A list of homeless and housing reports about Sonoma County November 2017

This is not a full list but it is a notable summary.  I imagine the solution could be crowd sourced if anyone wanted to thoroughly study all these and give some new insights or actionable steps.

Recently there have been some very significant reports about homelessness issued concerning Sonoma County.

These include:

  • a bay area overview
  • The Homeless Talk focus group report
  • the League of Women Voters report
  • the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors’ project to reform the Continuum of Care.
In addition to that, just prior to the Sonoma County fires (October 2017)  the homeless system was completely changed to create the Coordinated Entry System(staffed by Catholic Charities). Before that, the City of Santa Rosa changed the way homeless were treated with infractions and misdemeanors and they County and Santa Rosa advocated a Housing First model.
Good overview
SPUR – The Urbanist – Homelessness in the Bay Area
Homeless Talk => SonomaCountyHomeless.org [see bottom of page]
Affordable Housing and Homelessness in Sonoma County
Homeless Policy Workshop Sonoma BOS August 22, 2017
homeless were treated with infractions and misdemeanors
Housing First model.
Iain De Jong has been a key consultant in Santa Rosa
In 2016 the held the Homes for All Summit
2017 Homeless Count Results
Survey 2016 Showing public understanding of housing – The last few questions are “fun”

My Summer Note About Saving Our Planet

Let this be my summer note.

I’ve been thinking about sharing this with my tribe, as defined by Junger.  His book is something I appreciate and criticize.  I welcome a feminist analysis of the same issues which is not too much about criticizing the maleness of his perspective; I acknowledge that.  But, I would contemplate a less gender specific discussion of the world’s tribes.  And the values described.

My friend Adrienne explains many aspects of being homeless and prompts me to write. I have met and spoken to our sisters and brothers of whom she writes.

Close to Home – Adreinne Lauby August 27, 2017

CLOSE TO HOME    Why do the homeless leave their things?


After the homeless micro-village nicknamed Homeless Hill was cleared, someone who is a wonderful ally looked at the “after” pictures and asked: Why so much abandoned stuff? Consider this: You and all your neighbors get a two-week notice to be out of your house. You can’t believe this is really happening. You think how nice the neighborhood is, how much you care about one another and all the things you and others have done to make the neighborhood nice. It’s unjust. You feel targeted and humiliated.

You live on a hill and have hand-carried everything you own up a steep single-person path over months — or years. You have no money, and the last time you tried to rent a storage unit, you failed to keep up the payments and lost everything. You have lost everything you own several times in the past. You don’t trust anyone, especially cops, social service agencies and government workers — people just like them have tormented, bullied and harassed you in the past.

Rumors run through the neighborhood that a lawyer has been obtained. That no one will have to move. That everyone is getting into a house. That those who stay the longest will get motel vouchers and not have to go into the shelter. That the cops will be here tomorrow, or the day after … or any minute now.

If you use drugs you live in fear that people will steal what little you have. You dare not leave without everything of value on your back. Informal agreements among neighbors have broken down. Old irritations flare into hostilities.

The police come through and say everyone is going to have to leave. Social workers come too. You

feel barraged by police and social workers who give inconsistent messages. Some of your neighbors leave. Others vow to stay no matter what.

You’ve been in shelters and found that you couldn’t sleep, were harassed by staff, picked on by other residents, couldn’t take the crowding, found your sobriety threatened by the drug and alcohol use, were made sick by bad air, couldn’t eat the food, were allergic to the perfumes and cigarette smells on people’s clothes, were traumatized when they kicked you out for a rule infraction, were traumatized

Adrienne Lauby is a member of Homeless Action! a group of service providers, church congregants, homeless people and caring individuals. They meet at 9:30 a.m. every Monday morning at First United Methodist Church Santa Rosa.


I am making very strong recommendations that you read these books word for word; then act.  However, I am also looking foe other current thinkers who can contribute to thought.  I am especially looking for a good discussion of what happened at Standing Rock.
I read both Elisabeth Warren (This is Our Fight) and Naomi Klein (No Is Not Enough).
A third highly recommended book I haven’t read yet is Jane Mayer’s Deep State
What else would you recommend? (Remember – current writing.)
I’ll dig deeper on Klein and Warren at some time.  So watch for it – and please comment.
A strange thing that happened is a phenomenon I have observed in this complex electronically connected world.  I posted a detailed and comprehensive discussion of Santa Rosa’s homeless initiative to upgrade Quality of Life (QOL) infractions to misdemeanors.
I forwarded it to city leaders and staff and advocates.
Lo and behold, not one person commented.
Without any judgement or implication, I ask, – I wonder what that means?
My current thinking is – We are living in critical times for our planet.  The solutions are in us together.
Peace be with you.
Gerry La Londe-Berg

Santa Rosa – Infractions to Misdemeanors process critique

Although the City of Santa Rosa did not cite the Santa Rosa Homeless Collective in the staff report or at the City Council there is a clear link to the Santa Rosa Homeless Collective Accountability Committee – Final Report March 29, 2017 Recommendation #3.

