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Message from Kathy Millison 

A small contingent from Santa Rosa recently attended a statewide jobs and the economy meeting and heard an encouraging buzz of stories of business rebooting and expansion in just about every corner of the state, including Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.  One speaker who talked about trends in job growth in California reminded us that 88-90% of the workforce is still gainfully employed!  Although we know that means both employed and underemployed, it changed our perspective.  What we learned is that the economy is recovering but there is much retooling to do to make sure that your region, not just your city, is both attractive and competitive in the global market today.  Our closing speaker was Nathalie Gosset, Head of Marketing and Business Development for the Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering at USC.  Ms. Gosset spoke about industries that are creating jobs and opportunities in the next 3-5 years and what we should be thinking about as a region to make sure we are both attractive and competitive for them.  She spoke about new jobs that are being and will be created in the biomedical sector and the fact that education and training curriculum is now being developed or has not even been developed for such jobs.  There are new business models, new investment models and new financial models that will influence how these businesses form and expand that revolves around customization for the individual needs of the client.  This session was certainly inspiring and hopeful.  Regionally, we learned about the City of Davis where a medical devices manufacturer based in Japan has decided to start up a plant generating 150 well paying jobs there instead of the Midwest.  As I reflected on the meaning for Santa Rosa and Sonoma County I couldn’t help but think about the medical and technological business clusters already in place along with the incredibly wonderful quality of life and respect for the environment we enjoy in this spot of geography.  Hmmm…sounds like good ingredients to me.  I also thought about the tremendous educational resources we have, for example, Career Pathways at Santa Rosa City Schools, Economic & Workforce Development at Santa Rosa Junior College, and the Innovation Hub or I-HUB and Business Incubator at Sonoma State University.  As the two-day meeting came to a close I left inspired by all the speakers who discussed the important ways that our communities need to work together and with businesses to connect with the opportunities as well as with resources to foster economic vitality for our futures.  With active interest in building our economy from business, education and government in Sonoma County and its cities, along with our regional neighbors, we have all the pieces to move forward in a positive way.

New Mural for the Prince Memorial Greenway

This summer, the Artstart program hopes to get underway in painting a new dragon mural on The Prince Memorial Greenway.  The proposed mural painting will be a reproduction of the two dragons which were destroyed by constant graffiti. The new mural will use neutral and earthy colors including the grout, meaning no red or blue. In order to dissuade tagging, the new mural will be composed on 6” or 8” tiles making graffiti abatement straightforward.

The estimated cost for proposed project is $36,000.  The proposed mural will cover over 250 feet of retaining wall averaging about 5 feet high, a total of around 1300 square feet.  Fabrication of the mural will commence during this summer's Artstart program using funds from the City's Art in Public Places Committee. Additional funding to complete the project will be necessary.

dragon mural

Honors for the Santa Rosa Police Department Employees

Recently, four members of the Santa Rosa Police Department were honored for their outstanding work performance and contributions toward the safety of Santa Rosa citizens.

On January 26th, Officer Pat Gillette and his partner Utz, a Belgian Malinois, were recognized by the Downtown Santa Rosa Rotary Club as the Police Officer of the Year.  Pat and Utz were recognized for their efforts during the Highway Interdiction Program earlier this year.

On March 8th, Officer Charlie LaSala was recognized by the City Council as the Santa Rosa Police Department's Employee of the Year.  Charlie earned this honor for his leadership and handling of an incident involving a suicidal woman.  His tactics and skill during this incident led to a successful conclusion.   Charlie was also selected by the American Red Cross for its Law Enforcement Real Heroes award.  A short video was produced by the Red Cross and played during a breakfast award ceremony on April 20th.

In February, Detective Ryan Corcoran was selected by the Exchange Club as its 2010 Police Officer of the Year.  Ryan was selected due to his leadership and direction in what started out to be a home invasion robbery investigation, and ultimately, led to the seizure of several weapons, narcotics and cash.  Ryan was selected by a committee of the County Chiefs Association.  The selection committee reviewed nominations from throughout the County and recognized Ryan at a banquet in his honor on February 23rd.

On April 13th, Chief Tom Schwedhelm was honored by the Chamber of Commerce for his leadership in our community.  Chief Schwedhelm received the Public Safety Leadership award at a breakfast ceremony as part of the Good Morning Santa Rosa Program.

Congratulations to all!

CityBus Featured in BUSRide Magazine 

The City of Santa Rosa Transit Department was recently contacted by BUSRide Magazine to answer questions on how fuel prices affect ridership. We thought it was an interesting topic to share.

