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Block Captain Mtg Notes – Dist. 4 (Coffey Park/Mark West/Larkfield -ish) – Gore

  • The fire-affected neighborhoods in Sonoma County’s District 4 » includes, but is not limited to, the Wikiup, Mark West, Larkfield, Knights Valley, Franz Valley, Coffey Park neighborhoods.
  • Supervisor Gore’s » team has kindly agreed to let me post the notes from their weekly block captain meetings.  Please forgive any errors from copying and pasting.  As a reminder, things change over time, and each home and neighborhood differ, so be sure to check with the appropriate agency for current information.  See Resources »  Rebuilding »  and Insurance » for some links.
  • Are you interested in becoming a block captain or connecting with a block captain in District 1, 3, or 4?  Visit  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/

 

9/12/2018 – Notes from Block Captains Meeting

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 2:44 PM
Subject: 12 Sept block captains meeting after action
To: district4 <district4@sonoma-county.org>

Good afternoon,

Here are some updates from this morning’s block captains meeting.

Wine Country Harvest Fair Community Rebuilding Event

The Mark West Chamber is organizing the Wine Country Harvest Fair Community Rebuilding Event on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 4-7 p.m. at the Luther Burbank Center. Free admission gets you door prizes, access to a silent auction, food and beverage samples, fun and games for kids and a slew of tables staffed by organizations related to fire recovery and rebuild. There is a table set aside for block captains who would like to share their knowledge. Anyone interested, please contact me.

Unmet Housing Needs Survey

Rebuild North Bay Foundation is looking to get as many folks as possible to respond to this survey on housing needs. Please distribute far and wide.

English:   Northbay Workforce Housing Needs Survey – English

Spanish:  Northbay Workforce Housing Needs Survey – Español

Free insurance clinic

A free insurance clinic will be held at Legal Aid of Sonoma County on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. Legal Aid is located at 144 South E Street in Santa Rosa.

Day of Caring at Mark West Preschool rebuild event

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the County of Sonoma and the City of Santa Rosa will join together to hold the annual Day of Caring event. On this day of service, County and City employees are reassigned to work on a variety of projects for deserving clients including Mark West Community Preschool. Endorsed by the Board of Supervisors, and in partnership with the City of Santa Rosa, the school is inviting you to join community leaders and sponsors in kicking off the rebuild with this event. Mark West Community Preschool will be a model of early childhood education for the new millennium. Bigger, stronger, eco-friendly and disaster-resistant, this building will be a truly modern community landmark.

  • We welcome community support and sponsorship
  • Coppola Winery is providing lunch for the 10 county employees prepared by Chef Bodell
  • Supervisor Gore from Santa Rosa District 4 will kick off the morning.
  • EcoSteel is helping to sponsor the disaster resistant, eco friendly building
  • Anyone interested in volunteering on this effort please let me know.

Renee from Mark West Preschool is also interested in setting up a website for the Larkfield/Mark West/North County area offering resources and an opportunity to share information. Email renee@communitypreschools.com with materials that you’d like to have shared.

Grant for Mark West

Rick Hall pointed out that an $18,400 grant from the Cal Am franchise fee was towards Mark West area from the Mark West Citizens Advisory Committee. The funds are intended to go towards cleaning up the riparian corridors and common areas of burned material.

Alert and warning

On the topic of the recent alert and warning system tests, Scott Newman brought up concerns about the cell signal shadow in Franz and Knights Valleys that could play havoc with any tests relying on cell signal coverage. The Office of Recovery and Resiliency will be asked to consider this issue in its framework after it is presented before the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 25.

Erosion control

Barry Hirsch pointed out that there are ongoing rebuild efforts occurring without wattles and other best management practices for erosion control in place that could impact Mark West Creek. Patrick Mullin from Permit Sonoma clarified that the deadline to have them in place at build sites is Oct. 10.

Anniversary Events

Wildfire Anniversary Event: Community Healing Together

  • Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Shiloh Ranch Regional Park
  • 5750 Faught Road, Windsor, CA 95403
  • https://parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/Play/Calendar/Wildfire-Anniversary-Event/
  • As we approach the one-year anniversary of the wildfires, we invite you to surround yourself with artistic expression focused on community well-being and connections. This all-ages event will feature art activities, musical performances, guided hikes, and food. Free. Reflect on the past year while witnessing the recovering landscape of Shiloh Ranch Regional Park.
  • Activities include:
    • 11-11:30 a.m. – Opening ceremony under the oaks
    • 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Family art activities, face painting and crafts, phoenix mural
    • 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.  – Gratitude mural
    • 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Food truck
    • 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Music under the oaks
    • 11:30 a.m. – noon – Dancers/drummers
    • 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Drop-in crisis counselors available
    • 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – “Laughter as Medicine” workshop for families
    • Noon to 1 p.m. – Fire ecology hike
    • 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. – Nature photography walk
    • 12:30 – 1:15 p.m. – “Super Power Kids” workshop
    • 1 – 2 p.m. – Meditation walk
    • 1:45-2 p.m. – Closing circle under the oaks, poetry reading, and the Elsie Allen High School drumline

Partners include the California HOPE Project, Child Parent Institute, Community Soils, Raizes Collective, Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, Sonoma County Regional Parks, and Windsor Parks and Recreation.

Prayer Service at Cardinal Newman

There will be a prayer service on Sunday, Oct. 7 at Cardinal Newman on the football field from 2 – 3 p.m.

Larkfield Estates block party

A celebration of the rebuild will be taking place on Oct. 8 from 5 – 10 p.m. with live music and potluck on Oxford Court.

Heroes of October

“The Heroes of October” observance sponsored by  Amaturo Sonoma Media Group will present a music, food and an afternoon of recognition at Santa Rosa’s Courthouse Square from noon – 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30, followed the next day by a “Heroes of October” fundraising golf scramble at Oakmont Golf Club east of Santa Rosa.

All dollars raised will do directly to The Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund, providing ongoing fire relief. Generous donations and underwriting for Heroes of October are being contributed from Ghilotti Construction, Exchange Bank, Noreen Evans of Mauro Archer Associates and Teamsters Local 665.

https://www.heroesofoctober.com/

Courthouse Square event

There will be an event in Santa Rosa at Courthouse Square on Monday, Oct. 8 from 4 – 8 p.m. and on Tuesday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. I’ll share more on this as the details are released. It’s planned to be a solemn, respectful event with art and poetry.

Upcoming

The next block captains meeting will take place at Sonoma Water at 404 Aviation Blvd at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 19.

Best regards,

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


 

9/5/2018 – Resiliency Network Summit Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m.

 

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 9:57 AM
Subject: Resiliency Network Summit Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m.
To: district4 <district4@sonoma-county.org>
Good morning –

We’ve identified the next date for a North County Resiliency meeting: September 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Healdsburg Community Meeting Room, located at 1557 Healdsburg Avenue. This is a different room from where we last met, but on the same Foss Creek Community Center campus. The meeting room will be signposted.

If anyone has agenda items they’d like to either present or consider for discussion, please email me.

We’ll have a presentation from Fire Safe Sonoma, which, as a nonprofit with a mission to promote fire safety and protect natural and man-made resources in Sonoma County through education, information exchange, resource sharing and community cooperation. As such, it is well positioned to potentially act as a nonprofit partner for the emerging network of COPE organizations in Sonoma County.

I’ll also be inviting representatives from the District 5 and the West County and looping in the Sheriff’s Office as well as our usual invitees from fire departments throughout the area.

Pending any other agenda items sent to me before Sept. 18, I’ll send out an agenda at that time.

Best regards,

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


 

8/29/2018 – Notes from Block Captains Meeting

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 5:00 PM
Subject: Aug. 29 Block captains meeting after action.
To: district4 <district4@sonoma-county.org>

Good afternoon —

Wednesday’s block captains meeting took place the the ROC Sonoma County Resource Center. Thank you to the ROC Sonoma County team for their hospitality. There will be an open house for anyone interested in seeing the resource center on Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone number for the resource center is 707-535-3349

United Way Sonoma County Wildfire Recovery & Resilience Neighborhood Grants Program deadline

The United Way grant application deadline is Sept. 28. Anyone still working on an application should be sure to submit those before the due date. Contact me if you need more information on the grant program.

Price gouging and the District Attorney’s Office

Mark Azzouni, an investigator with the DA’s office, came and spoke about the efforts of that office to combat price gouging since last October.

Azzouni said that he had been investigating price gouging complaints – ranging from a store in Healdsburg selling water at three times the normal rate, to gas stations charging double the price of gas. There were a lot of complaints coming from social media. Some of those were fake or photoshopped, he said.

Chapter 396 of the California Penal Code had been activated when the Governor issued his disaster declaration after the fires, Azzouni said. It has been extended to remain in effect until Dec. 4, 2018. This included freezing the rents that could be charged for current or future tenants of specific properties.

Benchmarks for prices are property specific. The DA’s office received over 300 complaints for housing price gouging, which is a misdemeanor that can be expunged after one year. If found guilty, landlords can go to court, rewrite the lease, refund the money and be put on probation for a year. After a year, they go back into court, then the judge will usually have the case dismissed, he said.

Another function of the DA’s office investigators are contractor sweeps – investigators drive around and look for job sites, looking for contractors not offering workers’ compensation or those who are unlicensed. Price gouging is more difficult to investigate with contractors because the investigator has to be able to show that contractor would have charged less for a specific house pre-fire and is now charging more than 10 percent above that post fire. It can be difficult to prove as the cost of building the house pre-fire has to be considered, as well as labor prices, materials and so on.

The question came up: what if you were to enter a rebuilding deal with a contractor and then they raise the price from $250/sq ft to $300/sq ft halfway through the process? As long as he can show that his costs went up then that’s not a crime, Azzouni said.

Something that contractors cannot do is charge upfront in excess of $1,000 or 10%. This is something that should be brought to the attention of the Contractors State License Board. They can handle crimes administratively within their organization and suspend contractors’ licenses.

Licensed contractors must display a contractors license number. Jobs that cost less than $500, do not require a licensed contractor, otherwise they have to have a license.

For more information or to report suspected price gouging contact the DA’s office at http://da.sonoma-county.org/ or by calling (707) 565-2311.

The Contractors State License Board disaster hotline is 800-962-1125.

United Policyholders update

United Policyholders is set to hold a Roadmap to Recovery workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 6pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 547 Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa.

They’ll be covering deadlines and decisions at the one year anniversary and California law related to insurance claims, benefits and resolving disputes. They will also be providing a sample, customizable letter to help fire survivors confirm extensions of deadlines and preserve their rights.

They ask that you take part in their 10-12 Month Recovery Survey. The purpose is to continue to track progress and problems and gather information about insurance and recovery.

Your voice matters. www.uphelp.org/survey

Citizen Advisory Committee discussion

Block captain Will Abrams began a presentation and discussion on the formation of a Citizens Advisory Committee, still in the brainstorming phase and the topic sparked some good conversation. We ran out of time and tabled the discussion to continue again on Sept. 5, this time back at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd, Redwood B/C.

At that meeting, members of the County’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency will be in attendance to participate in that discussion of how a citizen group could collaborate and partner with their recovery framework that will be presented before the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 25.

Best regards,

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


8/27/2018 – New location for block captains meeting this week, August 29

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 2:59 PM
Subject: New location for block captains meeting this week, August 29.
To: district4 <district4@sonoma-county.org>

Good afternoon –

Just a note to confirm that the block captains meeting this week will be held at the ROC Sonoma County Resource Center, 141 Stony Circle, Suite 204. The meeting will begin promptly at 7:30 a.m.

District Attorney Investigator Mark Azzouni will speak on the issue of price gouging and then block captain Will Abrams will present on establishing a Citizen Advisory Committee, an entity that Supervisor Gore envisions will be the next evolutionary stage of the block captains network.