The report cites a business survey of 80 businesses. No methodology or references are provided in the report.

More importantly no data over time for the number of infractions is given as to the basis of the Collective recommendation or the Staff Report for the Council.

The lack of linkage and citation may be the belief that members of the City Council do not want the Collective to be cited because there is no Brown Act nexus, hence recommendations provided have a different standard for consideration.  If, however, the Council members did in fact use the report they should at least have discussed it openly.

The Santa Rosa Homeless Collective is also sponsored OrgCode Trainings in Sonoma County, Summit on Homeless Solutions and follow up trainings.

The Santa Rosa Homeless Collective includes the following people: (included based on the web site and appearing in meeting notes or correspondence. Several of these people are no longer in these roles.)


Participants Listed:

Jenny Abramson, Community Development Commission, Sonoma County

Amy Appleton, SHARE Sonoma County

Lea Barron- Thomas, West End Neighborhood Association

Dick Carlile, Carlile-Macy

Susan Castillo, Behavioral Health Department, Sonoma County

Caitlyn Childs, Social Advocates for Youth

Continuum of Care, Sonoma County

Lee Dibble, Santa Rosa Together

Michelle Edwards, Boys & Girls Clubs, Central Sonoma County

Robert Etherington, Santa Rosa Junior College

Exchange Bank

Willow Farey, American Medical Response,

David Guhin, City of Santa Rosa

David Gouin, City of Santa Rosa, Planning and Economic Development

Danial Hage, consultant

Kris Hoyer, Probation Department, Sonoma County

Jennielynn Holmes, Catholic Charities

Chris Keys, Redwood Gospel Mission

Akash Kalia, owner, Palms Inn

Jenni Klose, Santa Rosa City Schools

Mark Krug, consultant

Jim Leddy, Community Development Commission, Sonoma County

Laurie McFadden, American Medical Response

Ray Navarro, Captain, Police Department, Santa Rosa

Ernesto Olivares, Santa Rosa City Council

Kathleen Pozzi, Public Defender’s Office, Sonoma County

Heidi Prottas, Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless,

Railroad Square Business Owner

Tom Robertson, business owner

Janet Rogers, Santa Rosa Metro Chamber

John Sawyer, Santa Rosa City Council

Tom Schwedhelm, Santa Rosa City Council

Hannah Scott, Burbank Housing

Sonoma County Chiefs of Police Association

Brian Staebell, Sonoma County District Attorney’s office

Steve Suter, Fire Department, Santa Rosa

Steve Thomas, Tickler & Thomas, former SRPD

Katrina Thurman, Social Advocates for Youth

Jack Tibbetts, Santa Rosa City Council and St. Vincent de Paul Society

Holly Trujillo, Community Development Commission, Sonoma County

Jeff Weaver, Police Department, Sebastopol

Karen Weeks, Design Review Board, appointed by John Sawyer, Urban Community Partnership worked for the city of Santa Rosa as a housing specialist in the Economic Development and Housing Department developing the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, homeless programs and affordable housing projects

Liana Whisler, jail sergeant, Sheriff’s Office, Sonoma County

Shirley Zane, Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County

On May 2, 2017 the Santa Rosa City Council conducted a study session


This Study Session will provide the City Council with an overview of the City’s existing ordinances regarding quality of life in the City, and of past, current and proposed practices to enforce those ordinances.

The staff report is here:

The video of May 2 QOL session is here:

On August 8 the Santa Rosa City Council approved going forward with reinstating a policy of allowing law enforcement officers to issue misdemeanors rather than just infractions for what are called Quality of Life Infractions (QOL).

The staff report is notable in that it is little changed from the May report. It is here:

Gerry La Londe-Berg testimony 08/08/17 [Over 3 minute version]

“The City of Santa Rosa should not change its laws considering people who are homeless until it has done everything it can possibly do to mitigate the situation. Increasing penalties penalizes many people for no good reason.  The law as suggested for change today does not serve the people who we are trying to get off the streets and make it to productive citizenship. With acknowledgment of what is being planned, increasing the instruments of control are not the best step.  To be fair the data must first indicate this is the proper step.

Please identify on the City’s web site all the public bathrooms open during the day and which are open at night.

