wants community input. In January there will be a DRAFT EIR (Environmental Impact Report) for us to review. It designates 5 sites (FPR-1 ~ 5) in downtown Forestville for potential housing that is not zoned for housing right now. As soon as it is ready for our review we will share it with Forestvillians for your valuable input. Here is the website link (Sonoma County Rezoning Sites for Housing EIR Public Input) so you can get a head start on being part of the review process.
The link for the interactive map is above the map image.
What also needs our attention?
Forestville’s El Molino High School campus for one! Our award-winning school is in the precarious position of this campus either closing or being used for other purposes as part of a potential consolidation of West County high schools. This would have a huge impact on our town as well as the lives of families reaching west and north.
West County High School District board meetings started getting a lot of attendees (via ZOOM) once everyone discovered that El Molino students could potentially be moved to the Analy Campus as soon as August 2021. The Lions came out ROARING and, with the help of 5th District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, came up with a plan that could save our campus while more creative solutions are sought to keep our schools funded and functioning.
Currently we have two parcel taxes that pay for schools. One is about to end (Measure K of $48) and the other (Measure B for $79) which will be on our property tax bills for 8 years. When Measure K funds end, we will have a hole that needs to be filled in order to balance the high school district budget. Cutting programs (music, arts, career-technical education, and sports) or consolidating campuses were the proposed solutions until our community asked for more time to find better options.
To fill that hole for 3 years, parcel tax Measure A ($48) will be on a special election ballot in March 2021. Funds from this measure would be used exclusively to maintain a full range of classes and programming while the community helps the board design a sustainable budget.
El Molino is our school, our children’s education, and we need to make this work.
If you want our Forestville high school campus to stay open, Measure A will avert the budget crisis for now. We need to participate in the solution process WITH the board for a long-term plan. This is our school, our children’s education, and we need to make this work.
If you would like to join those who want to help promote Measure A, please connect with Domenica Sheets 707-695-6883 and Kara Mendez 707-849-1471. COMING SOON, a website to answer your questions & learn more at YesOnAinfo.com (TO COME). You may also want to join Keep Our Lions Roaring on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1256631088047624. We could use community help to pass this measure so we have time to work together to find a sustainable solution.