Best regards,

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


8/15/2018 – Materials from Saturday’s North County Resiliency Network meeting

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 4:30 PM
Subject: Materials from Saturday’s North County Resiliency Network meeting
To: district4 <district4@sonoma-county.org>
Good afternoon –

While I am still working to identify the date of the next meeting, I wanted to send out the materials shared at the last meeting.

Presentation from Resiliency mtg 8-11-18 »

Fitch Mountain COPE documents:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wm59h74mtluycyt/AADiP1oIYDGmP6q_BYVfbeJSa?dl=0

Best regards,

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


8/15/2018 – Notes from Block Captains Meeting

Caerleon Safford of the Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services Departmentwas the speaker at this morning’s block captains meeting. She presented some valuable information on hardened residences and defensible space – Creating Wildfire Adapted Homes and Landscapes Pamphlet ». She stressed that last year, in what was acknowledged to be a fringe case event, houses with all the right preventive measures burned, while others with no thought given to prevention were spared – so don’t feel judged. In most cases, however, there are a few measures we can take that significantly diminish the chance of our homes burning.

Caerleon covered the three elements that make homes burn:

  • Radiant heat – when a burning object nearby creates enough heat to cause nearby objects to combust
  • Direct flame contact – application of flames to objects
  • Embers – these can go just about anywhere and were a massive factor with the high winds last October

Supervisor Gore gave some updates on the ongoing efforts to alleviate pressure on fire survivors who live in the G-zone. The supervisor’s office is planning to hold a second public meeting on the issue, pending results of a County Administrator’s Office investigation into using an urgency ordinance to try to provide an exemption to folks trying to rebuild in the G-zone.

The question came up about a moratorium on vacation rentals in the burn zone. Supervisor Gore said that the issue was moving forward in the next month in a housing package from Permit Sonoma. The package will first go before the planning commission and details still need to be worked out.

United Policyholders is collecting information in their ongoing efforts to assist fire survivors. Survey here:
http://uphelp.org/northbayfires

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 22 at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd, Redwood B/C.

Best regards,

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


8/1/2018 – Notes from Workshop on Prescribed Fires

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 3:26 PM
Subject: Notes from workshop on prescribed fires, Aug 1

Good afternoon,

I was able to attend the morning session of yesterday’s workshop on prescribed fires in Cloverdale and came away with a lot of good information. Here’s a summary:

Supervisor Gore addressed the more than 50 gathered ranchers, researchers and fire officials, saying, “I see my role as government as trying not to stop you from doing good,” when it comes to range management.

“We need to have a relationship with fire if we’re going to be functional in this future,” he added.

Following the supervisor, researchers from UCCE Humboldt shared their experiences with burning.

Jeff Stackhouse went into great detail on rangeland burns, comparing the costs of clearing land mechanically, versus with herbicides, or through burning.

Clearing with an excavator can run as much as $975 per acre, he said, or by chainsaw, it could cost $487 per acre.

By comparison, clearing with the help of herbicides varies a lot by the chemicals and the types of plant life targeted for removal, but, that range went from as high as $130 per acre, down to $4.50 per acre.

Prescribed burning comes with a range of costs, too, according to Stackhouse. Though would-be burners could get equipped at the low cost of around $300 in one-time expenses, he said, at $135 for a drip torch, $145 for a backpack pump sprayer, a few dollars in gas, a lighter and 12-pack of beer. (That last one was in jest, but not 100%.)

Burning is cheaper in winter, when CAL Fire restrictions are less stringent, he said. Stackhouse referred to recent examples of prescribed burns in Humboldt County.

He cited a June burn when he’d hired a “burn boss” to design a “burn plan” and oversee the event at a combined cost of $2,000, he’d included $600 in stipends for three local volunteer firefighters and about $100 for air quality and other permits. For that 18-acre fire, the cost amounted to $150/acre.

As the acreage of the burn increases, many of these costs remain flat, so economies of scale can make a large difference. On Oct. 31, Stackhouse burned 140 acres with similar costs and the price went down to $12/acre, he said.

Later in the year still, that December, when CAL Fire requirements for a burn plan went away, he reported burning 20 acres at a cost of $5/acre – just for the cost of the permits from the air quality agency.

Stackhouse added that a good relationship with CAL Fire was key to the process. From initial request to greenlight for a prescribed burn can take as much as four or five months, or as little as two weeks, he said.

Lenya Quinn Davidson, also of UCCE Humboldt, presented some statistics on how the rate of prescribed burning has decreased over the past several decades.

In 1954, California ranchers burned in excess of 175,000 acres under permit. That number has steadily dwindled ever since.

Last year, 50,000 acres were burned with prescribed fires in the state, and 90 percent of that was conducted by the federal government.

CAL Fire’s Vegetation Management Program has sunk from burning 65,000 acres in 1984, to fewer than 5,000 acres in 2015.

Momentum is growing now to reverse these long-term trends. Director of CAL Fire Ken Pimlott’s guidance is for the state agency to get back up to a minimum of 20,000 acres annually in prescribed fires.

Quinn Davidson went over various avenues towards prescribed burning, such as CAL Fire’s Vegetation Management Program (VMP), private contractors, DIY or Prescribed Burning Associations (PBAs).

Costs and liability issues vary between the various options, but Quinn Davidson was enthusiastic about the PBA model, which she had investigated in Nebraska, where it is more common. There, groups of volunteers collaborate to accomplish thousands of prescribed burns each year, she said.

Quinn Davidson even brought the model back to Humboldt County to run as a pilot. The Humboldt PBA has 2,200 acres of burns scheduled and in order to get acreage on that list, you have to participate in other burns.

Tempering all of the enthusiasm for lighting fires, Ben Nichols from CAL Fire also addressed the group. Having been called out to fight prescribed burns that had gone awry, Nichols stressed the importance of proper planning and caution, especially on smaller lots.

Coming up on August 24, the conversations will continue with the seminar “Before Fire Strikes: How to Prepare Your Home & Create a Resilient Rural Landscape” from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Shone Farm. To register, please visit http://ucanr.edu/beforefirestrikes

Best regards,

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


7/11/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Wed, Jul 11, 2018 at 11:20 AM
Subject: Block captains meeting July 11 after action

Good morning,

We had a busy and productive block captains meeting this morning, with speakers from The United Way of the Wine Country as well as representatives of the consultant firm Horne LLP. The county just signed a contract with Horne to develop a needs assessment designed to maximize Sonoma County’s chances to receive grant funds from the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery to the tune of around $60 million.

Before I get there – other announcements:

Construction management concierge company Homebound is throwing a community meeting at the Rincon Valley Library, 6959 Montecito Blvd on July 16 from 5-7pm.

North County Resiliency Network Summit

Last week’s Resiliency Network Summit was held at the Healdsburg Fire station and brought in some 30 community members from throughout the north county concerned about preparedness and organization for disaster. We had fire chiefs and fire marshals from Windsor, Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale in attendance who all lended their expertise as we also heard from COPE groups established in Mill Creek, The Vineyard Club northeast of Geyserville and on Fitch Mountain – all areas that did not burn in October, but who have all heeded the warnings issued by groups such as our block captains to learn from the Tubbs Fire and be prepared. It was inspirational to hear from so many neighbors who are banding together with the common goal of readiness and I hope you can come to the next meeting planned for August 11. More details on that as they develop.

Office of Recovery and Resiliency meetings

The Office of Recovery and Resiliency held a workshop and public meeting last night at the Sonoma County Office of Education which was also well attended and a productive meeting. These meetings are enabling the Office of Recovery and Resiliency to develop its overarching strategy and it’s vital that they hear from fire survivors. If you want to have your voice heard, please consider attending one of the future meetings (there’s one tonight).

Here are the meetings still to come:

July 11, 6 – 8 pm, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St. Sebastopol
July 25, 6 – 8 pm, Petaluma Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd, Petaluma
August 2, 6 – 8 pm, Finley Center, 2060 W. College Ave, Santa Rosa
August 8, 6 – 8 pm, Veterans Building, 126 1st Street W, Sonoma

We’ll also be inviting the ORR to come to a block captain meeting in the near future to conduct another workshop to this end.

Anniversary of the fire

The County Administrator’s Office wants to know how you’d like to acknowledge the  anniversary of the fires. This could be in the form of a ceremony or plans for a lasting memorial. Some block captains outlined plans for a memorial they were considering in their own neighborhoods. What would you like to see? Please email me: stuart.tiffen@sonoma-county.org.

The United Way of the Wine Country neighborhood grants

Jennifer O’Donnell the interim CEO of United Way of the Wine Country outlined the $100K available to grant out for neighborhoods affected by the fire. Grant applications are due end of September.  See 2018 Neighborhood Grant Application »  The money is not meant for nonprofits, it’s for groups of households, a minimum of five households will have to band together. Projects have to be carried out in neighborhood where you lived. Preference will be given to lower income areas, but doesn’t mean you’ll be excluded if that is not the case. Each case will be reviewed by a committee with decisions announced at the end of October.

Supervisor Gore pointed out that if we end up with $200,000 in worthy applications, he would be willing to go out and try to fundraise to meet that need.

Horne LLP and the needs assessment

Horne LLP’s Anna Stroble attended the meeting along with two of her colleagues, Melanie Stewart and Holly Smith. They’re in town for a couple of days for the signing of the contract and to get a sense of the community, but they working here for some time.

This so-called “ground truth” is vital to the process of developing a needs assessment, Stroble said. “We can look at FEMA data all day,” but in the end they need to speak with fire survivors. The State of California stands to receive $200 million towards disaster recovery and this needs assessment will go a long way to ensuring that the County of Sonoma can put a lot of that to use right here in our burned areas.

Horne available to speak with fire survivors

Anna and her colleagues agreed to meet with fire survivors tomorrow, July 12 at the County Administration offices, 575 Administration Drive, Room 100A at 3 pm. Please let me know today if you would like to attend. Supervisor Gore emphasized that the stories and the needs of the fire survivors stand to be some of the most important data that these consultants can collect in our community.

The next meeting will be on July 18 from 7:30 – 8:30 am at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd in Redwood B/C

Best regards,

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


6/20/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 2:43 PM
Subject: June 20 block captains after action
To: district4 <district4@sonoma-county.org>

Good afternoon,

Silver tagged trees update

TPW evaluated trees along the 90 miles of roadways in the burn areas. Through this evaluation, 10,733 trees were tagged with metal tags. If these trees fail they will hit the roadway creating a hazard. 60 percent of the tagged trees are on public property, 40 percent of these trees are on private property. The tags are marked R for Remove or P for Prune, and also have unique numbers identifying the tree’s location. Through the evaluation, the trees were classified into three categories of risk: Moderate, High and Extreme.

  • There is not a way for an individual to tell what category the tree has been placed in based on the information on the tag

Recommended Actions:

For trees in the Moderate Category, TPW will monitor and evaluate them over the next 5 years. No immediate removal will be undertaken on private property. Some Moderate trees on public road right-of-way will be removed.

For trees in the High Category and Extreme Category, TPW is planning to begin removal after nesting season, in August/September.

  • TPW will notify neighbors when they are removing trees in the public right of way in their neighborhood.
  • If you have tagged High/Extreme trees on your property, TPW will send you a letter alerting your liability.
  • You will need to sign an ROE for TPW to go onto your property in order to remove the tree—they will not come on your property without your permission.
  • These trees on private property will be removed at the county’s expense.

TPW will do community outreach around this program and Supervisor Gorin’s office will update you on developments as they happen. TPW will be setting up a hotline, and they will provide contact information if you would like to contest a tree’s categorization.

TPW does not want to remove any more trees than they have to—their first concern is public safety. If a tree fails and damages property or injures someone the county (if on public property) or the property owner (if on private property) is liable for the damage.