These particular changes to the city regulations were developed by the Santa Rosa Homeless Collective.  Transparency is what is needed.  It is unclear to me the genesis of who thought this would be a good idea.  I would like to have a conversation with them.  Better yet, I would like them to have a conversation which is documented with people who are homeless and who are suffering and who are standing by while you make such a decision as you consider tonight.

Homelessness in Santa Rosa will not be solved by increasing costs at the jail and increasing costs to the individuals who have no money and are therefore living homeless on the streets of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.

Exactly what do you hope to accomplish with this law?

The 25 or 28 goals you have spelled out or not prominent enough everywhere. You have not achieved a level of transparency which would tell me the Catholic Charities is doing a good job; I know personally from close observation that Catholic Charities is doing good job and has done so since 1985.

If any Community can solve homelessness, the lack of housing for people who need housing, Santa Rosa and Sonoma County can do it they can set the example for everyone everywhere at least in the United States.

I call upon the city council and the alumni of leadership Santa Rosa and the advocates who are both living on the streets and helping to support the people who are living on the streets we must all come together to find out the 98% that we can agree on.”


Here’s the video of Tuesday’s 08/08/17 hearing:
Presentation begins at 1:22:18
Council Questions begins at 1:31:30
Public Comment begins at 1:52:44
Council Discussion begins at 3:01:40 – 3:36:23

As of 170816 Homeless Action! Has signatures opposed to this move of 818 people on an on-line petition and 97 who signed personally.

Perhaps we should all study the extensive actions under the Homeless Emergency and not artificially separate QOL issues from Homelessness,

RESOLUTION – EXTENSION OF PROCLAMATION OF LOCAL HOMELESS EMERGENCY RECOMMENDATION: It is recommended by the Housing and Community Services Department that the Council, by resolution, approve an extension of Resolution No. 28839 which formally proclaimed a local homeless emergency within Santa Rosa. Regular Meeting Agenda and Summary Report City of Santa Rosa Page 6 of 11 City Council AUGUST 15, 2017 Staff Report Resolution Presentation Attachments

Staff Report on Homeless Emergency 08/15/17It is impressive what has been done.

The next step, according to the Sean McGuin, City Manager, is to return to council with an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office and a request for money that is not in the budget.

Notes after the August 8, 2017 meeting:

The final outcome was that they will go ahead with the change. They were not scheduled to vote, they were just reviewing a policy renewal which they are now billing as simply a return to practice prior to 2012 as they said at the May 2nd meeting. The large number of Advocates was not only diverse and well-spoken but they covered a lot of territory. It seems to me now there was a major misunderstanding and miscommunication because the city staff is presenting things in a rather broad brush manner. So they lump together weed abatement and urinating in public. Most of the council members including Chris Rogers and Jack Tibbetts we’re supportive of the change and stated their concerns.

The staff report from 08/08/17 is almost exactly the same as the staff report from May 2nd with no changes and in particular there is no data of any kind presented.  Somewhat surprisingly Ernesto Olivares even did a long statement concerning the need for data which would give us accountability.  Their basic position is that this is a tool to be used which will only be used in problematic recurrent situations.

Without Baseline transparent data there is no way to judge success.  The City of Santa Rosa has this capacity but fails to use it in circumstances where it is not convenient – even though is is already collected in various data systems.

See: Tackling Homelessness with Data: The City of Santa Rosa, California


Another somewhat false hope that was brought up by most of them was the idea that restorative justice practices could be used in the Misdemeanor Court cases of people.  From my opinion if they can’t have subtlety and accuracy in the ordinances that they have, they’re not giving the judges the tools that they need to understand the intent of the laws. Judges have no recollection, or even consideration, of compassionate statements of intent made during City Council meetings.

So basically, the City of Santa Rosa is talking out of both ends of the spectrum and they think that they’re trying to do something useful while they add a level of threat.  Without accurate transparent baseline data there really is no way to measure success.


And because you read to the end you found the photos.

The Faces of the Housing crisis

What Homeless Hill looked like before the organized encampment – Note the dates

The recent encampment – From Greg Fearon



Housing Note from First Sunday of Advent

161127 Press Democrat pages

The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA on Sunday November 27, 2016 had a group of articles which I would like to tie together in this post.

