Two U.S. Marine recruiters who popped into the Sebastopol branch of the Sonoma County Public Library this Jan. 27 got a chilly reception from local resident Gary Knowlton. It seems that the two Marines, clad in full dress uniform, paused at the library for a couple of hours in order to chat up a pair of potential recruits, according to librarian Del Guidinger, who added that “they caused no disruption.” Knowlton doesn’t see it the same way. “I have problems with recruiting people for killing in the public library,” he told the Bohemian. However, Knowlton appears to be standing on thin ice as far as his complaint is concerned. “It’s perfectly fine for anyone to be in Sonoma County’s public libraries,” says director Tom Trice. “That’s what the library’s all about.” Trice added that if the Marines want to set up an informational booth, that’s another story. Such requests are rare and granted only on a case-by-case basis. The local office of the Marine recruiter could not be reached for comment.
Last week, the Rohnert Park City Council approved a controversial $344,000 water supply assessment (WSA) study despite objections from local water activists, including the OWL Foundation, that the city is rewriting its groundwater history, as reported previously in these pages ( Dec. 8). The new study concludes that the city’s groundwater supplies, in conjunction with water from the Sonoma County Water Agency’s (SCWA) aqueduct, are enough to support Rohnert Park’s planned development of 4,500 houses and 5 million square feet of commercial space through 2020. However, as critics of the city’s water usage have noted, the new assessment contradicts Rohnert Park’s own year-2000 environmental impact report, as well as warnings from SCWA that future increases in aqueduct supplies are in jeopardy, because of legal challenges from groups like Friends of the Eel River that threaten to curtail the water agency’s Eel River diversion. Meanwhile, the completion of a meta-analysis of the Santa Rosa Plain by the United States Geological Survey remains several years away, according to the USGS. Will Rohnert Park wait for the results of that study, said to be the most comprehensive to date, before it commits to building? That hardly seems likely, which means the OWL Foundation and other activists may be forced to sue in order to stop any new projects. “We don’t know what the next step will be,” says Foundation president H. R. Downs. “I’m still shocked that the city council passed the WSA. There’s a tremendous disconnect going on.”
From the February 2-8, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.