A couple of notes before the questions and answers:
• CityBus ridership is up nearly 5% for this fiscal year (July 2010 through March 2011), as compared to the same time period last year. Interesting, CityBus saw a major increase of 15.63% in January of this year, just as fuel passes began their steady upward climb.
• Remember, using commute alternatives is a great way to off-set the record high fuel costs. Through the Santa Rosa Free Ride Trip Reduction Incentive Program, people working within the Santa Rosa city limits can participate in monthly incentives such as $15 monthly bus passes or an opportunity to win a $50 gift card. Visit www.santarosafreeride.org for more information!  Click HERE for the rest of the story.

City Bus

Public Works Update


The Public Works Department maintains the City’s pavement, sidewalks, storm drains, bridges, traffic signals, street lights and other related infrastructure.  Of these, the City’s pavement is of particular concern.  The replacement value of the City’s pavement is $1 billion.  To keep that asset in good repair, we should be spending about 1.5% of its value each year or $15 million dollars. Instead, the City typically spends about $6 million annually. We are falling behind $9 million per year. It would take $320 million over the next six years to bring our pavement up to a condition that would be more economical to maintain in the long term.

Using the analogy of a house, it is less expensive to make small repairs on an ongoing basis, rather than deferring maintenance. If you don’t paint your home periodically, and re-roof it when needed, you save money in the short run, but it costs much more in the long term to make major repairs when the roof leaks or the siding cracks.

The backlog cost is also subject to inflation, especially oil prices. As oil goes up, so does the backlog cost. The cost of the City’s pavement backlog could inflate completely beyond the City’s ability to ever catch up.  Without major changes, we’ll saddle the next generation with a huge problem.  There are additional costs from a deteriorating road system.  The majority of wear on our roads comes from the heaviest vehicles, the trucks and buses.  We need trucks to be able to operate efficiently for the sake of our economy.  They deliver services and  merchandise to our markets, and haul off our solid wastes.  We need buses to operate efficiently and to cope with higher energy prices and pollution.

Bicycles contribute very little to pavement deterioration.  But bicycle riders pay an inordinate cost when pavement fails.  Cracks and potholes which are inconvenient and costly for motorists are much more problematic for a bicyclist.

Cities throughout the country face similar problems. In the Bay Area, Santa Rosa is  average regarding pavement maintenance.  Newer cities fare better as opposed to older ones like Santa Rosa.  But even cities that are better off have the same fundamental problem facing Santa Rosa.

This is also a significant state and national problem.  However, it appears there will be no solutions from Sacramento or Washington in the near future.  We really need  solutions that can be implemented at the City or County-wide level.

The City of Santa Rosa stays current with paving and asset management techniques and technology.  Santa Rosa is a Bay Area leader in these areas.  By staying current and using our money wisely we stretch our funds as far as we can, but we cannot stretch $6 million annually to do the job of $15 million.  Fundamental changes are needed or we will leave the next generation with a problem that can’t be solved.

Water Smart Expo – It’s that time of year again!!

The City of Santa Rosa’s Water-Use Efficiency team will be hosting their annual Water Smart Expo, on Wednesday, May 25th, from 5-8:30 pm at the Downtown Market at the intersection of Fourth and D Streets in downtown Santa Rosa. This will be a great way to kick off the 2011 Downtown Market and a grand ending for May which is Water Awareness Month.

Come and talk with City and County agencies regarding available programs and rebates.  You will have access to qualified professional landscaping and plumbing advice, information about new technology in appliances and the most efficient irrigation products.  Visit our rainwater and graywater displays, learn about creek tours, and meet our new clean energy advocate team.

We will be holding a raffle for City of Santa Rosa Utilities customers, with a chance to win great prizes and free face painting for the kids! Don’t miss this fun and informative event.  If you have questions about the Water Smart Expo, contact Water-Use Efficiency staff at (707) 543-3985 for more information, or visit our web site: www.srcity.org/wue.

Water poster          Water expo

Luther Burbank Rose Parade - May 21

Don't forget to head downtown on Saturday, May 21 for the 117th Annual Luther Burbank Rose Parade and Festival.  The "Rose Town Hoedown" starts at 10 am.  Look for members of the Santa Rosa City Council on the Wells Fargo stagecoach!  You can click HERE to get more information!

There are lots of things to do and see in downtown Santa Rosa, so stick around and enjoy!  Click HERE for a list of events!