Contributed by a concerned downtownSebastopol citizen
I’d like to circulate some basic information.
- Martin v. Boise, the 9th district court ruling around transients and shelter, only requires that transients be offered alternative shelter. If Council says they are supporting this transient parking proposal because it’s required by law, that is not true. They are supporting it because they want to and they want to bring in more transients into Sebastopol.
- Transients can and do refuse shelter. We saw this during the Laguna encampment sweep and it’s well documented in countless other examples across Sonoma County. There is absolutely zero guarantee that Sebastopol’s illegal RV campers will move where there are rules if Council pushes through the SAVS proposal.
- Sebastopol already has RV parking and Safe Parking at Park Village and the Community Church on Gravenstein Highway. Last December Sebastopol gave up it’s only downtown hotel, the Sebastopol Inn, and all of the revenue it brought to the City because the County converted it to a 31 room hotel for homeless housing. Sebastopol has more transient housing than Rohnert Park. If Council says we need more transient housing, it’s because they want more transients. We actually have more transient housing and programs than cities that are 6 times our size.
- Sebastopol is a town of 7500 with a budget less than $10,000,000 with failing roads and sidewalks and severely underfunded infrastructure. Public works can’t keep up with the transient population we currently have. Recently transients cut the main water line at the Community Cultural Center. The repairs for that will come out of the City budget. Since the Sebastopol Inn conversion, we not only lost revenue but increased costs for transients including a $72K per year outreach coordinator, an encampment sweep of the Laguna, services on Morris Street and increased public works time.
- The most cost effective way to clean up Morris Street and prevent future RV encampments around Ives’ Park, Palm Avenue, 116, and in neighborhoods is to institute RV permit parking. An effective and smart Council would have implemented RV permit parking after conversion of the Sebastopol Inn.
- Sonoma Applied Villages Services (SAVS) is a transient advocacy group and non-profit. Their mission and purpose is to advocate for and get resources for transients. They lobby government for money, space and resources for their constituents. And look they are doing a great job, they got a contract for $300,000 plus. They’re in talks with the City of Sebastopol’s City Council and are poised to have free access to a prime piece of land next to a Laguna trail heads, a cultural center, a Youth Park, bike lanes, park trails, right in downtown Sebastopol. What great digs for their transient clients. And they might even be able to get the City of Sebastopol to fill in their funding gap. All that is great work on behalf of SAVS transient constituents.
- It’s not great work on behalf of Sebastopol’s small businesses, Sebastopl’s children, Sebastopol’s non-profits. Adrienne Lauby, SAVS director, is not responsible for balancing our budget or making sure there is enough money for new equipment for our fire department or making sure our public works department has enough staff. Council is responsible for that. Council is supposed to advocate for small businesses, for our children,for our non-profits. Council is responsible for balancing the budget, supporting local businesses who have been through fire, flood and pandemic, encouraging new businesses by making our town appealing in this increasingly and incredibly competitive market place. If this proposal passes, Council is working FOR SAVS, not for Sebastopol.
- In an August 24 Instagram post, Adrienne Lauby praised Council as they have “done so much to help the residents (meaning transients) of Morris Street”. Of course, Council must have loved this, getting an instragram shout out from their hero, Adrienne Lauby who they awarded a coveted 2021 spot on the Sebastopol peace wall. With Council’s clear preference for Lauby, one wonders if this would be considered an “arms length” transaction or if Lauby has undue influence over Council.
- Adrienne Lauby has played Council like a fine tuned fiddle – providing resources for transients on Morris Street, giving Council praise shoutouts on Instagram, increasing transient numbers, making it so bad that this SAVS proposal looks like a godsend. It’s a classic tactic, making something so bad that any solution looks like a good solution. And guess what, SAVS just so happens to have the solution.
- If Council supports this project, it shows how good Adrienne Lauby is at her job and how bad Council is at their jobs. There is no reason – legal – or otherwise that Sebastopol should support this project. The only reason why it would be here is because Adrienee Lauby wants it here.