Starting with the historian Gaye LeBaron (T1),  she reviews the housing picture over the years in Sonoma County.  The most notable thing for me is her afterthought in which she says,
Much of this ‘looking at the past’ business of mine is celebrating progress, marveling and how we ever get along without so many things … We celebrate progress on so many fronts.”    “Not so with housing. The broad question of shelter.  We have so much left to learn.”
The second article entitled “Seeking to Aid an Aging populace” (A3) highlights the number of residents over the age of 60. There are significant activities going on to identify and support our elders.    My observation is that these efforts are not new because I know I helped in them in the 1980s. I appreciate all of the people today who are still concerned and active in helping the elders of our community.  I am rapidly becoming one.
One of the highlights in the county right now is SHARE Sonoma County, a program affiliated with Petaluma People Services Center which serves the entire County.  SHARE provides home screening, matching, and support.
In response to this article the director of SHARE Sonoma County, Amy Appleton, wrote the following:
“I’m passionate about providing services for our aging population here in Sonoma County, which includes creating affordable housing through home sharing as indicated in your article with Ms. Kaljian.  I’m very grateful for your article and attention to this incredibly vulnerable and growing population.”  
“Ms. Kaljian and Ms. McBride, more than most, know the isolation and vulnerability that exists for many of our aging population. SHARE Sonoma County has created a robust housing solution and our SHARE community continues to grow rapidly (we are in ten cities thus far and expanding). It’s a beautiful process to bring a carefully screened person in need of housing into an aging person’s home, who can help provide support for the owner who otherwise might not be able to remain home safely and thrive.”
The 3rd article, on the front page of the paper, is entitled, “Vacation rentals both a boon and a nuisance”.   On the one hand, after citing and articulating the problem, the article quotes Daniel Sanchez, the government affairs director of the North Bay Association of Realtors. He does not see this is a problem.   He talks about what a good thing it is. This is from a person who is very strongly against  rent control.  He would have individual landlords raise rent as much as they want, and, take inventory off the market for local citizens at the same time.
Below I summarize the county data for the number of rentals, and notably for the taxes lost to these activities if the owners paid their fair share. [Based on the Article.]
” flouted the rules for years by not registering with the county and paying the tax.”
“Supervisors this month approved an agreement with Airbnb requiring the guest-hosting site to collect bed taxes beginning and hand the revenue over to the county.”  [What about the back taxes?]
Number of vacation rental units
Taxes foregone
Sonoma County 2015
Sonoma County 2016
1,333 [+54%]
County including Coastal region
Lodging inventory
Vacation rental houses
3,355 (24%)
$5,300,000 (43%)
$500,000 0 $1,300,000
(or up to $2,800,000 by one estimate)
Petaluma 2015
21 permitted, 100 operating
$19,000 [12%]
$143,000 [88% foregone]
Sonoma extended a ban
47 warnings and 9 citations in 2014;  Kevin Burke, “Rentals can produce up to $4,800 a week in income and there is often a cat-and-mouse game on websites that makes it difficult to pinpoint the owners.”
I cannot understand the County position that identifying and holding accountable the owners, is so hard, since the owners are listed in the County tax rolls. 
The fourth article of notes (A3) is entitled “Building Hope for homeless”.  It describes Harold’s Utilitarian Transitional Shelters (HUTS) project of Homeless Action!.  It is a practical and very specific means to help individuals have a space of their own and get out of the weather.
Not included in the article is a description of the survey recently conducted by the Community Development commission which shows that the people of Sonoma County are strongly in favor of helping individual homeless people and they have a very good sense of what the actual cause of homelessness is. (CDC Homeless Survey conducted September 2016; link when available)
I appreciate the journalism which went into developing all of these stories I hoped for an opinion piece, no wait I just wrote one, which describes how these are all related.
As a community of people we have the knowledge and the energy and the money to address all of these issues if we work together in transparency and in democracy and in community.
A key shortcoming I see in the Press Democrat reporting, on this and other things, is that they don’t include links to key government source documents and web sites which would help us all be more informed.  Similarly, they could add better visual summaries and charts.  I look forward to when they do that.  Positive regards nonetheless.
Credit due to:
Gaye LeBaron, Press Democrat columnist
Staff Writer Clark Mason at 707-521-5214 or clark. mason@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@clarkmas
Staff Writer Paul Payne at 707-568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ppayne.
 Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 707-521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @srcitybeat.
Gerry La Londe-Berg, poet, MSW 1983
[Transparency note: I am a member of the board of Shared Housing and Resource Exchange (SHARE) California]