We’re seeking advice from the Sheriff’s Office on preferred techniques and procedures for hanging game cameras or otherwise in the burn zone.

The speaker at this week’s meeting was lobbyist Patrick McCallum, whose Fountaingrove home burned down in October. McCallum was a higher education lobbyist prior to the fire but has been working this year in Sacramento on behalf of fire survivors. His group “Up From The Ashes” is funded by law firms bringing suits against PG&E. http://www.mccallumgroupinc.com/index.html

McCallum Group, Inc.
www.mccallumgroupinc.com
McCallum Group, Inc.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


6/13/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 4:30 PM
Subject: Block captains June 13 after action

Good afternoon –

Water

Margaret Digenova of California American Water attended this week’s meeting to provide some impromptu updates on the backflow prevention devices in their service area. The company had decided to allow below ground backflow devices in certain circumstances – for specific fire suppression systems and as long as in-ground pools were not connected to house plumbing, for instance. There was a question regarding Fire Marshal approval for the below ground backflow devices. After a request for information, Fire Marshal James Williams said, “We have no objection with the backflow devices being undergrounded. The key issue is that the proper calculations must be developed to ensure there is no negative impact to the residential fire sprinkler system.”

Questions about Cal Am’s backflow prevention device policies can be directed to service representatives at 916-568-4231 or by visiting the office at 4787 Old Redwood Highway between 8:30 am – noon and 1 pm – 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

Digenova also provided an update regarding water pressure in Wikiup where an expected increase in pressure to between 20 – 40 psi should manifest in the “next few days.” Pressure had been delayed in the area due to power problems.

Crime

Knights Valley reported that more petty thefts had been taking place, with tools being stolen from pickup trucks in the burn area.

Misty Harris of the Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that one deputy has been assigned to the Larkfield burn zone during periods when minimum staffing requirements are met for the rest of the county. However, she emphasized that this deputy would be the first to be reassigned if a priority call came down.

We’ll continue to work with the Sheriff’s Office to protect rebuild sites from predators.

Safety

Concerns were raised about dead trees still standing on some lots where the owners were out of contact. We’ve reached out to the county counsel’s office to see what our options are.

North Coast Builders Exchange

Keith Woods, CEO of the North Coast Builders Exchange, and Mike Behler of Behler Construction were the guest speakers at the meeting. Woods described some of the programs that the NCBE offers to contractors in its area of responsibility of Sonoma, Lake, Napa and Mendocino counties. One such program is the development of a pipeline to introduce local graduating high school seniors to the trades. Woods described the program as a two-week boot camp that would lead to these young people getting to work on rebuild as early as this summer. The program was paid for by a grant from the nonprofit Tipping Point and Woods said he hopes to grow that program throughout the North Bay counties in the years to come.

Woods also said that the organization holds a monthly meeting with the city and county along with contractors participating on the rebuild. There, they discuss issues that contractors are facing and work to streamline the rebuilding process.

A webinar is online with tips from building professionals: http://ncbeonline.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-hiring-a-contractor/

Mike Behler, whose company focuses on commercial construction, said that he isn’t in the home building business, which makes him an ideal resource for fire survivors looking for unbiased advice from someone who understands the industry. Behler said that he regularly works on construction contract review for fire survivors, as well as contract negotiation and working with insurance companies to give them more accurate rebuild cost figures.

One tip Behler provided – try to bundle projects for efficiency wherever possible.

Toilets, trailers, all the overhead gets cut by cooperating with neighbors, he said.

Here are some handouts that Mike Behler brought to the meeting on Hiring Building Contractors and 25 Questions to Ask an Architect. [Also see these rebuilding links]

Next week’s block captains meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 20 at 7:30 a.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd., Redwood B/C. The guest speaker is scheduled to be lobbyist and fire survivor Patrick McCallum with an update on bills of import to fire survivors.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


6/6/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 4:13 PM
Subject: June 6 block captains after action

Good afternoon,

Supervisor’s update

At this week’s block captains meeting, Supervisor Gore polled the group for ideas that could direct the future of the group. The supervisor told the block captains that his watchwords had become “Don’t forget” and “Never forget.” Don’t forget about us – we’re still climbing back from October, 2017 and we have a long way to go. And never forget – learn from our experiences.

With debris clearing largely completed, the focus of the group is moving to other important needs for fire survivors.

Needs identified so far included helping fire survivors with insurance companies, reconciling gap funding with SBA loans and other supplemental financing resources, loans for building, determining what renters’ needs are in post-fire Sonoma County, code discrepancies such as with the seismic zone, water use reductions, federal and state actions and funding legislation and more.

Supervisor Gore asked for input from the group on other needs that are challenging fire survivors. He suggested the group begin thinking about establishing subcommittees to tackle specific issues, such as communications and information sharing, disaster planning organization, early warning, financing and others.

He said he wants to get the block captains more integrated into the recovery and building resiliency in the county.

“There are too many conversations happening and decisions being made without a fire survivor at the table,” he said.

The idea was also floated about having a lobbying day in Sacramento early in 2019, by bussing fire survivors to meet with legislators and make personalized efforts to promote bills that would help fire survivors.

Mark West Estates solar

The neighborhood of Mark West Estates has entered into a collective purchase of solar panels from Northern Pacific Power Systems, a Santa Rosa-based solar company. So far they have ordered at least one train car full of panels, reducing the overall price, but they want to spread the word and see if other fire survivors want to get in on the deal. Interested parties can contact Rob Richner: mwefire100917@gmail.com

Security update

The Sheriff’s Office is working on plans to increase patrols for the burn zone in the wake of several thefts in the past weeks. Details are sketchy as the plans are still in early phases and funding still needs to be identified to execute. We’ll share more as the information comes together.

Wikiup Commons public meeting

A community meeting is coming up on June 14 at San Miguel Elementary School from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. The Banke-Jackson family, who bought the land that was formerly the Wikiup Golf Course in 2015, is looking to gather community input on the future development of the land in the post-fire environment.

Crisis Counselors – California HOPE Sonoma

Camille Rodrigues and Stephanie Manieri from Council on Aging told the group about the free counseling services on offer for anyone affected by the fires. These are free and confidential counseling sessions at the time and location of your choice. For more information or to make an appointment call: 707-608-8807 if you’re in North County, 707-608-8825 en Español, 707-608-8804 for adults aged 50+.

PG&E

Concerns were brought up that PG&E was seeing delays in connecting rebuilt homes to power. In checking with PG&E, here are their recommendations:

Currently the time to connect is three weeks assuming the customer has a temporary power permit from the county and passes all inspections in a timely manner. Ensure that you check the box on the application that says “impacted by the wildfires” since PG&E is tracking those applications separately and expediting service.

The PG&E flier on the subject is attached to this email.

Next week

Next week’s block captain meeting will be held at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Boulevard, from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Guests speakers will be Keith Woods CEO of the North Coast Builders Exchange and Mike Behler of Behler Construction.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


5/30/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Wed, May 30, 2018 at 3:22 PM
Subject: May 30 Block Captains after action

Good afternoon –

We had more of a free-flowing meeting this morning and the discussion covered much ground, with special attention paid to the topics of insurance and the SBA loans.

On the topic of insurance, SB 897 is up for its third reading today, May 30, and will be voted on before the end of the week.

SB 897 would specify that additional living expense coverage include all reasonable expenses incurred by the insured in order to maintain a comparable standard of living and would provide a list of expenses covered. It would require, for losses related to a declared state of emergency, that the insurer provide an advance payment for living expenses and an advance payment for contents, the insurer to accept an inventory of contents in any reasonable form permit the grouping of certain items in an inventory of contents, and offer a payment of no less than 80% of the policy limit for contents without an itemized claim.

This bill would require an insurer to offer a 30-day grace period, as specified, for payments of premiums for policies on property located within a declared state of emergency for a period of 30 days after the declaration of the emergency.

Some at the meeting asked for the contact information for State Senator Ricardo Lara, who is running for Insurance Commissioner. His office in Sacramento is at (916) 651-4033.

Regarding SBA loans, it came as a surprise to some in the room when just about every person attending acknowledged that they had been turned down for the SBA loans for which they had applied. Congressman Jared Huffman’s staffer Blake Hooper issued a plea for anyone who has run into issues with the SBA loans to contact him for assistance. Email Blake at blake.hooper@mail.house.gov.

Today, Permit Sonoma shared a documentary series that they’ve been working on, featuring a couple in Hidden Hills and their rebuild process. See the collected series so far here: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Rebuilding-Documentary-Series/

Topics covered include grey water and felled trees.

The next meeting will be held on June 6 at 7:30 am at the Sonoma County Water Agency.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


5/16/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Fri, May 18, 2018 at 11:29 AM
Subject: May 16 block captains after action
To: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>Good afternoon,

Geyserville Fire Protection District’s vegetation abatement team

Nathan Ziegler and Erik Padilla of the Geyserville Fire Protection District were the speakers at the May 16 block captains meeting. Padilla outlined the efforts spearheaded by Geyserville Fire into vegetation abatement through use of the County’s chipper program, as well as through a system of home inspections throughout the district’s area of responsibility.

The firefighters went into the inspections with an educational stance, rather than a punitive one. Padilla, the one full-time member of the abatement team that lasted through the winter, found that there was a great deal of good will towards the inspection program.

“Residents have been overwhelmingly positive, people want the fire department to come out,” he said. He and his team would make notations on areas around the homes that need work, but weren’t issuing citations, hoping to encourage people to think about fire prevention rather than create ill will, he said.

Geyserville fire is also offering to help those within the district with their burn piles, during times of the year when burn permits are available. They’ll also help with egress and evacuation routes by using the County’s Chipper Program, ensuring that potentially dangerous brush and undergrowth build-up is taken care of.

Padilla said that the department is also trying to foster as much community involvement as possible, encouraging neighbors to form COPE groups for communication and assistance during crises. Geyserville Fire is also bringing its expertise to these groups with  information on coordinating during red flag events, chainsaw tutorials and CPR classes.

Padilla suggested some tips to consider when planning or planting around homes:

The concept of the 100-foot defensible space is not really designed to save a home from conditions such as existed during the fires in October, he said. That was an extremely rare scenario. He recommended that irrigated ornamental vegetation could be safely grown within 30 feet of a house. Grasses ought to be kept to no higher than 4 inches during the summer.

Avoid so-called ladder fuels, tree litter that can extend into tree canopies and create ariel fuels. In terms of plant selection, consider this rule of thumb: anything that smells good, burns good. Bay and oleanders burn like roman candles.

Community updates

Cal Am Water is investigating the possibility of underground backflow preventers for neighborhoods on the valley floor.

Larkfield Estates has launched a Neighbor in Need program, requesting each resident to contact their neighbor to their right and left and seek reports on how the rebuild is going for everyone. Some of the lots in the neighborhood haven’t been touched since debris clearing was finished and residents decided to initiate this system to check in with their community.

The Fire Victims Coalition will be hosting a meeting on May 19:

FREE REBUILDING CLINIC: WHAT TO DO NEXT?

Ask your questions in a small-group, personalized setting

Topics: Insurance, Construction, Finance

Saturday, May 19 @ noon ~ Bayside Church, 3175 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa

Snacks provided; feel free to bring your own lunch

Do you have questions about:

·  Insurance?

·  Step-by-step rebuilding process?

·  Enough money to rebuild?

·  Existing mortgage?

·  Construction loan?

·  How to deal with designers, architects, engineers, permits, general contractors, etc.?

·  Construction contracts and how to hire a contractor?

·  Maximizing insurance proceeds if not rebuilding?

These are just some of the topics homeowners need help with. Industry professionals and advocates will meet with you in small groups to help you move forward from wherever you are “stuck” in the rebuilding process.

