District 3 Monthly Newsletter

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A Message from Chair Coursey

With the celebration of Earth Day this month and abundant wildflower splendor all over Sonoma County, spring officially is in full swing. To celebrate our planet, we have provided a handful of tools and resources that residents can use to help reduce their carbon footprint. Read our “Climate Action Made Local” section in this newsletter for more information. Click here to read about ways the county is supporting climate action and resiliency year-round.

At the Board of Supervisors, April also marks the start of the budget season. This week, the Board has begun hearing presentations from county departments reporting on their spending plans for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Also known as budget workshops, the series of meetings provide insights that will shape final budget determinations in June. In the section below, we have included information on attending the budget workshops virtually or in person. 

This month, the Board also has worked on a number of other important issues. We adopted changes to the camping ordinance, which will work as an essential tool in connecting unhoused residents to resources and maintaining greenways accessible to the entire community. At the Board, we also approved funding to expand mental health services in schools, ended the emergency drought declaration and welcomed a new department leader. Read on to learn more about these county updates as well as community events and resources. As always, I am grateful for your engagement and look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments and feedback. 

Chris Coursey


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Updates from the Board of Supervisors

Sonoma County Approves Ordinance

Restricting Camping on Public Property

The Board of Supervisors this month approved an amended ordinance limiting camping in public spaces including during daytime hours. The amendments bring Sonoma County’s existing camping ordinance into compliance with recent legal decisions concerning overnight camping while still providing the county options to discourage permanent housing encampments, prevent garbage buildup and address public health issues.

“This ordinance is just one of the many things we are doing to address homelessness in Sonoma County,” said Supervisor Coursey. “We recognize the fundamental right to have a place to sleep if you have nowhere else to go. At the same time, we need to balance the needs of the unhoused with the health and safety concerns that these prolonged, unsanctioned encampments create for unhoused individuals and their impacts on the wider community.”

The adopted amendments prohibit camping on public property daily between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. They also prohibit camping on or near certain types of properties that are particularly sensitive or inconsistent with such a use.

Learn More

County Budget Workshops Started Tuesday, April 25

The Board of Supervisors is holding its annual budget workshops on April 25, 26 and 27 to provide residents an opportunity to learn about the preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year and provide input on the spending plan before the Board adopts a final 2023-2024 fiscal year budget in June.

“The budget workshops are designed to provide the board and public the information required to make final budget determinations in June,” said Supervisor Coursey. “Public participation in the process is critical to shaping how local government spends public funds.”

Residents may comment on the county’s $2.1 billion budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday and at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday either in person or via Zoom. Final determinations will take place at the budget hearings beginning on June 14, when the public again will have an opportunity to weigh in.  

Learn More

Board of Supervisors Approve Plan that will

Expand Mental Health Services in Schools

This week the Board of Supervisors approved key elements of a plan to invest more than $6 million over three years in expanding behavioral health services to youth and in schools.

With funds from the voter-approved Measure O sales tax, the Board committed resources to a new partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education. The new partnership will create four mental health teams to serve local schools, which will also have direct access to county behavioral health staff in order to expedite referrals. School staff will be offered training to identify students who may be experiencing behavioral health symptoms.

“After years of school disruptions for wildfires and the isolation of the pandemic, students in Sonoma County report feeling stress and anxiety with nowhere to go for mental health help,” said Supervisor Coursey. “Thanks to Measure O, we are able to provide mental health services directly to the students who have the most need.”

The county devoted $4.2 million over three years on behavioral health school partnership, and an additional $2.4 million in Measure O funds is expected to fund programs for youth experiencing substance use disorder.

View Complete Measure O Spending Report

Supervisors End Drought Emergency,

Urge Public to Continue Water-Saving Habits

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to end the local drought emergency, which the county declared two years ago. County leaders strongly encouraged the public to continue conserving water, with the region’s weather patterns becoming increasingly volatile as a result of climate change.

Following a series of wet winter storms that dropped nearly 3 feet of rain on Santa Rosa in three months, the two main reservoirs that supply Sonoma County exceeded their normal storage capacity for the first time since 2019.

“We’ve made it through the driest three-year period ever recorded in California,” said Supervisor Coursey. “But this is no time to go back to old habits. We don’t know when the next drought will arrive. If everyone does their part to conserve now, we will have more water available in the future for the entire community to share.”

