OPEN AT LAST
After much delay as Sonoma West Medical Center struggled to get its pharmaceutical software up to snuff, the former Palm Drive Hospital was rechristened with a ribbon cutting Oct. 30 at 9am.
The Sebastopol hospital was open for business an hour after the ceremony, and exactly three days later, spokeswoman Jane Rogan says, "We have seen 52 patients in the emergency department, including children. There are five patients currently admitted to the hospital for overnight observation and treatment."
Last week, Santa Rosa launched a pilot registration program to streamline the process for property owners who want to help the homeless in winter—and lost the support of one of the providers of those services in the process.
The City Council approved the Community Homeless Assistance Pilot Program (CHAPP), which compels property owners to register with the city if they "use their properties or facilities for safe parking, the placement of portable toilets and temporary shelter during the winter months," according to a statement. The registration program was initiated Nov. 3 and runs through the end of March.
Adrienne Lauby, a Santa Rosa homeless-services advocate explains that the effort "basically chases behind two programs that sprung up as partnerships between concerned citizens and a couple of service providers."
Those providers are Safe Parking, run by Catholic Charities, and Nomadic Shelter, run by the Redwood Gospel Mission.
The latter organization opposed CHAPP because of the requirement that it register with the city, but its pastor has since approached civic leaders about a meeting. "Redwood Gospel Mission spoke against the program last week at council and has assured us that they will not be participating in the program," says Kelli Kuykendall, a program specialist with the city's department of Housing and Community Services. "Hopefully, we can find a way to work together on some level."
Lauby remains unconvinced that the reporting requirement—and a push from the city to allay NIMBY concerns as they arise—will coax forth additional property owners. "Unless the publicity about the need for registration happens to inspire more organizations to step up," she says, "it will not give one homeless person a safer place to sleep this winter."
The city stresses that the program is designed to cut red tape for potential and existing service providers. Kuykendall says the city has been hearing from property owners since the council vote, and is "in the process of identifying potential churches or properties interested in or already providing these services."
The lawyer hired by Rohnert Park city officials to investigate a July encounter between police officer David Rodriguez and citizen Donald McComas found no wrongdoing on Rodriguez' part, according to an Oct. 28 report not released to the public.
The encounter generated controversy after McComas posted a video of the incident on YouTube. In the encounter, Rodriguez unholsters his weapon and asks McComas if he is a "Constitutionalist crazy guy."
Check out the Fishing Report blog for more on this story at Bohemian.com.—Tom Gogola