Five Priority Issues for Susan
The Climate Action Commission has been doing good work for the City and community of Petaluma and should receive priority in all decisions for the future of Petaluma. The process and work of the Commission should, however, be inclusive of all Petaluma residents and organizations who desire to participate in the Commission’s work. We need improvement in City government’s response to priorities identified by the Commissioners, with follow-through and expedient planning and action for change and implementation. The relationships with and actions of other City governments, our Bay Area region, the State, the US Government, and International agreements are critically important to understand, with collaboration.
We have been missing Indigenous leadership in our Climate Action goals and priorities, and the interface with Tribal leaders and members needs to be supported and more active. Such a process requires individuals with sensitivity and the ability to embark upon new paths of decisions and actions for how we care for our environment and Nature while supporting quality of life.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is of course a main priority of climate action. Our State’s goal is carbon neutrality by 2045 and after that carbon negativity. Many Bay Area communities, including Petaluma, have adopted the 2030 goal for carbon neutrality. Our elected leaders must support the Climate Action Framework and the vision for and implementation of all facets of this framework.
Open Spaces and Green Spaces
Many cities and communities in Sonoma County have policies and goals toward obtaining funding and providing open spaces, green spaces and areas of protected habitat. Petaluma has not had any such policy and it’s time we did. This policy and planning generally occur in a City’s Parks and Recreation function. Our Parks and Recreation function is woefully inadequate and needs to expand and provide a path to begin to build a portfolio of open and green space conservation.
Many are excited about the new nonprofit, ReLeaf, and tree planting and increasing our tree canopy in Petaluma will be beneficial overall. However, this is only one facet of the environmental work Petaluma needs to do. Open space, green space, large and small acreage conservation, parks improvement with habitat enhancement along with public access components, and ensuring habitat connectivity via protecting wildlife corridors are all facets of an environmental policy and protocols that need to be initiated and sustained via the Parks and Recreation function of our City. Active recreation is also a key component of Parks and Recreation, it’s just not the environmental component that is so long overdue to be expanded, further developed and implemented for long-term success.
Susan brings deep experience, including longstanding relationships in conservation in Sonoma County, the Bay Area and State to support the City of Petaluma in modernizing and developing needed policies and procedures to set our City on the path of true conservation. Susan created the High Use-Low Impact Project Design for future open spaces and parks that is included in the City’s Climate Action Framework. Read more
Improving Petaluma City Government
Even though government is bureaucratic and inefficient, let’s embrace the opportunity to review and improve our Petaluma City Government. Our citizens do not trust Petaluma City Government and this distrust is based on experience and years of frustration in interacting with various City Managers, the City Attorney, and the City Council. Anyone who has lived in Petaluma for 5 years or longer likely resonates with this reality. Our elected leaders must have healthy boundaries and communicate clearly with City Management and the City Legal Department to represent the residents of Petaluma.
Change does not occur overnight, but initiating and following through on new policies and practices to ensure integrity of process, less covering up for staff and management failures, and acknowledging where City Government practices need to change, will lead to Petaluma being a better community, served by our government. A small group of Petalumans is very invested in the “beloved town” and the “great work” occurring at the City of Petaluma, but most Petalumans realize this portrayal is more public relations and less substance, more you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours politics than actual service for all of Petaluma. Read more
A Safe Community – Responding to Emergencies and Ensuring Safety
Responding to Emergencies: The Climate Emergency is manifesting in wildfires, drought, extreme heat, storms, flooding, sea-level rise, and the ever-present earthquake potential. A robust, well-funded emergency operations center with known and practiced protocols must be a top priority for Petaluma. Read more
Disproportionate Impacts to Underserved Communities: COVID-19 and all its impacts have been hardest on communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities. Bringing to light discrepancies in affordable and available health care, fresh food and nutrition, and security and comfort in housing emphasize our need as a society for equity and action to lift up all community members for equal job and housing opportunities and security, education and healthcare. Read more
Community Safety: In Petaluma as in most areas of our country, we must review Police Department practices, budget and staffing. Ensuring an effective Independent Auditor is hired and functions according to the community’s needs as well as instituting the Oversight Committee for Community Safety are two actions that must be completed and sustained beginning in 2022. Read more
More on Housing, Neighborhoods, Transportation and Good Government
Our focus on building new housing needs to be affordable housing. Petaluma can create a mix of town-homes, condos, apartments and smaller imprint homes to encourage sustainable population growth and housing people can actually afford to rent and purchase and be part of our greater community. This must be a #1 priority of the City Council of 2023 and going forward. Susan attends all General Plan Advisory Committee meetings and is beginning to hear discussion of goals she identified in her 2022 City Council campaign, so there is resonance for the priorities Susan identified several years ago related to the dilemmas and opportunities around housing in Petaluma.
As a community of compassion, our City government and nonprofit organizations and community members must continue to seek best solutions for our unsheltered population, cooperating and collaborating with County and State partners. As the General Plan is updated, creating neighborhoods with green and open spaces and nearby amenities as well as a connected transportation system of biking, walking, bus and private vehicle transport as needed will build areas within a City that are both distinct and connected.
For the new General Plan update underway, Susan supports the Smart Growth Network’s 10 principles of smart growth to be the lens through which zoning and density are re-planned, updating the General Plan. Continue to see the 10 principles..
Elevating our Humane and Good Hearts to Action
Your new Mayor and new City Council members elected in November 2022 will best serve Petaluma citizens by being thoughtful, considerate and active, ready to devote time and energy to internal improvement in Petaluma City Government and community-based achievements and solutions to challenges for housing, transportation, safe streets, community safety, and our multi-faceted environment.
Political rivalries have a long history in the City of Petaluma. These will likely continue to exist into the future. But, transcending political rivalries and unifying to be a strong elected voice representing all Petaluma residents are responsibilities of elected officials who want to be considered leaders. We need leadership from the Mayor and from members of the City Council – for the good of the entire Petaluma community.
Susan views leadership as integrity of process, support to create vibrant neighborhoods with nearby services, creating living opportunities for new residents with racial and ethnic diversity, and a carbon-reduced and neutral future. Add to these community builders support for our pets, animals and wildlife.
Susan wants to hear from you —
What are your priorities and interests?
Are you in agreement with Susan’s priorities?
Please contact us and let us know.
Susan will be Your Voice on the Petaluma City Council.