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News from County Departments

Sonoma County Regional Parks Announces

Reopening of Joe Rodota Trail for Public Use

As of Friday, April 21, 2023, the Joe Rodota Trail has reopened for public use, following its closure from Wright Road to Roberts Avenue. The Department thanks the public for their patience as staff worked on restoring the health and safety of the trail. 

Community Development Commission Welcomes Michelle Whitman as New Director

Michelle Whitman, former executive director for the Renewal Enterprise District, has been selected to lead the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, which administers a range of programs designed to assist low- to moderate-income homeowners and tenants and to encourage community and commercial revitalization. The appointment by County Administrator Christina Rivera was approved by the Board of Supervisors on April 18.

As executive director of Renewal Enterprise District, Whitman earned a reputation for innovation and collaboration that resulted in more $100 million in investments that could provide an estimated 1,597 units of local housing. She returns to Sonoma County government where she previously served for eight years as district director for Sonoma County’s Third District.

"I look forward to joining the agency team in addressing our housing crisis and ensuring that every member of our community has access to safe, equitable, affordable housing,” said Whitman.

Read Full Press Release
Learn More about The CDC

Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach Releases First Audit

The Sonoma County Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach this month released an audit of a Sheriff’s Office complaint, the first such report to be made public under a new state law for cases involving the use of force against a person by a law enforcement officer that resulted in death or great bodily injury.

“Historically, state law made reports like these confidential, and entirely prohibited release of these reports to the public,” said John Alden, IOLERO director. “Recently, through Senate Bill 1421, the state Legislature created an exception for an incident like this involving great bodily injury. At IOLERO, we are grateful that the state has finally allowed us to make reports like these public, and we will be releasing more reports like these in future.”

Learn More

Climate Action Made Local

Sonoma County Green Business Program

Offers $500 to $1,000 Rebates

The Sonoma County Green Business Program is part of the statewide California Green Business Network, whose mission is to assist businesses to operate sustainably as well as profitably.

Green Businesses receive free technical assistance, access to rebates, public promotions, and are seen as leaders in their community. Currently, 51 Sonoma County Green Businesses are listed in the California Green Business Directory, use the Green Business logo in marketing materials, and benefit from ongoing marketing and social media campaigns. Program support and marketing materials are available in both English and Spanish.

The Sonoma County Green Business Program currently has rebates of up to $500 that can be used for costs associated with any measure on the Green Business certification checklist. In addition, business owners who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color can receive another $500, for a total of $1,000.

Learn More and Get Certified

Spring Energy and Resiliency Workshop Series

The County of Sonoma’s Climate Action and Resiliency Division is pleased to announce the latest homeowner workshops for those interested in learning more about making improvements that will help make your home more energy efficient and resilient. 

The online workshops cover a range of topics including evaluating energy use, wildfire safety improvements, funding your projects, solar photovoltaics and innovative water reuse.

The series also includes one in-person induction cooking expo on May 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chef Rachelle Boucher, founder of Kitchens to Life, will be conducting hands-on, kid-friendly cooking demonstrations.

Learn more about this and all of the other free public workshops by clicking on the links below:

For more information or to RSVP directly, call (707) 565-6470 or email [email protected] .

Sonoma County Finances Home Resiliency

The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program gives commercial and residential property owners access to funding to make durable resilience improvements on their property and repay the funds over 10 or 20 years through a voluntary assessment.

During 2022, the program funded 119 residential assessments for a total of $4.89 million and five commercial assessments totaling $1.07 million. The 119 residential assessments funded 241 improvements in five categories of authorized improvements (see chart). Sonoma County is safer and more resilient because of the 71 wildfire safety improvements funded last year: roofs, gutters and gutter guards, venting, decks, siding, windows, and doors. Interest in funding wildfire safety improvements continues to grow. There were 90 energy efficiency improvements, including 19 battery storage systems, along with 77 solar projects, a rainwater cistern, a graywater system, and an earthquake retrofit.

Learn More and Participate

Celebrate the Earth, Recycle Your Mattress!

To celebrate Earth Day, ByeByeMattress offers an easy opportunity to love our planet, by diverting waste from landfills through their mattress recycling program. 

More than 75% of a mattress can be recycled. The steel, foam, fibers and wood are turned into everyday products like carpet padding, industrial filters, construction rebar and garden mulch.