We invite homeowners to bring your insurance policy, declarations page, estimates, etc., and ask us your insurance, rebuilding, and rebuilding-related financial questions.

Advocates and Industry Professionals:

·  Matthew Grill – Prior Fire Survivor, Rebuild Specialist, Founder of Fire Victims Coalition, Coffey Strong Volunteer

·  Kunal Nagpal – Rebuild Specialist, Prior Fire Survivor and Post-Disaster Home Builder/Developer

·  Linh Pham – Scope Writer and Former Catastrophe Insurance Adjuster

·  John Andras – Catastrophe Insurance Adjuster (employed by a builder to help homeowners with their insurance coverage)

·  Julia Donoho – Attorney and Architect

This event is RSVP only; please include the kinds of questions you have so we can try to tailor the clinic to your actual needs. We aim to have more clinics like this in the near future.  If you are interested but can’t make the event, let the organizers know so they can plan future events accordingly.

Reservations and Questions:

Matthew Grill  909-230-0929 matthew@firevictimscoalition.org

Kunal Nagpal  707-210-0806 kunal@emergerebuild.com

Permit Sonoma update

Patrick Mullin from Permit Sonoma reported that a little over 100 homes have been permitted through the Resiliency Permit Center. In the main Permit Sonoma offices, things have slowed down finally he reported. The past winter had been one of the busiest in recent memory.Permit Sonoma leadership is now looking at what’s going on at the Resiliency Permit Center to determine how fast things are moving through those offices and and how they can bring some of those techniques policies and procedures into the main Permit Sonoma offices.

Congressman Huffman’s Office update

Blake Hooper from Congressman Jared Huffman’s office said that they’ve been looking to find more folks in need of assistance. Reach out to your congressman if you’re having an issue with a federal agency such as FEMA, the SBA and the like.

Updates from the County

The Governor’s May Budget Revision includes $32.8 million General Fund to backfill the property tax revenue losses that cities, counties, and special districts will incur in 2017-18 and 2018-19 because of fires and resulting mudslides. Of this amount, $21.8 million is for Northern California jurisdictions. Additionally, the May Revision includes $29.1 million General Fund to waive the local match for Northern California counties’ costs of debris removal.

Governor Brown Thursday issued an executive order to combat dangerous tree mortality, increase the ability of our forests to capture carbon and systematically improve forest management.

State and federal officials came to Santa Rosa on Wednesday to announce with City and Sonoma County officials the completion of major debris removal operations in the counties impacted by the fires. Officials expect to conclude operations within the coming days.

Over-Excavation Program:

Cal OES has informed Sonoma County and Santa Rosa it will hire a contractor to address over-excavation issues that occurred as a result of the government debris removal program. A hotline (565-1222) has been created for property owners to call andinfo@sonomacountyrecovers.org will be used for email. On Monday we will start calling property owners on the Issue Resolution List to see if they are interested in a site visit to evaluate their claim. The County will take requests from interested property owners until May 31.

Recovery was center stage at the Economic Development Board’s Spring Economic Forecast event, with our critical housing and workforce shortages being singled out in a report that pivoted after the fires. Some good news – the county economy is strong and should continue to be strong for the next two years, providing a welcome wind at our back as we address critical recovery and rebuilding initiatives.

Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County update:

WILDFIRE MENTAL HEALTH COLLABORATIVE

To Access Supportive Services Call:

866-960-6264

The Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative (Collaborative) is a community-wide initiative committed to mental health recovery care for wildfire survivors.

Everyone affected by the fires need to learn to recognize the signs of mental health stress and access mental health services for short- and long-term coping and healing.

The Collaborative currently provides:

1.    Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) training for Mental Health Professionals

2.    Free group outreach sessions conducted by SPR mental health professionals

3.    Free yoga and meditation classes

4.    Free individual counseling

5.   mysonomastrong.com: A wildfire mental health recovery website

Reach Out to NAMI Sonoma County for Referrals

Sonoma County residents looking for wildfire mental health support services, such as individual or group counseling, trauma-informed yoga, iRest meditation groups, or other support services, may:

Call or text NAMI: 866-960-6264

Email: warmline@namisoco.org

Online Chat: https://namisonomacounty.org (click on “Chat Now” in upper right corner) or

https://m2.icarol.com/ConsumerRegistration.aspx?org=2374&pid=317&cc=en-US

Visit mysonomastrong.com

To assess your level of angst and to access helpful information in the privacy of your home, check out mysonomastrong.com.

For More Information or to Make a Donation

For more information on how to support this project, please contact mentalhealth@healthcarefoundation.net or 707-473-0583.

Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County

PO Box 1025

Healdsburg, CA 95448

The next meeting will be on May 23 at the Sonoma County Water Agency at 7:30 a.m. in Redwood B/C. The speaker will be Tom O’Brien of Homebound, a construction management firm.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


5/2/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen <Stuart.Tiffen@sonoma-county.org>
Date: Wed, May 2, 2018 at 12:24 PM
Subject: May 2 block captains after action

Good afternoon –

Neighborhood Update.

At this morning’s block captains meeting, we heard about a string of thefts again in Larkfield Estates, with trailers being stolen as well as some of the chainlink fencing from around a swimming pool.

Neighborhood Events.

District 1 is beginning its regular block captain meetings. The first will be Wednesday, May 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Kenwood Depot. The next meeting after that will be May 23, and then moving to first and third Thursdays as of June.

There will be a community meeting on Monday, May 7 at the Glaser Center in the Unitarian Church for Hidden Valley and Fountaingrove. Brief updates will be provided on water quality, block captain/area representative organizing, property taxes, energy options, fire debris, and mental health resources. Subject matter experts will be available for an open-house Q&A session to answer individual property owner’s questions.

Coffey Strong is hosting a Town Hall with State Senator Mike McGuire at Bayside Church on May 4 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Senator McGuire will be providing updates on current legislation and government action that affects fire survivors. He will also be answering questions on fire recovery issues. This free town hall is open to all fire survivors. Seating is limited, so please RSVP to reserve your seat today. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coffey-strong-town-hall-with-sen-mike-mcguire-tickets-45265138247

Announcements.

We heard that Sonoma Clean Power’s tiered energy efficiency grant program has evolved since we first heard about it a few months ago. We’ll work on getting representatives from Sonoma Clean Power back before the block captains for a future meeting to clarify what the program looks like now. Here is a link to the current program:

https://sonomacleanpower.org/advancedenergyrebuild/

NeighborsTogetherSR.com is an independent website and blog for fire survivors. Minutes from the District 4 block captains meetings are posted there, as well as a calendar of upcoming events. This site is not neighborhood specific. Organizer of the site Vita Iskandar has prepared a survey to gather information about where we are today as fire survivors and to help identify needs at this time and moving forward. Results will be posted on NeighborsTogetherSR.com. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6QHGK9K

Speaker.

Architect Howard Blecher was the speaker today and he answered a variety of questions based on services that an architect could provide for fire survivors seeking to rebuild.

Architects do much more than produce drawings. Their services are their product, working with cities and clients alike, Blecher said. They’ll negotiate with permitting agencies, act as a point person who coordinates consultants and observe and review the entire construction process. For more information contact howard.bbud@gmail.com.

Code Upgrades.

We’ve also seen a draft of the letter on code upgrades that attorney John Friedemann had been working to encapsulate with legal language. The idea was that this would be a document that insureds could present to their insurance company to clarify the code upgrades required for rebuild. The draft, which was presented to the City of Santa Rosa, is attached. See May 2018 Code Upgrade Language from Friedemann Goldberg»

Next Meeting.

The next block captains meeting will be Wednesday, May 9, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd, Redwood B/C. Sonoma County Assessor Bill Rousseau is scheduled to be the speaker at that meeting.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


4/25/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg 

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 10:40 AM
Subject: April 25 block captains after action

Good morning –

Neighbor Updates

Barry Hirsch reported that he had attended a meeting of community water companies and came away amazed at the number of water companies in Sonoma County, where there are more than in any other county in the state. All six locally affected water companies at the meeting had the same insurance carrier, and all are having delays in getting settlements from insurer. They’ve all also been dropped by their insurer.

From Coffey Park we heard about a meeting coming up on Friday May 4 at 6 p.m. at Bayside  Church, where State Senator Mike McGuire will talk about his recent legislative initiatives and updates.

Supervisor Gore Updates

 Wednesday’s block captains meeting served as an impromptu launching point for Supervisor Gore to turn his 4/26/18 campaign kick-off event into a fundraiser for Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County.

Supervisor Gore said that this is a dangerous time. Supervisor Rob Brown of Lake County said you have six months after a disaster. Then people start forgetting. He suggested a mini campaign against the opponents of complacency and forgetfulness. It’s time to get loud with decision makers, and to fight to have federal funds money come directly to the county and the city of Santa Rosa. Rick Hall volunteered to write a letter which was unveiled at last night’s event.

Speaker

CEO of the Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County Debbie Mason was our speaker and she outlined several initiatives that the funding agency for healthcare has been working on since the fires.

The Healthcare Foundation just trained 150 psychologist social workers, mental health workers from across the county in how to do trauma-informed response. Mental health services for trauma is different from regular mental health work, Mason said. So far, Healthcare Foundation has raised $250,000 of its goal of $1 million.

The foundation will be launching a new website in the next two weeks with tools for self  analysis for trauma, as well as lists for multiple other strategies being unveiled to provide mental health assistance post-disaster.

The organization has trained therapists who can come to homeowners groups and do two-hour assessment response training. “You have these symptoms, here are some coping strategies,” Mason said. “We will pay for these trained professionals to come to you.” Those sessions will be best for smaller groups of 20-25 people.

Healthcare Foundation will also offer 30-minute informative sessions for larger groups,  such as neighborhood groups, HOAs and so on, with information on how to identify signs in family members or peers and refer them to help in a way that is supportive and not shaming.

They’re retasking a mobile app developed by the Veterans Administration, PTSD coach, taking that platform and customizing it to Sonoma County.

Healthcare Foundation is also offering counseling for people without insurance, yoga specifically designed for coping with trauma, and other programs.

See this link for information on these joint efforts.

Upcoming Sonoma Clean Power presentation

Sonoma Clean Power Presentation/Q&A – Energy Efficiency Financial Incentives for Post-Fire Rebuilds

Next Meeting

The next block captains meeting will be on Wednesday, May 2 at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd, from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Architect Howard Blecher will be the speaker and will be addressing rebuilding from his profession’s perspective.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


4/18/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg 

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 4:55 PM
Subject: April 18 Block Captain after action

Good afternoon –

Speaker.

This morning’s block captains meeting featured President and CEO of United Way Wine Country, who presented a report on the efforts of the nonprofit since the fires.

In the immediate aftermath, United Way halted all of its regular programs to focus on recovery. Partnering with the Redwood Credit Union, United Way disbursed $6 million to fire survivors in the months after the fire. Most of the short term funds collected by charitable organizations in the weeks after the fire have now been spent. Others, such as Tipping Point, plan to disburse their funds by the end of the calendar year.

San Francisco-based Tipping Point had raised $33 million as of late March, and has disbursed $8.1 million during the initial Relief phase and a further $14.75 million in the Recovery phase. The third phase of funding, Rebuild, will be wrapped up by December 2018.

Other organizations in the county that are focusing on the intermediate and long term recovery process include Community Foundation of Sonoma County which still has some $12 million in funds to disburse and Rebuild North Bay is also focusing on the long term recovery.

United Way still has some $1.6 million in its coffers, and is being strategic and methodical with that spending. They also have a $50,000 fund designated for community.

Mike Kallhoff emphasized that the fewer points of contact that reach out from specific neighborhoods, the better.

When asked how fire survivor communities can get in touch with nonprofits that are in a position to assist, Kallhoff suggested using the phone number 2-1-1. Another resource is the website sonomacounty.recovers.org which serves as a fire survivor message board and a good nexus for communities, individuals and nonprofits to intersect.