Quotes from: Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger

Quotes from Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger, 12 Hachette Book Group, New York, NY, May 2016.
<><><> My reflections:
There is something fundamentally appealing and reasonable about the premise of Tribe, which is that we have much to learn from the community life of American Indians, as we understand it.  It was egalitarian, and it was non acquisitive as modern society has become. (Unfortunately, the actual traditions of many tribal peoples were lost to the ravages of the newcomers.)
Junger pays particular attention to the American Indian history of the upper northeast area of the United States, although he makes other less detailed references.
In the second part of the book he described the experiences of military veterans of U.S. wars.  His thoughts and observations are valuable in considering how we all support each other.
(I keep wanting to say “Go Local” because power derives from personal contact and commitment to shared values.  But that is for a different post.  )
I extracted quotes as I read.  I find them to be useful.  For me, Junger convolutes masculine roles and leadership.  He spends little time of analysis on female leadership roles.  In the mid section the discussion of types of leadership in a mine disaster also is used to argue that strong leaders early in the disaster cited were the masculine roles and  compassionate collegial leadership later on was the feminine side. I think we sell ourselves short by relegating compassion and collaboration to the feminine.  Feminine and masculine aspects are fundamentally different and we would do well to appreciate them rather than compare them.
There are other writers concerning community whom I may address at another time, such as Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier.  Nevertheless, in the face of a national and international politics as we have them today, there is something to be said for recreating the community spirit in which humans have developed for hundreds of thousands and perhaps a million years.
<><><> Quotes
  • How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage?
  •  A tribe would be defined as the people you feel compelled to share the last of your food with.
  • Humans don’t mind hardship. In fact they thrive on it.  What they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.  It is time for that to end.
  • Indians almost never ran away to White Society but many of the early Europeans moved to Indian Society.
  • Out on the fringes people tended to do what they wanted.
  • One of the women said, We had no master to oversee or drive us.  So we could work as we pleased, as leisurely as we pleased.
  • Cruelty in other words was very much the norm for that era and the native tribes of North America were no exception.
  • It’s possible that many people feel affluence and safety simply are not a good trade for freedom.
  • In a nomadic cultures surplus accumulation is kept to a minimum.
  • Early humans would most likely have lived in a nomadic bands of around 50 people. And they would have done almost everything in the company of others. They would have almost never been alone.
  • First Agriculture, and then industry, changed two fundamental things about the human experience. The accumulation of personal property allowed people to make more and more individualistic choices about their lives and those choices unavoidably diminished group efforts toward a common good.   And as a society modernized people found themselves able to live independently from any communal group.  A person living in a modern city or suburb can for the first time in history go through an entire day, or an entire life, mostly encountering complete strangers.  They can be surrounded by others and yet feel deeply dangerously alone.
  • A wealthy person who has never had to rely on help and resources from his community is leading a privileged life that falls way outside more than a million years of human experience.
  • Self-determination Theory holds that human beings need three basic things in order to be content:
    • they need to feel competent at what they do;
    • they need to feel authentic in their lives; and
    • they need to feel connected to others.
  • These values are considered intrinsic to human happiness and far outweigh extrinsic values such as beauty, money, and status.
  • As modern society reduced the role of community it simultaneously elevated the role of authority. The two are uneasy companions and as one goes up the other tends to go down.
  • In foraging communities one of the most common traits was the absence of major wealth disparities between individuals; another was the absence of arbitrary authority.
  • Authority is almost impossible to impose on the unwilling.
  • In current day foraging groups, group execution (killing the offender) is one of the most common ways of punishing males who try to claim a disproportionate amount of the group’s resources.
  • Boehms research led him to believe that much of the evolutionary basis for moral development moral behavior stems from group pressure.
  • Oxytocin creates a feedback loop of good feeling and group loyalty that ultimately leads members to self sacrifice to promote group welfare.
  • Most travel and subsistence level societies would inflict severe punishments on anyone who caused the kind of damage which the financial institutions inflicted upon the world. The fact that there was so little consequence shows how completely detribalized the country has become.
  • Democratic revolutions are just a formalized version of the sort of group action that coalitions of senior males have used throughout the ages to confront greed and abuse.
  • The beauty and the tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situations that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.
  • What would you risk dying for and for whom is perhaps the most profound question a person can ask themselves.

Steven Aftergood’s review of The Ethics of Invention: Technology and the Human Future by Sheila Jasanoff. (Nature.com)

062016 Candles on the table Santa Cruz (6)

Steven Aftergood hosts the excellent Secrecy News blog/e-mail.  He reviewed The Ethics of Invention: Technology and the Human Future by Sheila Jasanoff.

See also Leo Willner’s comments on Big Data

From Nature.com August 17, 2016

Technological innovation in fields from genetic engineering to cyberwarfare is accelerating at a breakneck pace, but ethical deliberation over its implications has lagged behind. Thus argues Sheila Jasanoff — who works at the nexus of science, law and policy — in The Ethics of Invention, her fresh investigation. Not only are our deliberative institutions inadequate to the task of oversight, she contends, but we fail to recognize the full ethical dimensions of technology policy. She prescribes a fundamental reboot.

