Graton Land Use Forum

WWW Annual Sonoma County Land Use Policy Meeting

On February 16, 2019 the community came together for an open, fact filled discussion on land use policies. Sonoma County planners are rewriting the General Plan for 2020, still tweaking cannabis regulations, winery event regulations (postponed) and the Local Coastal Plan due this spring. These policies will affect the county for generations to come.

Speakers included Laura Waldbaum, Robert Guthrie, Ernie Carpenter, Rue Furch, Tom Conlon and Annie Dobbs-Kramer. These speakers have decades of experience in our county on land use policies. The event was free.

Wine & Water Watch is a Sonoma County Tomorrow group.



How to get involved now for optimum input and what we need to watch for.  “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” Equality and many voices will make our county great.



Graton Community Club

8996 Graton Rd Graton, CA.

February 16, 2019 1pm-3pm

ERNIE CARPENTER BIO: Fiscal conservative and social liberal.

Ernie Carpenter received his BA from San Francisco State and Master of Social Work at Berkeley in 1969. Ernie has lived in Sonoma County since 1969. He is a psychiatric social worker and an original Social Advocates for Youth staff. Ernie served on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors 1981-1997 representing the West Sonoma County. He is a former Coastal Commissioner, Planning Commissioner, Supervisor and current muckraker. He has an ongoing interest in progressive drug policies and government and currently works as a consultant on environment and government.



RUE FURCH BIO:Rue has worked for years with local farm groups, seeking to protect family farms. She was Project Manager for the Sonoma County Farmlands Group and has worked with the California Association of Family Farmers. She was a leader of the Santa Rosa and Sebastopol Urban Growth Boundary campaigns, which fought to protect agricultural land from city sprawl.Her belief in neighborhood-friendly planning led to involvement in Courtside Village, the first Santa Rosa mixed use development to create a complete community of homes, shops, and parks. She also worked with the Santa Rosa Neighborhood Coalition, Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Community Foundation Advisory Committee. She was a moderator of the Marin-Sonoma County Transportation Committee and a member of the Hwy. 101 Corridor Advisory Committee.

Rue has served as a county planning commission for 16 years and has a reputation for doing her homework and asking tough questions. She was appointed by two West County supervisors, and has twice been the Commission’s chairperson. She recently chaired a statewide conference on responsible water use and succeeded in prioritizing water resources in the county’s new general plan. Among her many awards,

Rue was named California Woman of the Year by the state Assembly, 2006 Upstream Swimmer Award by Sonoma County Conservation Action, Environmentalist of the Year by the Sonoma County Conservation Council, County Planning Commissioner of the Year by the California County Planning Commissioners’ Association and received the Agent of Change Award from Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa.



LAURA WALDBAUM BIO: Laura Waldbaum in an environmental activist. For the past 20 years she has been working to implement changes to County policies and influence land use decisions to protect fish habitat in the Mark West Creek Watershed. She has been involved with litigation opposing several County land use decisions, has served on the County’s “working group” to modify the Vineyard & Orchard Site Development Ordinance and is currently a member of Sonoma County’s Cannabis Advisory Group representing the environment. 





Robert Guthrie spoke on the work of Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods.



Thomas ConlonTom Conlon is an applied anthropologist and an expert in energy-efficiency social marketing. His clients have included Southern California Edison, the California Energy Commission, the Electric Power Research Institute, and The World Bank (Jamaica). He is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz and Sonoma State University, and has founded several ‘green’ businesses, including one acquired by Autodesk in 2008. A Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Tom represented District 1 on the Sonoma County Climate Action 2020 Stakeholder Advisory Group, and he has served on the boards of other local organizations including the Economic Development Board’s Business Environmental Alliance, the Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley, and Transition Sonoma Valley. In the late 1980’s he helped initiate the Organic Market News and Information Service and early drafts of the California Organic Foods Act (1990). Tom provides strategic, technical, and website support to Wine and Water Watch.




Annie Dobbs-Kramer: 

Community Organizer | North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP)

Annie Dobbs-Kramer is a community organizer with the North Bay Organizing Project in Sonoma Country California. She has been organizing for the last 9 years. Her work centers on the intersection between environmental and social justice organizing to build deep democracy in our communities. The main focus of her organizing is creating space for women to empower themselves.

NBOP is an grassroots, multi-racial, and multi-issue organization comprised of over 20 faith, labor, environmental, student and community-based organizations based in Sonoma County. In this conversation we will learn about their campaign, Roots, Roof, and Refuge, and why they created the women-led Justice for the Environment Taskforce to embark on a campaign for the Rights of Nature.

The Rights of Nature identifies ecosystems and natural communities not merely as property, but as entities that have an independent right to exist and flourish. Laws recognizing the rights of nature thus transform the status of natural communities and ecosystems from things to be owned into rights-bearing entities with privileges that can be enforced by people, governments, and communities.

Annie spoke “no net” (i.e., w/o any slides).