Announcement.

Last remaining Do-Not-Drink zone lifted in Larkfield.

California American Water and the State’s Division of Drinking Water have completed extensive water quality testing and analysis and determined that water in the Larkfield system is safe to drink and consume. California American Water has conducted more than 450 water quality tests at 64 sites throughout Larkfield since October. We have coordinated closely with state water quality regulators to test for more than 76 different contaminants, including volatile organic compounds, which were found to be present following the fires in a different water system. California American Water has restored the Larkfield water system in stages to provide service for existing customers while methodically restoring and testing the system in fire-damaged areas. If you have any questions about water quality in the Larkfield system please call California American Water at 707-542-8329.

Upcoming Seminar.

Construction, Rebuild-Strategy, & Finance Seminar.  Click Here for Details »

Code Upgrades.

I’ve also attached the code upgrade documents that we first shared from Permit Sonoma on Feb. 28.
Click Here for the Code Upgrades »

Next Meeting.

Our next meeting will be on April 25 at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. Debbie Mason, executive director of Healthcare Northern Sonoma County, will address resources available for fire survivors.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


4/11/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg 

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 11:11 AM
Subject: Block Captains April 11 after action

Good afternoon –

Announcements.

A couple of announcements kicked off this morning’s block captains meeting.

Training for High Performance Residential Design & Construction seminars are coming to Santa Rosa at the North Coast Builders Exchange. This five-part series provides a holistic approach to high performance residential building. It is appropriate for homeowners and builders. Each session can either stands on its own or be taken as a series. These trainings are organized by PG&E and offered in collaboration with County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division, County of Marin Community Development Agency and Sonoma Clean Power. Lunch will be provided for class participants. Register via the links in the attached pdf or go to www.pge.com/energyclasses. The flyer for this seminar series is attached.

Also – of short notice interest – Professor John Radke of UC Berkeley is touring Santa Rosa and the fire area today with his graduate students from the Landscape ARCH — Environmental Planning Graduate Student Studio. “We are studying wildfire and its interaction with the urban fringe. Specifically we are looking at the Tubbs Fire and the impact on the City of Santa Rosa.  We will hopefully learn from this fire and produce mitigation strategies ranging from: reducing fuel hazards, to better informed egress routing, to strategic placement of fire suppression assets, to alternative Land Use Planning and Policy,” he said. They’ll be meeting at the KMart parking lot in Santa Rosa between 2 and 2:30 p.m. today, April 11. For anyone interested in reaching out to Professor Radke, his cellphone number is (925) 788-0841.

Neighborhood Update.

From the neighborhoods, we heard that debris clearing progress continues or is wrapping up in most areas. Mark West Estates, Larkfield Estates, and neighbors along Mark West Springs Road continue to work with Rebuild Northbay on their wall projects. There will be a meeting on the topic tonight at 6pm at the Santa Rosa Schools Office, 211 Ridgeway Ave.

Mark West Estates also reported that they’re currently expecting 121 out of 178 burned homes to rebuild starting in 2018.

Some questions arose between Larkfield Estates and Wikiup regarding sewer connection fees, and whether they were originally paid by the developers of those communities. Supervisor Gore’s office will be following up to stay in the loop as this discussion continues.

Michelle Estates reported that more people are rebuilding than had been expected, they’re making progress on the repairs of their Water District, as well as the downed trees that remained in the area.

In Knights Valley and Franz Valley, the concern of maintaining the momentum and community organization remains. We’ll be looking more at this in future meetings, including the introduction of community frameworks of CERT and COPE.

County Update.

Patrick Mullin of Permit Sonoma updated the group that 55-60 permits have been issued by the Resiliency Permit Center. They’re anticipating a surge in the next month.

Guest Update.

David Lawson, a local contractor was in attendance and spoke about his participation in the nonprofit Rebuild Our Community. For more information visit: http://rebuild-our-community.org/

Speakers.

The main speaker today was Bert Whitaker, director of Regional Parks, who delivered an update on the state of the County’s parks. The winter has been good for the parks, so far, he said, with concerns about flooding being unrealized up to this point. He encouraged people to visit parks such as Shiloh Ranch which mostly burned. A series of placards in that park describe some of the issues facing the landscape as it recovers. Also, Hood Mountain, which saw 1,200 of its 2,000 acres burn, only recently reopened, he said. Significant acreage was bulldozed and the department is looking to stabilize it for the future. Overall, the land management community in the county came together in a big way, he said, working to create a more resilient landscape.

Some of the tactics they’re using include grazing programs and developing comprehensive fuels management.

For the most part, he said, the parks have bounced back remarkably well this winter, with coastal facilities and campgrounds seeing the seven-days-per-week activity that they were seeing pre-fire.

Bert Whitaker said that the Regional Parks would be happy to share its vegetation management knowledge with private landowners, and we might expect to hear more from that department going forward.

Events.

Below are the details of an upcoming meeting on insurance strategies.

Construction and Rebuild Strategy Seminar for Fire Survivors
April 26, 2018 from 6pm to 8pm
Bayside Church ~ 3175 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa

Topics:

  • Strategies from two prior fire survivors to get control of your funds from your insurance company and to maximize your rebuild money.
  • Rebuilding process explained and strategies to maximize your funds
  • Processing bank draws and pre-liens to protect from paying twice
  • Construction Contract protection
  • Construction Lending

Sponsored by CoffeyStrong.  Open to All Northern California Fire Survivors.

Additionally – here are the details of an upcoming United Policyholders meeting:

April Roadmap to Recovery UPdate

Dear North Bay Fire Survivor Friends,

Please join us at our next Roadmap to Recovery workshop on Tuesday evening, April 24th at 6 pm. Due to upcoming construction at the High School, we will be back at the UU church at 547 Mendocino Ave. in downtown Santa Rosa.

Topics:

  • Negotiating successfully with your insurer
  • Resolving claim disputes informally and formally
  • Waivers, deadline extensions
  • UP Survey results summary
  • Permits and building code requirements
  • Debris removal reimbursement

Speakers:

  • Sandra Watts, an insurance professional with 20 years of claim adjusting experience (with State Farm)
  • Amy Bach, policyholder advocate
  • Nathan Quarles, County Rebuilding/Permit Sonoma
  • Steve Jensen, Santa Rosa Resilient City Permit Center
  • Michael Gossman, County of Sonoma, Government-sponsored debris removal program insurance reimbursement information

Again, Tuesday evening April 24th, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 547 Mendocino Ave. in downtown Santa Rosa.

See you there!

Amy Bach

Next Meeting.

Our next block captains meeting will be held on April 18 at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd in Redwood B/C. We’ll need to start and end promptly (7:30 – 8:30 a.m.) as we’ll have to be out of the room at 8:30. Mike Kallhoff head of United Way Wine Country is scheduled to be our speaker at that meeting and will address funds that exist to help communities organize post-fire.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


4/4/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 3:14 PM
Subject: Block Capts April 4 after action

Good afternoon,

Speakers.

Supervisor James Gore, Deputy County Administrator Michael Gossman, Blake Hooper from  Congressman Jared Huffman’s office, Patrick Mullin from Permit Sonoma and Jane Elias from the County’s Energy Independence Program were all on hand at today’s block captain meeting at the Sonoma County Water Agency.

Jane Elias came to offer block captains free one-on-one rebuild consultations for building with energy efficiency, comfort and lower utility bills. Contact her office at (707) 565-6470 or by visiting www.sonomacounty.ca.gov/energy.

Neighborhood Update.

We heard several updates from the neighborhoods:

Knights and Franz valleys are almost completely finished with debris clearance and have a community meeting scheduled for May 20.

Mark West Estates has several lots pouring foundations.

Larkfield Estates was the focus of a neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, April 3 on the topic of sewer and septic. The Facebook video of that meeting is viewable here: https://www.facebook.com/votegore/videos/1194032557398477/

We also heard from a couple of communities that the postal service’s forwarding for fire survivors is resulting in lengthy delays. Blake Hooper from Rep. Huffman’s office said he would work to resolve it.

County Update.

Supervisor Gore updated the group that PGE would soon be engaging in dramatic vegetation management, meaning more trees would be coming down near utility lines. Apparently, they’re also considering a San Diego-style grid with power down areas to be more responsive during crisis.

The county is also starting to to identify groups to create CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) and COPE (Citizens Organized to Prepare for Emergencies) teams. Supervisor Gore referred to the well-organized teams in Marin that conduct regular training. With one-third of the population of Sonoma County living in the wildland urban interface, the goal is to rebuild, but to keep looking forward, Supervisor Gore said.

Deputy County Administrator Michael Gossman gave an overview of the County’s new Office of Recovery and Resiliency, as well as delivering a report on the debris clearing program. Only nine properties remain unaddressed so far by the public clearing program, he said. These are among the most challenging lots left to clear in the county.

USACE, FEMA and Cal OES have also decided to readdress 500 lots that already went through debris clearing and had outstanding issues. Michael Gossman said that those lot owners should already have been contacted if their lot was on the list.

He also reminded the group to be heedful of flash flood warnings and inclement weather in general. An atmospheric river is coming to the area next week, but there will be heightened flood risks for the next couple of years, he said.

The Office of Recovery and Resiliency is also moving towards finding funds for a new network of fire detection cameras. The technology was developed by University of Nevada at Reno. Michael said that the technology was used with great effect at the Lilac Fire in San Diego.

In an effort to improve outreach from the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, Michael said that members of his staff would likely be attending future block captain meetings. To contact Michael Gossman, email michael.gossman@sonoma-county.org.

Next Meeting.

Next week’s meeting will be April 11, 7:30 am in the Redwood meeting rooms.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


3/29/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 10:23 AM
Subject: March 28 block captains meeting after action – Flyer now attached

Good afternoon,

Speakers. County Update.

Supervisor Gore opened this morning’s block captains meeting with gratitude for the community turnout at the public meeting held on March 21 at Mark West Elementary School. The experience underlined the importance of continuing to hold those sorts of meetings, he said.

He acknowledged that the large venues can detract from our ability to communicate more effectively on the specific issues of our distinct communities, such as felled trees in Michele Estates, HOA issues in Mark West Estates and sewer in Larkfield Estates.

We need to be iterative and just keep going, he said.

A concern was brought up early that the community lost two important gathering places in Cricklewood and Willi’s Wine Bar, and is there anything the county could do to encourage family-friendly restaurants back to the area.

There are rumors on whether the Starks are going to rebuild or not, Supervisor Gore said he would follow up with them. He also encouraged people to consider creative ways to reach out to restaurateurs.

On the topic of sewer in Larkfield Estates – Supervisor Gore’s office is hosting a public meeting on April 3, from 6 – 8 p.m at the Sonoma County Office of Education, 5340 Skylane Blvd. The meeting will cover some of the elements of the proposed program that are of concern in the neighborhood, namely the cost and whether or not it’s mandatory to hook up (it’s not). At the meeting there will also be discussion on the impact of sewer to the density of housing in the area and whether it would change the character of the neighborhood.

“If sewer does go through, I’ll make sure all of those concerns are dealt with, and make sure it’s written down that hooking up is not required, that zoning will not allow the splitting of lots, and make sure it honors the character of the area,” Supervisor Gore said.

Currently the sewer plan is expected to come before the Board on May 22.

Our speaker this morning was Jennifer Gray, the executive director of the Rebuild North Bay Foundation. The nonprofit’s mission is to rebuild the region better, safer, greener and faster to allow people to go home. Rebuild North Bay is working on multiple initiatives, providing access to education and green housing, including prefab homes.

Rebuild North Bay made the news recently with their efforts to help Coffey Park rebuild some fences that weren’t the clear responsibility of any one party. Several of the communities from the Fourth District have also reached out to Jennifer for help with similar issues in their areas.

