Sonoma gets gabbing at new speaker series

Community ?Conversations launched to ‘shape a vision' for Valley's future|

Everyone likes good company and lively conversation – so how about an evening of those for the entire community?

That’s what the Sonoma Valley Fund is offering with its new Community Conversations – an ongoing series of events meant to spark a dialogue among Sonoma residents.

According to SV Fund officials, the series is intended to achieve three things – “deepen understanding of the forces shaping the Valley, make the connections and tensions among various issues clear and apparent, and catalyze the leadership needed to shape a vision and strategy for our collective future.”

The inaugural Community Conversation is April 27, at 7 p.m. at the Sonoma Community Center.

A press release for the series encapsulates the conversations to take place: “For many natives and newcomers alike, the Sonoma Valley can feel like paradise – blessed with an ideal climate, rich history, small-town intimacy and big-city amenities that have been woven together over time into a unique blend. For other residents, Sonoma can be a challenging place to live, beset with limited opportunities. One doesn’t have to look far to see the growing economic and ethnic divides, the lack of affordable housing, the strains on public education, the aging of the population, the stresses on the natural environment and the struggle to maintain a strong community in the face of growing numbers of tourists and part-time residents.”

The April 27 conversation will feature Oscar Chavez, who will share his knowledge as assistant director of Human Services for the County of Sonoma, and Sonoma Valley Fund board member Katherine Fulton will moderate and engage the audience. And former journalist David Bolling will discuss “what he has learned in nearly four decades living in Sonoma.”

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