We’re in the midst of a national debate about law enforcement oversight and accountability. That was the subject of this week’s edition of the virtual “Community Conversations on Race”. These interactive panels have been presented by local nonprofit Community Action Partnership.
In this excerpt, Moderator Mary Watts Sparks asks Black Lives Matter organizer Amber Lucas and Santa Rosa Police Chief Ray Navarro to share their thoughts.
(Photo: A Black Lives Matter protest in Sonoma – Diane Askew)
Every Monday, the Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County hosts a community conversation on race. On July 27, the conversation focused on the experience of local Black business owners and influences. In this excerpt, moderator Joy Dehnert asked Letitia Hanke about the barriers she’s faced as CEO of her own roofing company in Santa Rosa.
Among two thousand entries in grades 5 thru twelve, the story of Popo the Clown, a local entertainer, rose to be one of only 25 finalists, although it didn’t win one of the two top awards.
NPR’s website celebrates the work, produced by students at St. Helena High School, as a “witty and poignant conversation” that “helped the students say goodbye to high school in preparation for life beyond.” The production work was completed during the pandemic, and sounds fully professional. Advising the students was teacher Elizabeth Ganshorn.
News Director Steve Mencher talked with two of the producers, Reid Ivanoff and Josie Goldfarb.
Our friends at Sonoma West publishers are a unique local resource. For years, they produced newspapers that reflected life in the towns of Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Windsor and West Sonoma County. Now only the Healdsburg paper continues in print, while the others live as digital information sources.
At NorCal Public Media, we’re partnering with Sonoma West to take advantage of their unparalleled expertise and access. For example, when we wanted to find out about the current state of school re-openings, we knew exactly who to ask.
From Katherine Minkiewicz, Zoë Strickland, and Heather Bailey, here’s a round robin update on Sonoma County schools in their respective coverage areas.
Find links to the individual publications at norcalpublicmedia.org. You’ll also find to ways you can get involved with Sonoma West’s journey to become a nonprofit news source.
On Friday we spoke with D’mitra Smith, the chair of the Sonoma County Human Rights Commission. The commission recently released a report on human rights violations during the Santa Rosa Black Lives Matter Protests. In Friday’s interview, Smith described numerous allegations of excessive use of force by local law enforcement. It’s unclear how the report will be used to investigate these events and hold officers accountable. In today’s report, KRCB’s Adia White asks Smith what she hopes will happen next.
Santa Rosa Police Chief Rainer Navarro is evaluating the report. We’ve invited him to join us for a conversation about his department’s response and hope to have him on later in the week. Read his statement at norcalpublicmedia.org.
At the beginning of July, The Sonoma County Human Rights Commission published a 40-page report titled, “Human Rights Violations in Santa Rosa California – Policing the Black Lives Matter Protests.” The report alleges numerous violations by law enforcement against protesters. KRCB’s Adia White spoke with commission chair D’mitra Smith. Smith describes the tactics used by police and how the commission evaluated them.
Read Santa Rosa Police Chief Ray Navarro’s response to the report HERE. Read the Sonoma County Human Rights Commission report HERE.
(Photo: Black Lives Matter protesters in downtown Santa Rosa – Adia White)
When Sonoma County shut down this spring, cannabis businesses, deemed essential, were allowed to stay open. Now that the county is wrestling with a plunge in tax revenues, marijuana growers and sellers see an opportunity. Loosen permitting and other restrictions, they say, and we can guarantee a boost in cash for the county. Alexa Wall, chair of the Sonoma County Growers’ Alliance, spoke with KRCB’s Adia White about the industry’s offer of help.
The State of California is suing the Trump administration over an order that aims to block undocumented immigrants from being counted in the census. The effort is likely to fail. But some fear the attempt alone may discourage immigrants from being counted. The Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County is working to ensure everyone fills out the census regardless of immigration status. KRCB’s Adia White spoke with Director of Community Engagement, Vince Harper, about the effort.
Community Action Partnership is hosting a census action week from August 1st to August 8th. Events kick off this Saturday with a celebratory caravan, starting at the Hyatt Regency and winding through North West Santa Rosa. Learn more at norcalpublicmedia.org
Yesterday, we met Kevin Shenkman. He’s the lawyer whose challenges have caused many California cities to move from at-large elections to contests by district. His reward for this campaign has included anti-Semitic slurs and death threats. Shenkman talks about his work in Sonoma County with news director Steve Mencher.
Today marks our first in-depth story as part of an election initiative we’re calling Escuchando – Spanish for “listening.” We’ll be listening to the residents in District One in Santa Rosa as they elect their first city council representative in November. The reasons that Santa Rosa is switching from an at-large system of voting to one by district are complex. But one Southern California lawyer is the catalyst for this enormous change – and over the next two days we’ll meet attorney Kevin Shenkman. He told our news director Steve Mencher how his work promoting democracy starts with key provisions of the California Voting Rights Act.
Tomorrow, we’ll learn how Kevin Shenkman’s work has affected Sonoma County.
Find more at norcalpublicmedia.org, including a video in both English and Spanish with tips about how to run for city or town council.