The organization is also working to develop an information hub with a web portal. It’s still in early stages of planning and development, but eventually Gray said that the site would be a useful resource for those in the rebuild. Rebuild North Bay is what she called a third responder, meaning that the group plans to be active from six months out to 10 years post disaster.

Larkfield Estates undertook a needs assessment within the neighborhood, to be able to present organizations such as Rebuild North Bay with its critical shortfalls.

Congressman Jared Huffman’s Field Representative Blake Hooper was also in attendance today. He spoke about what Congressman Huffman’s office can accomplish for fire survivors, including expediting things like passport applications to recover documents – same goes for military records information, and other federal records retrieval. His email is blake.hooper@mail.house.gov.

Announcements.

I’m attaching a flyer from the Humane Society of Sonoma County with their offer of full scholarships fire survivors for their summer camp programs starting in June.

Next Meeting.

The next block captains meeting will be held from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd in the Public Access room. This is through the main entrance and there should be signage to help everyone get there. Michael Gossman, head of the County’s new Office of Recovery and Resiliency, will be the speaker next week, updating everyone on what this department will be handling as we swing into recovery.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


3/21/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 12:59 PM
Subject: Block captains meeting March 21 after action

Good afternoon –

Speakers.

We had representatives from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Supervisor Gore and Patrick Mullin from Permit Sonoma all on hand for today’s meeting.

Neighborhood Update.

From the neighborhoods we heard a few issues.

Frustration is rising in Michele Estates with the number of felled trees that were left in the neighborhood. Supervisor Gore reported that he’d be meeting with PG&E leadership today and would address the issue with them. He drove through Michele Estate after the block captain meeting and recorded video to show PG&E.

He also mentioned that PG&E would be more aggressive with trimming trees near utility lines going forward, pushing the abatement from seven feet out to 14 feet back.

Traffic and congestion was brought up as a concern with many looking to rebuild ‘bigger and better’ in the future.

Supervisor Gore responded that he was interested in forming specific plans for several communities, which could look into future development with an eye to reducing traffic impacts.

Events.

Tonight – March 21 from 6 – 8 p.m., the County is hosting a public meeting at Mark West Elementary School, 4600 Lavell Road.

Here’s the agenda:

  • 6:00 p.m. Welcome, Introduce Speakers & Meeting Format (5 min)
  • James Gore, Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor
  • Susan Gorin, First District Supervisor (could have a travel conflict pending snow storms in D.C.)
  • 6:05 p.m. Debris Removal Update (10 min)
  • Mike Jolly, Debris Task Force Lead, FEMA
  • Lt. Col Travis Rayfield, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Recovery Field Office
  • 6:15 p.m. Overview of Rebuild Permit Centers, Permit Process (10 min)
  • Nathan Quarles, Deputy Director Engineering Construction, County of Sonoma Permit & Resource Management Department
  • 6:25 p.m. Advice for selecting/working with contractor (10 min)
  • Pai Thao, Investigator, Contractor’s State License Board
  • 6:35 p.m. Property Tax Reassessments & Rebuilding, Reminder to update address for Elections (5 min)
  • William Rousseau, Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Registrar of Voters
  • 6:40 p.m. Update on Property Taxes (5 min)
  • Erick Roeser, Sonoma County Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector
  • 6:45 p.m. Local Roads Update (5 min)
  • Johannes Hoevertsz, Director, Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works
  • 6:50 p.m. Water Agency Update on Sewers (5 min.)
  • Michael Thompson, Assistant General Manager, Sonoma County Water Agency
  • 6:55 p.m. Sonoma Clean Power Advanced Energy Rebuild Program (5 min)
  • Nelson Lomelli, Programs Specialist
  • 7:00 p.m. Q&A (30 min)
  • James Gore, Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor
  • 7:30 p.m. Breakout to tabling for individual Q&A (30 min)
  • 8:00 p.m. Event ends

County Update.

Crime prevention

The Sheriff’s Office’s Patrol Captain Al Vernon along with Deputy Eric Salkin and Crime Prevention Officer Jennifer Abrao all gave some updates on the ways that the Sheriff’s Office is working in the County post fire. They are aware of the concerns of the communities that are beginning rebuilding with increased suspicious traffic and the chance of construction material theft.

The Sheriff’s Office does have a limited amount of patrolling deputies. On any one shift there are generally only two deputies for each patrol zone. See the map here:

https://data.sonomasheriff.org/files/map/ZoneMap.pdf

– the zones are large areas, and patrolling deputies tend to stay near the 101 corridor unless responding to something specific.

Those patrolling deputies can often be pulled out of their zones to assist with significant calls happening elsewhere in the county, however. Captain Vernon did say that, when possible, they were looking at having any additional patrols going through burn areas. He also said that in one case, thieves stripping copper had been posing as a construction crew in the Mark West area, and were only caught because of a vigilant neighbor. It is important to call the non-emergency line for Sheriff’s dispatch to report suspicious activity, he said. 707-565-2121.

Neighborhood watches are a very effective line of defense, according to CSO Abrao. She said she would be willing to meet with communities to help organize effective crime prevention techniques.

For more information please contact Crime Prevention at 707-565-7398 or email CSO Jennifer Abrao at jennifer.abrao@sonoma-county.org.

Deputy Salkin recommended placing cameras, such as those that have been employed in Larkfield Estates, that can assist in apprehending thieves. Other ideas such as video surveillance signage, hiring private security firms and coordinating with builders to ensure they’re locking up their sites, were all discussed, too.

Supervisor Gore concluded the meeting with some comments.

He talked about a fund for community support that is available through the United Way – this fund can be used to defray the expenses that have been incurred through groups such as block captain activities, with posting signs for your community meetings, website hosting and so on.

He mentioned that the county was contracting a firm to perform a needs assessment in the community to find items that are not being covered by insurance or by FEMA – things such as sound walls.

He reiterated that accessory dwelling units are being pushed by the Board of Supervisors, as they work to reduce the lot size requirements to place them, making them more a factor of sewer or septic size, than lot size.

Next Meeting.

Next week, we’ll again be meeting at the Sonoma County Water Agency, this time in the Redwood A room, from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Jennifer Gray from Rebuild North Bay will be coming to address the aid that her organization is offering.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


3/19/2018 – Updates from 4th District

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 10:45 AM
Subject: Updates

Good morning,

Here are a couple of updates – one from Cal Am Water and a reminder/flyer for the upcoming public meeting on Wednesday evening at Mark West Elementary. The block captains be meeting on Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Water Agency as usual. Supervisor Gore should be there and we’ve invited the Sheriff’s Office to give an update on crime prevention.

An update from Cal Am Water

The work to rebuild the damaged areas of Larkfield’s water infrastructure continues. All of the old and damaged water meters have been removed and the service lines have been capped. These services will eventually be brought back on-line after the affected mains have been repaired

On that note, main repairs are nearing completion in the areas of Mark West and along Wikiup Bridge and will be flushed and disinfected this week (3/19-23). Repairs are expected to be concluded the following Monday on Mar. 26 (weather permitting).

Once complete, temporary water connections will be available for construction.

The following are a few key points for those wishing to establish temporary service for construction. Also below are links that provide a full summary of instructions and requirements to reestablish connections:

  • Returning customers will not be charged connection fees.
  • New customers will be assessed the standard connection fees.
  • Customers will need to install a backflow device (details attached).

Customers can call the Larkfield office directly at 707-542-8329, extension 0 or visit the main office during business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM-noon; 1:00 PM-4:00 PM) at 4787 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa, CA to request service reinstatement.

If you would like to add another name to recipient list for this email series, please contact: luke.gianni@amwater.com

  • Download Service Reinstatement Instructions (55kb)
  • Backflow prevention summary (74kb)
  • SD 10a Backflow drawing (97kb)

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


3/14/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Mar 14, 2018 at 2:33 PM
Subject: March 14 block captains after action

Good afternoon –

Today’s block captains meeting focused on healing with a presentation from the County’s behavioral health specialist Wendy Wheelwright. She covered many warning signs to look out for and resources to help with coping. More on that later.

Crime prevention

During our check in with the neighborhoods, we heard from Larkfield Estates that there has been a surge in suspicious vehicles, potentially trawling the area for construction materials. Sheriff Giordano responded to my email immediately:

“Thanks for reaching out. I have copied our Patrol Captain Al Vernon so we are on it. Also please stress to everyone to call us anytime they see anything they think is unusual. You are our eyes and ears- we want the phone calls. If it is not an emergency 565-2121, 911 otherwise.”

Matching grant program

We also had a question about the Sonoma County Ag+Open Space matching grant program. Here’s a little more information on their offerings and the deadline of April 30.

The application for the 2018 funding cycle runs from January 31 – April 30. Only public agencies and 501c3 nonprofits are eligible. Funding through the program can help support recovery efforts in fire-impacted communities through the restoration of habitats, acquisition and development of land for community open space, and other projects. Eligible projects that aid in rebuilding and recovery efforts in affected communities may be given preference.

Applications must be received by 5PM Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Ag + Open Space office located at 747 Mendocino Ave, Suite 100, Santa Rosa 95401.

http://www.sonomaopenspace.org/wp-content/uploads/2018-MGP-GUIDELINES.pdf

http://www.sonomaopenspace.org/wp-content/uploads/2018-MGP-APPLICATION.docx

Delays in construction industry

We heard that contractors and subs in the area are becoming extremely impacted, with some looking at waitlists of several months.

News from Coffey Park

From Coffey Park we heard that there are 71 lots currently for sale in the neighborhood, and that builder APM had agreed to offer previous renters from Coffey Park first refusal to rent from lots that the developer is buying to build upon.

Carlton Senior Living

Carlton Senior Living reached out to Supervisor Gore’s office to ask if any of the block captains would be interested in receiving an update from them. Some of those present at today’s meeting indicated that they would be, so I’ll be happy to set up a meeting. If anyone else on this email list wants to meet with Carlton, please let me know via email ASAP.

Public meeting March 21

The meeting scheduled for March 21, from 6 – 8 p.m. at Mark West Elementary School is going to be a good venue to hear from several agencies invested in the fire recovery process. I’ve heard from a couple of block captains who are willing to sit at a table and answer questions from attendees of the meeting on the subject of the block captain network. We want to make sure that the information being shared at these weekly meetings is getting to as many people as possible, so if there are community members at the meeting who aren’t in touch with block captains from their neighborhoods, we want to provide that link at this meeting.

Behavioral Health

Wendy Wheelwright brought a lot of materials with her to today’s meeting. You can find all of her handouts and the Powerpoint presentation at this link:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8mv400bedkmumsb/AADTGNc8-YjwhqHU9ex8z8Yfa?dl=0

While we were able to witness heroism and the “honeymoon” phase of the community response immediately post-fire, we are currently heading into what’s typically described in post traumatic response as the disillusionment period, she said.

Real emotional recovery doesn’t begin until after the one-year anniversary of the event. Meanwhile, survivors are prone to a laundry list of symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, strange eating habits, irritability, sleep loss, emotional outbursts, increased alcohol and substance abuse, and so on.

One tip Wendy provided was a breathing exercise: inhale for a three-count, then exhale for a six-count. Exhaling lowers your heart rate and can help reduce anxiety.

Other stress management techniques she suggested were writing in a journal, meditation, exercise, stretching, yoga, prayer, music and spending time outdoors.

Wendy brought some colleagues with her to the meeting and said that she and her team are available to help fire survivors who are having difficulty with coping.

Wendy’s contact information:

Wendy Wheelwright, MFT
Sonoma County Behavioral Health Division
(707) 565-4868
Wendy.Wheelwright@sonoma-county.org

Warning from the CSLB

I’m also attaching a notice from the Contractor’s State License Board with a warning about a possibly unlicensed contractor working in the area.

