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State's plan to close Sonoma Developmental Center blasted

Derek Moore & Angela Hart, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The draft closure plan did earn wide praise, however, for its recommendation that Sonoma Developmental property not be sold off as surplus, as has happened in similar situations.

The state’s draft plan for closing the Sonoma Developmental Center by 2018 is drawing sharp condemnation from family members and advocates for the disabled over the plan’s perceived failure to adequately address the long-term needs of 400 center residents, who would be moved into community-based settings.
During a highly charged hearing in Sonoma on Monday, dozens of people railed against the closure plan, saying it will result in developmental center residents receiving a substandard level of care that poses risks to their health and possibly their survival.
“This is a cookie-cutter plan that does nothing but fast-track the closure of the Sonoma Developmental Center,” said Brien Farrell of Santa Rosa, whose sister has lived at the facility since 1958.
The state for months has signaled its intent to shutter the Sonoma Developmental Center for budgetary reasons and because institutionalized care for the severely disabled continues to fall out of public favor. But many advocates for the facility have pushed for the state to maintain some level of services at the Eldridge site, including a crisis center and specialized offerings such as dental care.
Read more at: State’s plan to close Sonoma Developmental Center blasted | The Press Democrat

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Op-Ed: Community separators – nature’s bulwark against the next San Jose

Take heed, Sonoma. Don’t let our quirky little community character cross-pollinate with our, how shall we say, “less desirable” neighbors of the North Bay. You know the ones: Napa to the east, Santa Rosa to the west.
Heaven forbid, the land Hap Arnold called home is ever diluted by encroachment from our southern friends in, egad, Novato.
But that’s what’s at stake if the 20-year-old “community separator” designations are allowed to expire in 2016.
Community separators are just that: areas that separate communities. They’re lands zoned to act as open space buffers between neighboring communities – to prevent the type of overdevelopment that, when not held in check, can create suburban sprawl which results in, as Teri Shore of the Greenbelt Alliance describes, “city running into city running into city – like you (see) in San Jose.”
Of course, with all-do respect to our friends in the “Capital of Silicon Valley” it would take a lot of horrific city planning decisions for Sonoma to wind up with anything like San Jose’s 25-plus “neighborhoods,” former towns that the city annexed mid-20th century to increase its tax base. (1960s-ers City Manager “Dutch” Hamann vowed to turn San Jose into “another Los Angeles.”)
Now, Sonoma is nowhere near that level of suburban hegemony (though some have had their eye on a tasty little morsel called the Springs over the years). But that doesn’t mean community separators aren’t still important.
Read more at: Editorial: Community separators – nature’s bulwark against the | Sonoma Index-Tribune | Sonoma News, Entertainment, Sports, Real Estate, Events, Photos, Sonoma, CA

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Breathing room for Sonoma Developmental Center advocates 

A bill that sought to close the Sonoma Developmental Center and a similar facility in Southern California on an accelerated timeline was held over Tuesday until next year.
The bill’s author, Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, said he agreed to the delay after he and Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, met Monday to discuss McGuire’s concerns about the proposal.
McGuire is chairman of the Senate’s Human Services Committee, which heard SB 639 Tuesday.A month ago, McGuire publicly criticized Stone for bringing the bill, saying the Riverside County senator “would be challenged to find Sonoma on a map.”
Read more via: Breathing room for Sonoma Developmental Center advocates | The Press Democrat