Since the one-year anniversary of the Tubbs fire has passed, it's appropriate for county residents to pause and consider how far we've come and where we're going.
Just after the wildfires, the Alliance for a Just Recovery (AJR)—comprising every major labor, environmental and faith organization in Sonoma County—formed to ensure that the long-term challenges of soaring inequality, deepening climate crisis, and racial and environmental justice would shape the county's recovery and rebuilding.
The AJR just published a new report, "Voices from the Grassroots," that advances a comprehensive "common agenda" for a just, equitable and sustainable recovery, and specific policy recommendations for increasing good jobs, affordable housing and environmental restoration.
On Nov. 19, the AJR is sponsoring a second forum to consider "State of Working America 2018," a new North Bay Jobs with Justice report analyzing inequality, poverty and the working poor, and "Meeting Our Housing Needs and Protecting the Environment," a Sierra Club report on the housing crisis. The forum will also focus on new proposed AJR policy initiatives to address the needs of low- and moderate-income families and root causes of the fire—including urban sprawl, the urban-wildlands interface and intensified climate change effects.
The forum will highlight several campaigns that AJR is supporting, and how residents can join:
• A citywide $15 hour minimum wage for Sonoma, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Novato and Petaluma, phased in by 2020, three years before the current $11-an-hour state minimum reaches $15.
• The City of Santa Rosa and other municipalities can extend outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown's 10 percent post-fire rent increase cap, before its Dec. 4 expiration.
• Opposition to new development projects in community separators and burned areas, such as a luxury resort on Redwood Highway in northern Santa Rosa's Larkfield-Wikiup area.
• New policy supporting all-electric-ready housing in the highest fire risk (urban-wildland interface) areas.
The second Alliance for a Just Recovery forum takes place Monday, Nov. 19, from 6pm to 7:30pm at Christ Church United Methodist, 1717 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa (doors open 5:30pm). Visit northbayjobswithjustice.org for more information, or call 707.292.2863.
Martin Bennett is co-chair of North Bay Jobs with Justice; Teri Shore is the North Bay regional director for Greenbelt Alliance.