Next Meeting.

Next week we’ll meet in the Redwood B/C room at the Water Agency once again.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


3/7/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 12:35 PM
Subject: March 7 block captains after action

Good morning –

Event.

There are a couple of events coming up:

Homeowners whose insured homes in Sonoma County were damaged or destroyed in the 2017 North Bay wildfires are invited to attend a free Construction & Insurance Seminar on Saturday, March 10, from 2-4 p.m. at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.

Do any of these describe you?

  • You lost your home and you want to rebuild, but you’ve never built a home before
  • You are under-insured, but you don’t want to hire a lawyer
  • You have never filed an insurance claim before, and you need to understand the process
  • You are not sure that your insurance company is treating you fairly
  • You are ready to hire a contractor, but you need to know how to protect yourself
  • You have hired a contractor, and you need to know how to avoid overpaying him

This seminar is different from other recent seminars. The organizer of this seminar is Matthew Grill,

the founder of the Fire Victims Coalition non-profit. Matthew is a fire survivor from a previous California wildfire, and he has experienced everything you are going through.

Topics

  • Navigating being underinsured without hiring a lawyer
  • Protecting yourself when dealing with your contractor
  • Processing contractor paperwork and avoiding overpayment
  • Managing your mortgage payouts and depreciation
  • Maximizing your insurance benefits and payouts
  • Understanding the insurance claims process and your rights
  • Dealing with your insurance company without losing your mind
  • How United Policyholders and Sonoma County Legal Aid can help you

Speakers

  • Matthew Grill, Fire Victims Coalition
  • Lihn Pham, Scope Writing Services
  • Emily Rogan,United Policyholders
  • Kendall Jarvis,Sonoma County Legal Aid

The event is free but tickets are required:

Fire Victims Insurance & Construction Seminar

Event.

In addition: a public meeting organized by the County will be taking place on March 21 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Mark West Elementary School – 4600 Lavell Road. Here’s a tentative list of speakers/agenda:

  • Introductions from Board of Supervisors
  • FEMA and USACE will talk about debris clearing
  • Permitting from Permit Sonoma
  • Selecting/working with contractors from Contractors State License Board
  • Tax Reassessments & Rebuilding from the Assessor’s Office
  • Property Taxes – Tax collector’s office
  • Roads, traffic update from Transportation and Public Works
  • Water – Cal Am
  • PG&E
  • Sewers – Water Agency
  • Comcast
  • AT&T
  • Question and answer period

We’d like to have block captains attend who can be points of contact for neighbors – anyone interested please let me know so I can have adequate seating set aside.

We’ve had requests to include builders at the meeting. I’ll need several suggestions for builders to invite.

We have Stonefield, but we’ll need more so that we’re not promoting one developer. Please email those suggestions to me at stuart.tiffen@sonoma-county.org as soon as possible.

We’ll also look to implement the suggestion that we plant signs around the area to raise awareness of the meeting.

We heard from Coffey Park that three houses have entered the vertical phase of construction, with another half dozen putting down foundations. This has already led to some logistical issues, blocking streets with multiple large vehicles. We’re looking into what the County can do to avert major problems once heavy rebuild construction begins.

Speakers.

This morning, we had representatives from three utilities come and address the group – PG&E, AT&T and Comcast.

The question of putting utilities underground came up. PG&E representatives explained that all neighborhoods where utilities were above ground will likely stay that way. There was some discussion about the cost of putting utilities underground, which PG&E said was 10 times more expensive. Any undergrounding efforts would be ratepayer funded projects.

PG&E described the work they’re doing with Sonoma Clean Power on incentives for rebuilding greener homes.

AT&T representative Rhuenette Alums encouraged that questions could be sent her way at ra5361@att.com. AT&T is replacing much of its destroyed infrastructure with faster, fiber optic lines. That is mostly going to affect Larkfield Estates, Mark West Springs Road and out to Port Creek. They are working on creating a map that will show more clearly where their services will be seeing an upgrade.

Comcast representatives announced that the provider will be able to furnish services to temporary housing  on burned lots. And that all equipment fees from burned homes have been waived.

Next Meeting.

Next week we’ll be meeting once again at the Sonoma County Water Agency, Redwood B/C. We’ll have Wendy Wheelwright from the County’s Behavioral Health department coming to present information on mental health resources.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


3/5/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 8:55 AM
Subject: Block Captains Feb 28 after action

Good morning –

County Update.

A number of issues were raised at last Wednesday’s block captains meeting, including that trees remain a problem in the more rural areas of the county. Next week, PG&E will be attending the meeting – though primarily to discuss utilities – they can likely speak to some extent on trees, too.

Permit Sonoma is issuing permits based on building code, and not based on HOA approval. This is creating fears among HOA communities, that their guidelines could be circumvented. We discussed the possibility of Permit Sonoma holding a town hall on the topic, as well as seeking the advice of a real estate attorney.

The question of street sweeping also came up for the Larkfield area. Recology holds the contract for street sweeping there and has been operating the street sweeper, according to Transportation and Public Works.

Permit Sonoma has generated a code upgrade document. I’ve forwarded it to attorney John Friedemann who told the group he would be willing to generate a boilerplate letter that could be presented to insurance companies, proving that the code upgrades were required by the county during rebuild. I’ve also attached the version sent to me by Permit Sonoma. Once the letter is accomplished by Mr. Friedemann, I’ll send that along, too.

Alex Rosas from Permit Sonoma addressed the issue of trenching from the County’s perspective. For the most part, the utilities’ trenching efforts are being led by PG&E, he said. While the County is encouraging the undergrounding of more utilities, Rosas pointed out that the County can’t direct the utility to put its infrastructure underground.

Some additional updates from the County’s joint information center:

$3.25 MILLION GRANT TO TRAIN LOCAL WORKERS FOR CONSTRUCTION JOBS

To help prepare and train Sonoma County residents for jobs in the construction industry after the October wildfires, the County Workforce Investment Board (WIB), in partnership with the Human Services Department Employment and Training Division, has received $3.25 million in emergency funds from the California Employment Development Department.

For more details, use this link.

UPDATE  – TAGGED TREES NEAR COUNTY ROADS

County Transportation and Public Works has hired a professional arborist to evaluate burned trees, which are being tagged for removal or pruning to ensure safe road conditions.

  • County Right of Way — Once the arborist report is complete, the County will hire a contractor to remove or prune the selected trees in the Right of Way
  • Private Property — The County will reach out to property owners if trees are tagged on their private property. Property owners will be responsible for the trees on their property.

To read the complete posting in Damaged Tree Removal, use this link.

USACE DEBRIS REMOVAL PROGRESS (Sonoma County, as of 3/1)

  • 3,953 Total Approved Parcels (“Approved parcels” equals the universe of properties on which U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct debris removal.)
  • 3,225 Properties Cleared (Please note that this number does not mean that properties are ready for rebuild; a large number of these properties are waiting for soil sampling results. When the Army Corps receives the cleared soil samples, property owners will be sent a letter from the county via mail informing them they are ready to begin the rebuilding process.)
  • 2,772 Properties Cleared, Returned to County
  • 1,322,310 Tons of Debris Removed

ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM (OPT OUT) APPLICATIONS

  • County applications: 735 received; 714 approved to start debris work, of which 254 have been cleared and are ready to build. (as of 3/2)
  • City applications: 412 total received (15 commercial and 397 residential); of which 100 have been cleared and are ready to build. (as of 2/15)

Disaster Related Calls

  •         58 total calls for February (1-28)

Next Meeting.

The next block captains meeting is slated for Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 a.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd, Redwood B/C.

I’ve invited representatives from Comcast, PG&E, AT&T and Sonic to attend. So far I have commitments from PG&E and Comcast, Sonic has declined and I’ll follow up with AT&T.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


2/27/2018 – Report  from 4th District

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 10:32 AM
Subject: Summary from Cal Am Water meeting, Feb. 26

Good morning,

Below is a report from Mike Holdner from Mark West Estates. He attended a meeting with California American Water yesterday on the progress they’re making with checking their infrastructure and rebuilding efforts:

Hello neighbors. This morning I attended a meeting with the Larkfield area Block Captains and California American Water. Cal Am had three representatives at the meeting.  Steve Dutch (head engineer from Sacramento), Evan Jacobs (community affairs), and Margaret from our local office in Larkfield.

Current Situation:

Cal Am has a contractor going through all of the damaged neighborhoods pulling the old meters and capping the lines.  In MWE, the meters have been pulled and the lines pressurized. As of today, no leaks detected, the mains appear to be in good shape.

Short Term:

The fire hydrants will need to be rebuilt in the fire areas.  50 hydrants are slated to be refurbished. Cal Am is expecting to have the hydrants replaced in 45 days. Until then, contractors and builders will need to use water trucks to bring water to building sites to do the grading and soil compaction.

After pressure testing is complete, Cal Am will be flushing the system and then sanitizing it with chlorine/water. The flushing can happen with a dump into the storm drains.  For the sanitizing they will have to remove the chlorine before dumping into the storm drains. They are fully aware of Mark West Creek, the steelhead, and that our storm drains dump directly into the creek.

Long Term:

Cal Am is going to replace all of our meters and lines from the mains with 1 1/2″ lines and meters. This will be done free of charge to the homeowner. The target is currently to have this done by mid summer.

Items of note:

Cal Am has been doing extensive water quality testing and has not found any issues with Benzene in our water supply. They will continue to test going forward, but as of right now, no problems like those seen in Fountaingrove.

When we move to the 1 1/2″ meter, there may be an increase in a flat fee on our bills for the larger meter. Cal Am is checking on that with the PUC.

Cal Am has a blanket will serve letter for all fire destroyed properties. All of those who had service before will get service back when they rebuild.

Wikiup Heights has water pressure issues. Cal Am lost a tank and a booster pump up there. 2 months or so to get power back to the site and get a temp booster pump up and running.

If you are going to put an RV on your lot, you cannot hook up to water until after the flushing has been accomplished. You can then hook up to a temporary meter. Call Cal Am to discuss timing.

As a reminder, we’ll have members of the County’s trenching working group coming to address the meeting which will be tomorrow, Feb. 28, 7:30 a.m. at the Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd, Room Redwood B/C. See you there!

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


2/23/2018 – Update  from 4th District

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 11:31 AM
Subject: AT&T fiber plans

Good morning,

At this week’s meeting, it was mentioned that AT&T would be running fiber optic cable throughout the fire area. After checking with AT&T, it turns out that this is not accurate.

Here’s a statement from AT&T engineer Peter Smith:

At this time, there are no plans for AT&T to place fiber facilities in the Wikiup area. That distribution area is being rebuilt with copper. The only fiber build at the moment is the Larkfield Estates, and the homes & communities along the Mark West Springs Rd & Porter Creek Rd corridor.

I’m going to attempt to coordinate bringing in representatives from the various telecom utilities to an upcoming block captain meeting.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


2/22/2018 – Update from 4th District

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Larkfield Estates sewer connection survey and results

Good morning,

Some had expressed an interest in seeing this, so Larkfield Estates has kindly shared the questions and results from their neighborhood survey on connecting to sewer.

The survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YNQGN2W

The results: http://larkfieldstrong.com/neighborhood-survey/

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


2/21/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 7:50 PM
Subject: Feb. 21 block captains after action

Good evening –

County Update.

This morning, Supervisor Gore gave an overview of the current discussions on alert systems occurring at the County and encouraged everyone to come and participate at an upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting on the topic. The issue will be discussed on Tuesday, Feb. 27, though the exact time is unknown. We’ll reach out and let you know a timeframe when the issue will be coming before the board.

Ideas for alert systems covered at the meeting included telemetry-based alerts mounted on utility poles, reverse 9-1-1, cell phone-based amber alert systems, Nixle, greater neighborhood organizing with groups such as COPE (Citizens Organized to Prepare for Emergencies).

