December 2021

A Christmas Prayer

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

The courage to change the things I can…

And the Wisdom to know the difference.


Get to Know the City Council of Santa Rosa

The Santa Rosa City Council is comprised of seven members elected to serve four-year terms. They are elected using the newly adopted  District System. Under Santa Rosa's new district-based election system, voters may only elect one council member for the district that they are registered in. To locate your district area, please visit the Find My District page and simply type in your address. It is possible that the current redistricting process may change the configuration of the districts. Currently three out of the seven council members have their seats coming up for election in 2022 which could impact how we elect our council members in the future.

Mayor Chris Rogers has history in Sonoma County. After Graduating from Rancho Cotati High School in 2005 he attended UC Santa Barbara to earn a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in Public Administration from Sonoma State University. While attending college he began working in the office of California State Senator Patricia Wiggins. Soon after he began working as the Political Director on the “Allen for Assembly” political campaign in 2012, as well as  working the  Mark McGuire for State Senate campaign in 2014.  His whole adult life has been involved in politics.

Mayor Rogers serves Council District 5 as a registered Democrat. He was first elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 2016 and is serving his second term. This Council seat will be up for election in 2024. You can email Mayor Rodgers at


Vice Mayor Natalie Rogers first became politically active, serving as the Black Student Union Treasurer, Northern Chair for the California Black Caucus and the Student Trustee Elect. She graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor degree in Psychology and later on she earned her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. She became a case manager for Meals on Wheels and a service coordinator for the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, Texas. She also worked at Buckelew Housing in Marin, and R House, a group home in Santa Rosa. Vice Mayor Rogers now runs her own private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist and works part time as a therapist for the County of Sonoma.

Vice Mayor Rogers serves Council District 7 as a registered Democrat. She was first elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 2020 and is serving her first term. This Council seat will be up for election in 2024. You can email Vice Mayor Rodgers at

Council Member Eddie Alvarez was born and raised in the Roseland District of Santa Rosa which is in District 1, the district he now represents. He chose to get involved in politics when he felt law enforcement was harassing his community with DUI checkpoints every Friday evening on Sebastopol Road in 2007-08.

Since that time, he has become a  local business owner as he owns “The Hook Dispensary” which serves the Latino Community. He  decided to run for City Council to give the Latino Community a voice. Now that the new District Policy is in place, he wanted a Latino Presence to represent the Roseland Community. Roseland has forever been one of the poorer communities in Santa Rosa and has been the most forgotten when it comes to the city funding for parks, street repair and overall quality of life.

Council Member Alvarez serves Council District 1 as a registered Democrat. He was first elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 2020 and is serving his first term. He is the only Latino on the City Council and only the second Latino to ever be elected to the Santa Rosa City Council. This Council seat will be up for election in 2024. You can email Council Member Alvarez at 

Council Member John Sawyer has been a stalwart in Santa Rosa. He is a fourth generation Santa Rosa Native. He once owned and operated Sawyer News that was located on Fourth Street since 1945 to when it closed down in 2010. His time on the city council has seen him serve as Vice Mayor once and as Mayor twice. His City Council appointments include Long Term Financial Policy and Audit Subcommittee, the Cannabis Subcommittee and the Downtown Subcommittee. He has voted to approve legislation to increase housing stock in the city. He has been implemental in the progressive mentality of transit-oriented projects that puts a high density of citizens near public transportation. One can see the  new buildings go up by the SMART Train Stations on Dutton Avenue and Third Street and College Avenue  and Cleveland Avenue that offer minimal parking for their tenants in a push to have tenants use public transportation.

Council Member Sawyer serves Council District 2 as a registered Democrat. He was first elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 2004 and is serving his fifth term. This Council seat will be up for election in 2022. You can email Council Member Sawyer at

Council Member Jack Tibbets became the youngest City Council Member at age 26. He earned a  Political Science Degree at UC Berkeley and interned for Congressman Mike Thompson. Once He  graduated, he worked for the Sonoma County Economic Development Board where he started  looking at the housing problem in Santa Rosa. He suggested that the county take unused county property and utilize it for the homeless. This stemmed the idea for the Los Guilicos Shelter. As current Executive Director of  St. Vincent de Paul Sonoma County he is able oversee the operational management of the Los Guilicos Shelter. He was active  in trying to get Measure N passed for  the provision of “affordable housing”

Council Member Tibbets serves Council District 3 as a registered Democrat. He is serving his second term on the City Council. This Council seat will be up for election in 2024. 

Council Member Tibbets has just announced that he is resigning from the Council.  It has not been decided if the seat will be filled by appointment or election.

Council Member Victoria Fleming is a former member of the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee who stands with the  leftist progressive movements that are becoming so popular. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Women's Studies from San Francisco State University and a Masters degree in Social Work from the U.C. Berkeley School of Social Welfare.