Whenever possible, the ByeByeMattress program leverages infrastructure from foam, spring and futon mattresses as well as box springs. Learn more by visiting ByeByeMattress.com.

Learn More

Opportunities for Engagement

Your Call to Service

The Office of Supervisor Chris Coursey is searching for engaged District 3 residents to join a number of Boards and Commissions. See a list of vacancies for District 3 positions below and click here to see a list of vacancies for the entire county.

  •  Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council: The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) provides leadership, services and advocacy to promote the dignity, independence and quality of life for older adults, adults with disabilities and their caregivers. The Advisory makes recommendations regarding issues and concerns affecting this population. Apply.
  • Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation Board : The Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation raises funds, fosters partnerships and advocates on behalf of Sonoma County Regional Parks. The Foundation Board sets policy, guides the operation and planning activities, raises funds and oversees financial transactions of the Foundation. The Board also cooperates the Parks Department and helps promote Department mission and goals. Apply.
  • Flood Control Advisory Committee – 1a Laguna-Mark West Watershed Zone 1A: Flood Control Zone 1A Advisory Committee members meet to discuss stormwater management and flood control issues and provide recommendations on annual budgets involving expenditures related to flood protection, stream maintenance, and stormwater management. Apply
See All Vacancies & Apply

Plan to Address Changes in Older Adult Population, Seeks Steering Committee Members

The County of Sonoma is seeking applicants to serve on a new committee that will shape its response to a major population shift that has dramatically expanded the number of older adults in the county.

The steering committee will provide input on the development of a local Strategic Aging Plan, which will align with the state’s 2021 Master Plan on Aging. The local plan will reflect the county’s unique needs and priorities based on the five goals established by the state: Housing for all Ages & Stages, Health Reimagined, Inclusion & Equity, Caregiving that Works, and Affording Aging.

The steering committee that will meet monthly with a consultant over the next 10 months to provide guidance during the creation of a local Strategic Plan on Aging. Applications are due by April 21. 

Learn More and Apply

Community Announcements & Resources

Up to $80,000 in Grants to Cover Late Property Taxes Available to Eligible Sonoma County Homeowners

The Sonoma County Treasurer-Tax Collector is notifying homeowners that the California Mortgage Relief Program has raised the limit for assistance with delinquent property taxes from $20,000 to a maximum of $80,000 per household. 

“Many Californians are still feeling the impact of the financial hardships they endured throughout the pandemic,” said Erick Roeser, Sonoma County Treasurer-Tax Collector. “By increasing the cap on property tax assistance, the program is continuing to act as a safety net for homeowners. Those who believe they may now be eligible should re-apply.”

The assistance provided through the California Mortgage Relief Program is in the form of grants to eligible households, which do not need to be paid back. While there is no strict deadline for applications, homeowners in need should apply as soon as possible at CaMortgageRelief.org.

Learn More

$5,000 Grants Available for Independent Restaurants

Restaurants Care is proud to partner with SoCalGas, PG&E and SDG&E to offer resilience grants to independent restaurants at the heart of California communities. The $5,000 grants can be used for kitchen equipment, technology upgrades, employee training, bonuses and to address unforeseen hardships. Restaurants located in California with less $3 million in annual revenue and with less than 5 units are eligible.

Applications are now open and close on May 7, 2023. 

Learn More

Goodwill Redwood Empire Announces

Free Good4Youth Skills Program

Goodwill Redwood Empire is proud to announce that Cohort 3 of their Good4Youth Program will begin in late May. This program is offered at no cost to youth aged 15-20 who are interested in joining the workforce.


Good4Youth is a 5-week program that prepares learners with the necessary skills to enter the workforce. This program is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm-5pm and gives learners the chance to gain skills in career exploration, resume building, acing an interview, employer expectations, interpersonal skills, and social media etiquette.


Upon course completion, learners will receive a Work Readiness for Youth certification and the opportunity to participate in a 3-month paid internship at Goodwill.

More Information

Goodwill Redwood Empire Partners with META and Cousera, Offers Social Media Marketing Training

Goodwill Redwood Empire is offering the opportunity to participate in the the fifth cohort of their Social Media Marketing Program starting in June. This professional certification program helps learners build skills to advance their career and is offered at no cost.