Nixle reports were chronologically out of order on the night of the fire.

Some people were too normalized to the threat of fire evacuations, to the point that some people didn’t evacuate right away.

In more rural areas, nobody got any warning calls or even knocks on the door, where neighbors were further apart.

It goes beyond tech and alerting, said Supervisor Gore. It’s critical for everyone to have an emergency plan.

Neighborhood updates

In Coffey Park, one builder has agreed to construct the sound walls on Hopper.

CalTrans is restriping stretches of Highway 128 in Knights Valley. The timing seems odd, considering the amount of traffic that road will see in debris removal and construction vehicles. Transportation and Public Works reported that they have no oversight or knowledge of State projects in their right of way.

Update from the Resiliency Permit Center

Mike Renner of the Resiliency Permit Center provided an overview of how the fire recovery permit process has been working since it opened on Feb. 13. Traffic has been fairly light so far, with 14 permits issued from the RPC at an average turn time of three days.

They’ve also completed as many as 30 pre-application interviews, and a good deal of the traffic at the RPC has been from people figuring out how the system works. Renner urged anyone interested to come in and set up a pre-application interview.

So far the process is going smoothly, because it’s mostly builders and architects familiar with the Sonoma County system coming in and going through the RPC. Renner said that will likely change when more out-of-county professionals get to work, and that might slow things down a little.

The RPC prefers to deal with plans digitally. Permit seekers will be able to upload plans directly to a website to be released “soon.” Do not bring them in on a thumb drive, they can’t accept those. When bringing in paper plans, please bring in two sets.

When ready for inspection, call Permit Sonoma and the inspection will be routed to the RPC once the lot is identified as a fire rebuild.

We’ll bring RPC representatives back to future meetings as required for more updates.

Events.

Information on a Fire Victims Insurance and Construction Seminar Event:  March 10, 2018 2-5 p.m.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

Topics:

Underinsured Crisis, Insurance Navigation and Construction Information for Homeowner Protection.

Speakers and discussion:

  • Matthew Grill Fire Victims Coalition
  • Addressing the underinsured crisis
  • Building discussion to inform and help protect the homeowners
  • Lihn Pham Scope Services
  • Insurance claims, maximize premium payouts and mortgage company and contractor process to smooth out the construction funds process.
  • Emily Rogan United Policyholders
  • Insurance process navigation

Next Meeting.

We’ll be meeting next week, Feb. 28, at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd, in Redwood room B/C at 7:30 a.m.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


2/14/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 4:24 PM
Subject: Block captains meeting Feb. 14 after action

Good afternoon –

This morning’s meeting featured speakers from the law firm Friedemann Goldberg, as well as representatives from Permit Sonoma and Supervisor Gore’s office.

Neighborhood Update. County Update.

We heard from block captains and Permit Sonoma that the Resiliency Permit Center is operating well, so far. I’ll be trying to have someone from the contractors at WC3 come to next week’s meeting to go over how that process is working.

A swimming pool at 40 Oxford was reported to be unfenced. That’s been brought to the Army Corps’ attention for correction.

The issue of sound walls came up several times today, and our office has also heard from other fire survivors about fences along Mark West Springs Road where it’s unclear whose responsibility it will be to repair/replace. I’ll be looking into the issue. It’s likely going to be determined case-by-case.

For anyone collecting mail from the post office on McBride Lane, the USPS will stop holding mail for homes in the burn area on Feb. 21. Starting on Feb. 22, they will start to return mail to sender unless you arrange to have your mail sent to a PO Box (which they’re offering for free), or they are also offering what they call premium forwarding, a paid service, that allows you to keep your original address on file but have your mail forwarded anywhere that you like. For more information, contact branch manager Matt Wheeler – 707-888-6053.

Speakers.

Attorneys John Friedemann and Marci Reichbach presented a list of important considerations when working with construction contracts. A copy is attached.

The law firm Friedemann Goldberg has been working with fire survivors since October, and to date has donated $250,000 in services.

I won’t summarize everything that they covered, because it’s well documented in the attached handout, but some additional points made were:

Keep a 10% holdout when paying the contractor until the job is complete, to ensure timely responses to final punchlists.

Consider hiring a Paying Agent, someone who can hold the purse strings and leverage the money against the contractor while leaving you free to maintain the good working relationship.

During the rebuild phase, there is very likely going to be theft of construction materials from work sites. Make sure you are insured against that eventuality. The contractor can also pursue additional security measures.

Friedemann Goldberg is looking into the creation of a boilerplate construction contract to which homeowners can add their own addendum as needed.

John Friedemann also mentioned his willingness to create a document that would list the various code upgrades and the costs they would incur, once we get that from Permit Sonoma. Insureds can then use this document to prove to insurance companies that the code upgrades they need in order to rebuild are in fact required by the county. I’ll be following up with his office on this issue.

Friedemann also said that they were no longer advising clients to wait and see regarding litigation stemming from the fire. For information on this, you can email mthomson@frigolaw.com. Another point on litigation made by John Friedemann was that California law doesn’t allow for class action suits stemming from wildfire – individuals would need to be identified as plaintiffs. Another good source of legal advice is Kendall Jarvis with Legal Aid of Sonoma County. She can be reached at kjarvis@legalaidsc.com. This information is for your reference only and is being reported as it was brought up at the meeting this morning. As such, it shouldn’t be construed as advice from our office to go one way or another.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


2/8/2018 – Update  from 4th District

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 4:51 PM
Subject: Cal Am meeting

Good afternoon –

Cal Am Water’s Evan Jacobs and Steve Dutch are available to meet with block captains on Feb. 26 between 11-3pm. If you’re interested in attending, please let me know so I can get an idea of attendance and find an appropriate venue.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


2/7/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Feb. 7 Block captain meeting after action

Good afternoon,

This morning’s block captains meeting had 14 attendees, not including speakers from Transportation and Public Works, Permit Sonoma and Supervisor Gore’s office.

Neighborhood Update.

We heard that rebuilding plans for many are on hold, pending more information on insurer payouts.

In Michele Estates, neighbors had some luck with PG&E agreeing to remove trees outside of the usual criteria of (1) being within 50 feet of the residence, (2) having the potential to block drainage or (3) posing a threat to the right of way.

Mark West Estates reported that they had found a commercial logger who was taking redwood logs away for free.

Hidden Valley neighbors said they had found that debris clearing was much more effective if the homeowner was on site when it happened. Others reported that some level of bribery in terms of donuts, food, beer or even cash was changing hands to get better service. I’m going to be reporting this up the chain with the hope that everyone will be able to get their lots cleared to the specifications laid out in their ROEs, without any palm greasing.

With the Resiliency Permit Center opening next Tuesday, Feb. 13, the question came up regarding what constitutes a “complete package.” Here is a PDF outlining those requirements from Permit Sonoma’s website: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=2147551315

Insurers are reportedly asking for lists of code upgrades that will be required for rebuilding and homeowners are looking for a product from the County to clarify what that would be. Patrick Mullin from Permit Sonoma said he would work on producing a simple list. Another resource in this process would be to contact Buildzig, the speakers at last week’s meeting. Though they are a for-profit company, this is the sort of legwork that they can do for clients. They also offer some level of pro bono assistance.

County Update.

The Director of Transportation and Public Works, Johannes Hoervetsz, told the group that TPW has been cutting down as many as 10,000 trees along the roads in the county. That work plus removing the lumber is going to cost as much as $12 million, which means many of those trees cannot be removed until the funds are found to accomplish the work – likely in the spring or summer.

Hoervetsz also briefly spoke to the potential downsides of building ADUs in rebuilding, which include additional impacts on traffic and infrastructure.

He said that road damage on county roads is all being documented and will eventually be sent out to FEMA for assistance in making repairs that stem from the fire recovery efforts.

This Friday, Feb. 9, at 8 a.m. there will be a tour of the Permit Sonoma Resiliency Permit Center, which is scheduled to open next Tuesday. If you’re interested in joining, please email me: stuart.tiffen@sonoma-county.org.

Next Meeting.

Next week, we’ll be meeting at the Water Agency once again. Our speakers will be John Friedemann and Marci Reichbach who will be addressing construction contract review.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


1/31/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg

From: Stuart Tiffen
Date: Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 1:47 PM
Subject: Block captains meeting Jan. 31 after action

Good afternoon –

We had 18 block captains at this morning’s meeting.

Debris Clearing

We continue to hear about problems with the level of variation in lot debris clearing. Our office has been contacting the State and Federal agencies managing the program, as well as the contractors at ECC in an attempt to rectify any grievances. We encourage anyone whose lot hasn’t been cleared appropriately, or whose property sustained damage during lot clearing, to first contact the Army Corps of Engineers hotline at (877) 875–7681 – that creates a ticket and gets the lot onto FEMA’s to-do list. If that process doesn’t produce results, please have your neighbors contact our office at stuart.tiffen@sonoma-county.org or 707-565-2241.

From Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, here are the latest statistics on the progress of the debris clearing program:

USACE DEBRIS REMOVAL PROGRESS (Sonoma County, as of 1/26)

  • 3,953 Total Approved Parcels
  • 2,160 Properties Cleared (55% Complete!)
  • 846,425 Tons of Debris Removed

I’m working on getting an answer to the question of what response homeowners can realistically expect when giving guidance and requests to the debris clearing contractors.

We heard from Mark West Estates that out of 178 burned lots, less than five lots remain to be cleared, 79 have builders’ signs posted in front of them and seven lots are for sale.

Anyone interested in a follow-on meeting with Cal Am Water, please let me know. I’ll see about arranging one separate from the usual block captains meetings.

Cal Am is requesting the addresses of everyone in their coverage area who is planning on rebuilding. They’ll use that information to prioritize getting water turned back on. Please have that information sent to Steve Dutch, Senior Project Engineer at steve.dutch@amwater.com.

Brad Sherwood, block captain for Larkfield Estates and Sonoma County Water Agency employee, gave an update on a utilities meeting held on Jan. 30. Though this meeting focused on Larkfield Estates, some of the information we took away was that all the “dry” utilities plan on being complete with trenching by October, 2018 in the Larkfield area. AT&T, PG&E and Comcast are all working together on this effort.

Cal Am Water reported that they are confident that the mains in Larkfield are in working order, but that there may be complications with the pipes in Mark West Estates, where they are made of PVC. Cal Am also confirmed that they would be able to replace the damaged hydrants in the area by the end of March/beginning of April, when construction is expected to begin. Working hydrants are a requirement for “vertical” construction, once foundation work is complete.

Carlos Plazola and Laura Blair from Buildzig spoke to the group on some of the potential pitfalls that face homeowners during the construction phase. Though Buildzig is a for-profit company they do offer free consultations to people looking at rebuilding. Their list of considerations when entering construction is attached. Their website is www.buildzig.com.

Next Meeting.

Next week, on Feb. 7, we’ll be meeting at the Sonoma County Water Agency, in the Redwood A conference room at 7:30 a.m. I’ll follow up with information on speakers.

Best regards,
Stuart

Stuart Tiffen
Field Representative for Supervisor James Gore
4th District, County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


For more information on District Block Captains:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Block-Captains/


Pre -1/31/2018 – Notes from 4th District Block Captain Mtg
The first meeting I attended was 1/31/2018.  I believe the first 4th District block captain meeting occurred in mid-November 2017.

Neighbors Together SR does not provide any advice or endorse any service provider or agency. 

October 2017 Northern California Firestorm: Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa: Coffey Park; Fountaingrove (Hidden Valley Estates (HVE) is lumped with FG); Larkfield-Wikiup-Mark West-Riebli; Rincon Valley-Deer Trail-Calistoga Rd; Bennett Ridge (Nuns/Annadel Fire) . . . See more . . . »

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