In April of 2021 she was appointed by the  Sonoma County Board of Supervisors with the  influence of her mentor and Sonoma County Supervisor, Chris Coursey, to represent Sonoma County on the MTC Commission (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) The MTC Commission  not only includes our transportation system but also includes housing and development as well. This plays a big part in the idea of stacked housing near the SMART Train that Santa Rosa is currently implementing as she is working to support an all-hands-on deck approach to climate change. She has been quoted as saying:  “This is the biggest threat to our economy and our welfare and I am proud to be on a team that takes this very seriously.”

Council Member Fleming serves Council District 4 as a registered Democrat. She is serving her first term on the City Council. This Council seat will be up for election in 2022. You can email Council Member Fleming at

Council Member Tom Schwedhelm is a long-term resident of Santa Rosa. He began his career as an officer for the Santa Rosa Police Department in 1983. He was Police Chief for his final five years and retired after serving Santa Rosa for thirty-one  years. He has a degree in Administration of Justice, Business Management and Psychology: Organizational Development.

Soon after retiring, he was elected to the Santa Rosa City Council where he also served as Mayor in 2018. In 2020 he posted an informational video encouraging citizens to wear face coverings in which case he chose to wear a “Thin Blue Line” face covering. He was immediately called a Fascist for doing so even though this represents unified justice for police and the public they serve as well as a remembrance of fallen Police Officers.

Council Member Schwedhelm serves Council District 6. He is serving his second term on the City Council. Council Member Schweldhelm announced in October that he will not be running for re-election. This Council seat will be up for election in 2022. You can email Council Member Schweldhelm at

The open session of the regular meeting is held in the Council Chamber at City Hall and generally begins at 4 p.m. Public study sessions are held in the Council Chamber prior to the 4 p.m. open session. The public is invited to attend and participate in all open sessions of City Council meetings. The open sessions of regular Council meetings are televised live on Comcast Channel 28 and AT&T Channel 99. Meetings are rebroadcast on Wednesdays beginning at 6:30 p.m., and on Saturdays beginning at 11 a.m. Learn about how to participate in Virtual Public Meetings here.   


Money Management in California

If more voters in California knew what was going on in state government, things might change. Of course, the mainstream media does not highlight certain stories if they carry them at all in their news.

The California Department of Education is being questioned as to why it is paying a six figure Salary to a person who has been tasked with overseeing “equity” initiatives in state schools despite his residence in Philadelphia which just happens to be over 2,500 miles away. 

Politico reports that Daniel Lee, described as a “psychologist, life coach and self-help author,” was hired last summer as California’s first Superintendent of Equity.  He is being paid $179,832 a year in spite of the fact that he “shows no prior experience in California or relationships with school districts in the state.” 

Mr. Lee owns a Pennsylvania-based psychology firm and is the President of the New Jersey Psychological Association’s executive board. Politico notes that “he voted in Philadelphia as recently as November and owns a home there according to local records.” 

The position was not posted publicly. Not surprisingly, the appointment has received many challenges. Nonetheless, Tony Thurmond, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, has known Mr. Lee for over two decades and defended the hiring by using COVID as an excuse, saying that his buddy was “somebody that I wanted to hire for a long time but he lived out of State.”



Education in California

According to the World Population Review, California ranks 37th in educational achievement in  the 50 states. Such a ranking might make a person think that the state doesn’t spend any money on education. Wrong! Per pupil spending in California is $21,555. California schools are also receiving $13.6 Billion from the federal government to cushion impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2013 Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature changed public school financing with the stated goal of “closing the achievement gap separating poor and English-learner students from more privileged children.”

The Local Control Funding Formula gave local school officials a great deal more leeway by eliminating most “categorical aids” that required funds to be spent for specific purposes. Of course, in typical political fashion, the formula also gave school districts specific grants to be spent on improving education of children on the wrong side of the gap.  

Governor Brown was sure that local school officials could be trusted to spend the money wisely with virtually no state oversight. He believed that local voters and parents would monitor spending through local implementation plans. A truly wonderful idea. Emphasis on Idea. 

Various groups have complained that implementation plans are indecipherable and school districts often divert money meant to improve outcomes of at-risk-kids into other purposes. A huge loophole has allowed Local Control Funding Formula money left unspent in one fiscal year to be carried into the next year and spent without strings.   

Not surprisingly, battles have been waged how the money is spent. The battle has been district by district and sometimes in the courts. In 2019 State Auditor Elaine Howe issued a report that sharply criticized the lack of oversight. “We are particularly concerned that the state does not explicitly require districts to spend their supplemental and concentration funds on the intended student groups or to track their spending of those funds.”

