Letters to the Editor
Not all students had RP-like experiences
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The Community Voice:
Brian Masterson, Director of the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, wrote a “welcome” letter to Sonoma State University students, which you published recently.
In this letter, he says “Most of our students grew up in towns that are very similar to Rohnert Park, and they feel comfortable in our neighborhoods.”
Yes, perhaps most did, and perhaps most do. But what about the others? What about the students from, say, Oakland, Vallejo, and Richmond – towns not very similar to Rohnert Park?
If Director Masterson really wants to minimize conflict in Rohnert Park – which I assume was the ultimate intention of his letter – the students to whom he needs to extend his welcome are precisely the students who are least accustomed to a city such as middle-class, white-bread Rohnert Park. I suggest some thought be given to making even these students feel genuinely welcome and comfortable here in the putatively “Friendly City.”

Voting no on latest school bond measure
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The Community Voice:
As a homeowner and taxpayer, I’m concerned that Measure C (the second of three $80 million CRPUSD school bonds) will be a massive burden on taxpayers while providing little improvement in the education of the students.
The total cost of the three bonds, which could be nearly $1 billion, will affect property values, increase rents and hurt those on fixed incomes. Unlike a parcel tax, seniors cannot opt out of the bonds. Bonds of this magnitude in a district of this size seem excessive and fiscally irresponsible. Yes, we need safe schools and certain upgrades, but we don’t need to build the eighth wonder of the world.
Don’t be fooled by the district’s propaganda that housing projects require the district to expand its facilities. I’ve reviewed the district’s own surveys regarding projected growth of student population based on the completion of new housing units. The study concludes that total student increase is projected at 184 students over the next five years. The same study also demonstrates the district’s current student capacity is well over projected needs. At best, we’ll need to upgrade classrooms, but not build more.
I’m also concerned about the lack of discussion and the district’s unwillingness to dialogue with community members. I posted a comment on the CRPUSD Facebook page regarding Measure C. In less than seven minutes, my following comment was deleted:
“Wait a minute. My research tells me that the average cost of a bond once paid for is 3.89 times its face value. That means these bonds will cost the taxpayers nearly $1 BILLION dollars if CRPUSD bonds cost just the average. Some districts have costs of 13 times original, yep that's correct 13 times. The Master Plan has no details and the massive building projects like the TAG building in a district that is at best, not growing enrollment and at worst shrinking is questionable. Vote No on measure C.”
The CRPUSD Trustees should be ashamed by their lack of questioning of these expenditures.
Building Community Relationships
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I recently attended the Rohnert Park Citizens’ Academy conducted by our local Department of Public Safety. The goal of the 10 evening classes was to enhance community relationships by educating a dozen “students” on what happens behind the badge. We learned details about police and fire procedures and asked questions about regulations governing the use of force, local tactics, and legal requirements in a variety of situations. Details on investigations, evidence handling, traffic statistics, impaired driving incidents, and many other activities helped us understand the magnitude of the tasks at hand.

The specifics were interesting and outlined the level of detail required of these professionals on a day-to-day basis, but the one thing that was most impressive about our public safety folks is that they are truly members of our community. They coach little league teams, attend family graduations, and volunteer their off-duty time to local groups. Each instructor expressed satisfaction with assigned tasks and the opportunity to be part of our city. I am thankful that we have these dedicated police and fire professionals serving Rohnert Park. I encourage others to attend a Citizens’ Academy in the future to learn more.

Andy Durkee
Rohnert Park

Andy Durkee
Rohnert Park
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