Ethics in innovation has been given short shrift, Jasanoff says, owing in part to technological determinism, a semi-conscious belief that innovation is intrinsically good and that the frontiers of technology should be pushed as far as possible. This view has been bolstered by the fact that many technological advances have yielded financial profit in the short term, even if, like the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons once used as refrigerants, they have proved problematic or ruinous in the longer term.

There are contingent issues. Numerous government and professional ethical advisory bodies already exist, looking at research with human subjects and specific fields of innovation. But they tend to have a technocratic orientation that focuses on cost–benefit analysis narrowly construed, with an emphasis on those factors that can be quantified or assigned market value. Intangibles, such as worker morale or the health of communities, are often neglected. Meanwhile, technological disasters such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico lay bare flaws in the conception, design or implementation of technology, at least after the fact. But because such failures are by definition unintended, they are typically exempted from deep ethical concern by planners and regulators.

What we too often fail to grapple with, writes Jasanoff, is that technology is value-laden from start to finish. From the innovator’s intuition of a desired end to the development of the practical means of achieving that end — as well as its application, distribution, ownership and ultimate impact on society and the world at large — choices about technology are inextricably intertwined with value judgements at every stage.

Jasanoff argues for an entirely new body of ethical discourse, going beyond technical risk assessment to give due weight to economic, cultural, social and religious perspectives. The Ethics of Invention is an eloquent meditation on these problems. Jasanoff thoughtfully discusses the limits of conventional risk analysis, with its biases in favour of innovation and quantification, and looks at the challenges posed by specific developments in biotechnology, genetic engineering and information technology for surveillance. The book helps to pinpoint recurring patterns in contemporary technological debates and to frame what is at stake in their outcomes.

But the solution to the “deep democratic deficit” in current technology policy is hard to articulate and harder still to implement, and Jasanoff does not provide a clear road map. An attempt to take all relevant ethical perspectives into account may be a prescription for stalemate because, as she notes, “many basic issues of right and wrong remain deeply contested”. These include questions such as when life begins and ends, what constitutes human dignity and how the scope of human responsibility to the global environment and to future generations can be defined. Sometimes, intensive ethical deliberation leads not to consensus, but to its opposite. After years of study and public debate, for example, the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal, India — when toxic gases leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant, killing thousands — now “stubbornly resists any coherent narrative of causes and effects” owing to complex political, legal and jurisdictional conflicts. At other times, deliberation can yield multiple, disparate concurrences: different policies on human embryonic-stem-cell research have been adopted by the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, for instance.

“Experts’ imaginations are often circumscribed by the very nature of their expertise.”

Yet even if an ideal ethical discourse is out of reach, Jasanoff persuasively argues, we can do better than we have done. The impacts of many technologies in fields such as energy production, robotics or knowledge management extend far beyond their operators or beneficiaries, so it is necessary to find a way to solicit and consider the views of affected populations. Scientists increasingly recognize this (J. Kuzma Nature 531, 165–167; 2016). A reliance on technologists alone, the author opines, would be an error because “experts’ imaginations are often circumscribed by the very nature of their expertise”. The US congressional Office of Technology Assessment, closed in 1995, used to independently evaluate a wide range of technology problems. Now viewed with nostalgia by critics who lament the scientific illiteracy of much of contemporary politics, it receives only qualified admiration from Jasanoff. She concludes that, in several cases, the organization “failed to carve out the space of neutral expertise that its designers had hoped for” and instead “became one more loud, discordant note in the ongoing cacophonous debate”.

Some of the most intriguing portions of the book deal with the personally transformative effects of technology. “Our inventions change the world, and the reinvented world changes us,” as Jasanoff puts it. Technology determines our sense of the possible and can enhance or diminish our natural abilities, even altering brain size and function (R. McKinlay Nature 531, 573–575; 2016). Our technological choices are both reflections of who we are and stepping stones towards who we will become: emerging technologies may yet redefine what it means to be human. Depending on what we value most — power, knowledge, sustainability, conviviality or convenience — some technologies will serve us well and others must be excluded. Ethics is central to the process of choosing between them.

Expanding the scope of ethical deliberation over new technology may seem like a daunting prospect bound to impede innovation. It will undoubtedly raise questions more quickly than they can be answered. But experience suggests that many such questions will be worth asking.


The Ethics of Invention: Technology and the Human Future

Sheila Jasanoff W. W. Norton: 2016 ISBN: 9780393078992

Safe Parking Program – Summary

Homeless Action is a group of individuals who are striving to explore practical short and long term solutions to the needs of our sisters and brothers who do not have decent housing.