The legislature did close the loophole on unspent funds in 2021 but there should be some clue as to what billions of extra dollars have produced. Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) is a prestigious consortium of education scholars from five major universities. This is their statement.

“As researchers who have long studied the implementation of LCFF, we started with the view…that LCFF has advanced equity both in terms of funding progressivity…and improved outcomes for historically underserved student groups. But despite this progress, California continues to lag behind the nation as a whole when it comes to educational outcomes, and many student groups – particularly Black and Latinx students, English learners, students from low-income families and students with disabilities- continue to experience wide and troubling opportunity and achievement gaps.”

PACE also noted that schools with the highest concentrations of at-risk-kids tend to have the least experienced and least capable teachers.  PACE doesn’t mention that union seniority rules are the prime reason for this situation.



The Seventh Amendment

The Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that guarantees a jury trial for civil cases in the federal courts. When the Framers wrote the Bill of Rights, they understood how important it was to have a fair court system, so they made sure that the right to have a trial by jury was a fundamental law of the country. They desired a  different approach from England, where English judges were servants under the King of England. These judges were often biased towards the King, and because of this, their rulings were not always fair. During the Act of Settlement 1701, English judges won their independence from the king, but judges in the American colonies were still biased towards the king. King George III got rid of trials by juries in the Colonies, which made the colonists very upset which was just another item that led to the American Revolution. 

The Framers wanted to ensure that people seeking damages of $20 or more had the right to trial by jury, “In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved”. When the Seventh Amendment was written in the 1700s, $20 was considered a lot of money. Today, any disputes that involve amounts less than $75,000 will not be handled in a federal court. 

The amendment also says: “And no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law”. Essentially it is stating that acts and evidence made by one jury may not be undone by another and ensuring that if  a person goes to court, he will always go to a court recognized by the government. 

The Seventh Amendment in its’ entirety reads as follows:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. 


Controversy in California. NEVER!

The California ballot is going to have quite a few measures on it in 2022.  There may very well be four sports wagering measures.

In 2018 the United States Supreme Court ruled that sports betting was legal. Other states and major professional sports leagues have struck deals with major online betting operations.  However, the California Legislature could not develop a system that would satisfy all stakeholders. Therefore, this being California, the issue goes to the ballot.

1)     Major casino-owning tribes have a measure that would extend their gambling monopoly to sports wagering.

2)    A tribal measure would require sports wagers to be placed either in existing casinos or in locations owned by the tribes. It would also allow sports wagers at major horse racing tracks but would not allow online bets on sports events.

3)    DraftKings and FanDuel (two major online wagering outfits) pledged millions for a third measure that would allow them to operate in California. They have received support from some big city mayors because they have promised their proposal would give money towards the homeless problem. 

4)   The Graton-Rancheria and two other casino-owning tribes are floating a fourth measure that would allow online betting controlled by the tribes. It is a hedge against the DraftKings and FanDuel measure because it assumes that given a choice between betting online or going to a casino to place a bet, gamblers would prefer the former.

No surprise.  Millions are already being spent by the backers of these four measures.  Dueling public relations campaigns will spend millions on each of these measures. A lot of money you may ask. The money spent on the campaign will be pocket money compared to the billions that will flow through whichever interest can claim legal authority. 

If the legislature could actually get its act together and solve the problem legislatively there might not be a need for ballot measures which of course cost the state money.


WOW! An Infrastructure Bill.

Congressman Mike Thompson has been going around his district touting the infrastructure bill that was passed in Congress and signed by the President. Now, there is not much argument that the infrastructure in the United States is in need of much repair and replacement. However, in typical Washington fashion the numbers are very interesting to say the least.

The bill that was passed totals $1.2 TRILLION.  Sounds like a lot could get done. However, that amount of money that will actually go to infrastructure projects is $550 Billion.  If you dig hard enough you will learn that the rest of the money does not go to infrastructure. 

Remember: Our government at work!


Legislation for the Good of the Citizen!

America was founded on the premise that the government that did less was better. Citizens were to take care of themselves and were to direct their elected officials on many actions. It seems that Governor Gavin Newsom never heard of this concept. He is in the process of fashioning measures that he will push through the legislature.

1.  Given the possibility that the Supreme Court will ultimately send the issue of abortion back to the states, Governor Newsom is looking to make California a Sanctuary. If the Governor has his way, California would pay for gas, lodging, child care as well as compensating providers for services rendered to low-income patients who come for an abortion.  Of course, this would be covered by the California tax payer.

2.   Governor Newsom has announced that he will model a gun control measure in California after the Texas’ abortion ban. The Supreme Court stated that abortion providers have the right to challenge the Texas abortion law in federal court. Newsom has stated that his office will work with the state legislature and attorney general to pass a law that allows private citizens to sue anyone who “manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” in California. “If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that.” said the Governor.



A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

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