This 20-week program is a self-paced course on the Coursera platform, with hands-on, project-based training in social media marketing. It is a fully virtual course with a 2-hour study session on Zoom every Wednesday evening. Upon completion of the course, learners have the opportunity to test for an industry-recognized professional certificate, that can be used to apply for entry-level social media marketing roles. 

More Information

Aid for Businesses Impacted by Storm 

Businesses impacted by the winter storms that started Dec. 27 may be eligible for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

The EIDL program offers low-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits that cannot meet their normal financial obligations as a result of a disaster, providing a source of working capital to help small businesses survive until they can resume normal operations. The White House recently updated its presidential disaster declaration to include Sonoma County, making local businesses eligible to apply for the loans.


The deadline to apply is Oct. 16. Applications and additional information about disaster assistance is available at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. For local assistance, contact the Sonoma County Economic Development Board at [email protected] or 707-565-7170.

Children’s Day at the Library

Celebrate the diversity of our community with your kids by attending a free book- or zine-making event at the library in honor of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day).

Día de los niños is a celebration of children, families and reading that takes place every year in April. Libraries across the United States celebrate Día de los niños, emphasizing the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

During the last week in April, every Sonoma County Library branch will provide materials for children (grades K-6) to make their own book using drawings, collage and photos at Mi Libro (My Book) events. The library also invites teens (grades 7-12) to create their own zine at a Mini Zine Workshop. On April 30, every library branch will offer children a choice from a limited selection of free children’s books to take home and keep on a first-come, first-served basis.

Check out the Mi Libro event schedule and Mini Zine Workshop schedule to learn more and register!



Hosted by the Board of Supervisors and the

Department of Health Services

May 2 from 9 am - 3 pm at the Finley Community Center - 2060 West College Ave, Santa Rosa

The Sonoma County Department of Health Services, the Board of Supervisors, and service providers across the county invite residents to join us for a community conversation on mental health and the corresponding systems of care including crisis services, suicide prevention, substance use disorder treatment services, workforce development, and more.

This forum will include panels and breakout sessions. This free event is open to the public and includes a light breakfast and boxed lunch. Space for in-person attendance is limited and registration is required. We encourage attendance from members of the mental health and substance use disorder services system of care in Sonoma County and those who are concerned or interested in these topics.

This event will also be live streamed via Zoom for those unable to attend in person.


2023 Zero Waste Symposium

May 11th, 2023, 8am-5pm, happy hour to follow!

Somo Village, 1100 Valley House Dr, Rohnert Park, CA 94928

The Zero Waste Symposium engages community stakeholders by showcasing zero waste policies, programs and infrastructure that design waste out of the system wherever possible and divert discarded materials through composting, reclaiming, reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Zero Waste North Bay is a group of environmentally minded community stakeholders and includes government, businesses, non-profits and individuals collaborating to move our community closer to achieving zero waste. Organizations involved include Zero Waste Sonoma, Recology Sonoma Marin, Sonoma County Resource Recovery, AB 939 Local Task Force, and more.

Learn More

Public Health Information

Sonoma County Health Officer Provides

Final COVID Community Update

Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase today provided her final COVID-19 community update before stepping down at the end of this week after three years in her post. Her recorded message includes the latest numbers on COVID cases and vaccinations in Sonoma County and includes lessons learned during the past three years of the pandemic.

The update, which was recorded this month and can be seen on the county’s Facebook and YouTube page, as well as on SoCoEmergency.org.

Read Press Release

Dr. Kismet Baldwin-Santana Appointed

Sonoma County’s interim Health Officer

Dr. Kismet Baldwin-Santana, an experienced public health official who helped lead Sonoma County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been named interim health officer by the director of the Department of Health Services. A pediatrics specialist with a master’s degree in public health, Dr. Baldwin-Santana has served as Sonoma County’s deputy public health officer since July 2020.

Department of Health Services Director Tina Rivera said Dr. Baldwin-Santana’s experience and knowledge of Sonoma County’s health care system make her an ideal choice to step into the interim role.

“Kismet has been an excellent leader during the pandemic, forging valuable relationships within the local health care community,” Rivera said. “She has intimate knowledge of the department as the deputy public health officer, and she was the natural choice to take on the interim health officer role.”

Learn More

Public Encouraged to Report Test Results

We are encouraging the public to report their at-home antigen test result. It is confidential. Simply complete this online form. Once the form is submitted, those with positive results will receive links to isolation and quarantine guidelines and available resources.

Supervisor Coursey