See also the Sonoma County Task Force for the Homeless and the county Continuum of Care for thorough coverage of these issues.

This was the original concept of Safe Parking.  Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa has developed this into a program described here.

The Press Democrat April 15, 2014 

What is Safe Parking?
Homeless individuals often find it necessary to sleep in their vehicles when there are no other alternatives. However, sleeping in vehicles on the street is frequently either prohibited by law or is unsafe.

The immediate objective of Safe Parking is to provide safe places to park and sleep so that participants are not in danger of citation or harassment. The long-term goal of Safe Parking is to assist participants in securing permanent housing.

How it Works:
Generally, the spaces at each site are limited in number and are specifically designated. Pre-screened participants are assigned a specific spot and, in the case of private locations, are given placards to display on their vehicles. Participants follow rules about arrival and departure times, personal behavior and care of the site and any facilities they have been given access to (such as bathrooms). The emphasis is on maintaining a low-profile that does not impact other operations at the site or disturb its neighbors.

Public Spaces: A county or city may designate a publically-owned property for Safe Parking. This can be for a limited or extended period of time and can be administered by itself or by another agency. Here in Sonoma County, such a pilot program is underway (Winter 2014) at the Fairgrounds where 50 spaces have been set aside and are being administered by Catholic Charities.

Private Spaces: Churches, non-profits and businesses may also allow Safe Parking on their properties. The number of spaces offered at each location is generally fewer than at public locations–usually one to seven–depending on the site. Permitted hours of parking and other rules are tailored to meet the requirements of the specific site or business. Some businesses and organizations allow Safe Parking on an informal basis; some establish a relationship with a specific social service and provide spaces only to its clients; and others participate in centralized programs where help is offered to participants from the entire community.  See here.

Centralized Safe Parking Programs: A Centralized Safe Parking Program can serve either public or private sites or both. In such programs, screening is an important component of the process. Prospective participants do not come directly to the sites but apply with the administering agency. The agency’s counselors evaluate the participants’ needs, determine what other social services might be of benefit to them and decide whether the candidates are likely to be successful as Safe Parking participants. Only then are individuals directed to the parking site. Likewise, the agency is available to follow up if problems arise. In Santa Rosa, Catholic Charities has been selected to play this administrating role.

If You Participate:
If you or your organization is considering participating, you will have many questions and concerns not addressed in this over-view. We would be happy to meet with you to answer your questions and shape a program that works for your site. Thank you for considering being a Safe Parking provider.

Sonoma County Private Safe Parking Program

Concept paper


Due to concern expressed by many people in our county, the Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless and a related group, Homeless Action! sought new solutions for shelter and other help for our county’s 4,200 homeless people. One solution is to operate a program to provide safe overnight parking on private property for individuals and families who are living in their vehicles. There is a separate and similar effort to develop a parking model on Public Property (e.g. County or City).
This document as well as the related information for the participants outlines how private parking places may be provided for vehicle dwellers.


Private property owners can give written permission for homeless people to sleep on their property without any concern for laws that affect vehicle use on streets and other public areas.
The program envisions various organizations, such as congregations and businesses, offering spaces at dispersed locations in the greater Sonoma County area. Your organization could be one of those who offer free nightly parking for one to four vehicles. (It was recommended by the program in San Luis Obispo to keep the number small for any one location for such a private property program.) Your organization could provide the level of stability needed by vehicle dwellers to effectively make positive changes in their lives and become re-employed and re-housed as quickly as possible. In addition to parking, homeless service providers in Sonoma County will offer some social services and case management to help them achieve this end.


Churches, non-profits and businesses interested in participating in the program agree to a basic set of rules for the vehicle dwellers on their property. The participating institutions are free to augment or edit the rules as they see fit in accordance with County and/or City codes.

Homeless individuals seeking to participate in this program will receive an initial assessment provided by a local homeless service provider. Local service providers may also work with these individuals as clients to establish long-term goals and housing plans.

If no service provider is available, your church, organization or business can screen people. Typical screening discussions for parking space include the following:

  • Does the person without shelter understand and agree to work within the guidelines of this program?
  • Is there is a desire to work with local social service agencies?

After the intake, the participant will be issued a signed placard with a copy of the guidelines and allowed to park overnight at an assigned location.

There is no formal limit to the amount of time that a participant may occupy a site. That is something each parking site sponsor can determine. Some participants will take advantage of the service for a short period of time; others occupy a parking space for up to a year or more, depending on their needs. Participants who are not willing to abide by the rules of the program, may be referred to social service agencies rather than offered a parking site.

A sample of rules / guidelines is included below.

