The campaign mailers (we estimate more than a pound per household) have stopped, the robo-calls (a dozen or more a day, at one point) have been silenced, and the yard signs are beginning to disappear.
The election of 2012 is over and Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California and our polarized, politically-ruptured republic can, perhaps, return to some semblance of normalcy.
Most of us, we’re certain, hope our attention can (and should) return to things most of us consider to be of fundamental importance. In Sonoma Valley, our own list of priorities would include:
• Finding funding sources for the repair and maintenance of our streets, now that an $800,000-a-year flow of redevelopment money has evaporated.
• Identifying once-and-for all a viable location for a community swimming pool, and then leveraging that location into a Valley-wide campaign to fund its construction and operation.
• A concerted, focused and collaborative campaign between city government, the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Sonoma Valley Economic Development Partnership and other influential members of the community to produce a master plan, with concrete, achievable objectives, over a realistic span of time, for the diversified economic development of the Sonoma Valley.
• An equally-comprehensive commitment to a master plan for identifying and pursuing every conceivable funding source to support our schools, because – even with passage of Proposition 30 – we are nowhere near the levels of educational support needed to meet our lofty goals of career-and-college ready for all graduating high school seniors.
• A re-energized outreach effort to intercept the Valley’s vulnerable youth before they become further entangled – as appears to be the case again – in the dark and dangerous allure of street gangs.
• Additional support for the full-court press now underway to completely fund the development goals of Sonoma Valley Hospital.
• A long-term plan to acquire as a city-owned treasure and community resource the Sebastiani Theatre.
• And last-but-not least, the absolutely essential completion of the Springs sidewalk project along Highway 12 must become one of the highest priorities, for both the county and the City of Sonoma which – we believe – should add its voice to the chorus aimed at Sacramento. The safety of pedestrian traffic along Highway 12, and the enhancement of the commercial district along that corridor, is equally important to residents of the city and the Springs.
We are disappointed that specific discussion of most of these priorities did not get any detailed attention during either the City Council or the 1st District Supervisorial campaigns. But we urge the victorious candidates to weigh in on these issues now.
And to them all, we add our congratulations and the hope that their terms in office will help stimulate unprecedented achievements on all these fronts.
We are certain that Laurie Gallian and David Cook will serve us well on the City Council. We are equally confident that Susan Gorin will represent us well on the Board of Supervisors.
And we also wish Gina Cuclis well as the Valley’s new voice on the Sonoma County Board of Education.
There’s a whole lot of work to be done.