If your organization is interested in this concept then Homeless Action members can send some suggestions for the Parking site sponsor to select the specific spaces in their lot, how many, safety considerations, etc.


In addition to these rules, all clients should be asked to sign a release of information and a waiver of liability towards your organization, indicating that neither party is responsible for damages to the vehicle, and allowing us to share client information.

Liability insurance for each Safe Parking lot location is the purview of the Parking site provider. Consultation with your Insurance provider is recommended.

In closing, we hope you will consider participating in this program. If you have any questions about this introductory packet, please call Adrienne Lauby at (707) 795-2890 and adrienne@sonic.net , or Gerry La Londe-Berg at (707)569-4280 and sonomabuzz@gmail.com.

If your organization would like to communicate with one of our churches or non-profit organizations that are currently working with us we would be happy to connect you with those organizations. It is important to gain various perspectives on the program in order to make a balanced decision that is in the best interest of your organization, while also thinking about the needs of homeless individuals in our community who are forced to live in their vehicles.

Web resources:

http://www.newbeginningscounselingcenter.org/news.html => A link to a Rolling Stone article about the Santa Barbara Program this Sonoma County plan is modeled on.

The following document will be signed by each person staying at a site.

The parking site provider is only agreeing to give the participants a place to park. Below are the guidelines that the client must agree to in order to participate in the Safe Parking Program.

1. Guns, firearms, or other weapons are prohibited. Failure to abide by this rule will result in immediate removal from the assigned location.
2. Aggressive behaviors such as shouting or physical violence toward others will not be tolerated. Failure to abide by this rule will result in immediate removal from the assigned location. Alcohol and drug use is discouraged.
3. Camping tarps or camping equipment beyond the top of the vehicle are prohibited.
4. Cooking outside the vehicle is absolutely not allowed.
5. All trash will be disposed of either in designated garbage bins or offsite. The area will be kept tidy.
6. Loud music is not permitted.
7. Parking lot spaces are for sleeping use only.
8. Overnight stays will be limited to the hours designated by the host organization. Adherence to in and out times is mandatory.
9. Users must keep barking dogs in their vehicle at all times. Animals must be kept on a leash at all times on the property. Animal waste must be must be picked up immediately and disposed of properly.
10. Under absolutely no conditions will the client(s) invite other vehicle dwellers to occupy the site.
11. If bathroom facilities are provided, showering or bathing is not permitted.
12. The owner of the parking lot is not liable for damages caused by a third party to the parked vehicle or its occupants.
13. Absolutely no more than one vehicle allowed per individual or family staying at the site.
14. Absolutely no use of the facility services without explicit written permission of the owner, i.e., ELECTRICITY, water, trash or any of the hoses at the site. Failure to comply with this rule will result in immediate termination from our program.
15. Please respect the privacy of the surrounding neighbors and their property.
16. Children will be watched and kept safe at All Times — No Exceptions!!!!!
17. Notify us immediately if you are leaving for more than 7 days. If you have been issued a key to a site facility, please return it when you leave.
Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in termination from the Safe Parking Program.

Each local site reserves the right to terminate participation in the Safe Parking Program at any time, for any reason. Warnings may be issued to participants for minor infractions, e.g., leaving the lot late, etc.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the participating providers of parking spaces do not discriminate against people with disabilities. Please discuss your access needs during the intake interview. We will attempt to meet them.

I / We, Accept and agree to respect, acknowledge and adhere to the rules, policy, and procedure; guidelines and regulations that are stated above and will accept full responsibility of the consequences of the outcome if there is a violation to this contract.

(Signature of Participant) (date)

(Signature of Parking Space Provider ) (date)

Without a place to call home in Sonoma County, California

Everyone needs a place to sleep, to prepare food, and to relax to be ready for the next day.

This entry offers an overview of people, their needs and services in Sonoma County, California.

There are three key organizing coalitions who are trying to resolve this problem.

The Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless

The Sonoma County Community Development Commission and the organizing effort it houses known as the Continuum of Care.

The Continuum of Care is the local manifestation of the federal government’s efforts throughout the country

The appropriate place to start is by watching the most recent report on homelessness in Sonoma County.

Ten Year plan and toolbox.

A PowerPoint is located at So Co Homeless Data Sourcebook 2013.




The return of Who Cares and So What

Who cares and so what was the title made up by Dee Wischman from Catholic charities in the 1980s

I first put up a lot of material here concerning leadership and social networking and other thoughts. For the last year the site has been, let us say, malfunctioning.

Now, it is back.

I hope to use it as a place to explain some things that I see. I hope to use it to enlighten people. And, I hope it’s interesting for you.