I missed the deadline to submit questions to the 18 citizens who have applied for an appointment to the Santa Rosa City Council. Given that the deadline was Tuesday evening, you missed it, too.
But that doesn't mean our inquiring minds no longer want to know, does it?
So, in the hope that one or two of the six sitting council members will get some of these queries in during next week's interviews, and with apologies to Leilani Clark (who posted her own tongue-in-cheek list of questions on the North Bay Bohemian website long before the deadline &#8211; Pliny the Younger in public water fountains? Aye!), here's what I'd like to know about the person who may or may not determine the direction of the City Council for the next two years:
Where do you live? (The city clerk said she will redact home addresses from applications, which is reasonable for privacy's sake. But the lack of geographical diversity on the council is a serious and perennial issue, and applicants should publicly reveal the neighborhood in which they live.)
What point of view and life experience do you bring to this group that is not already represented among the six elected members of the council? (Let's see if we can find someone who will broaden the council's perspective about life in Santa Rosa, not just another vote for the status quo.)
Other than you and your family, name five individuals who support your appointment, and two organizations. (Sitting council members likely already know who backs their eventual appointee, but the public should know, too. And if an applicant has never belonged to or participated in an organization &#8211; be it a social club or a sports team or a business group or a labor union &#8211; enough to gain its support, why should he be appointed to participate in the group that governs our city?)
Rank these 10 city issues in order of importance to you: Public safety pensions. Bicycle-pedestrian bridge over Highway 101. Potholes. Crime. Business development. Roseland annexation. Big-box stores. Parking tickets. Mixed-use development. Recreation and parks.
If you ran for council unsuccessfully in the past (at least four applicants did), please tell Santa Rosa voters why they made a mistake in not electing you. And if you never ran for council before, please explain why you deserve to become a member of this body without any input from the voters.
Applicant interviews will begin Monday at City Hall and are open to the public.
Chris Coursey's blog offers a community commentary and forum, from issues of the day to the ingredients of life in Sonoma County.
Crisis Care: The new mental institutions
Sonoma County has a chronic shortage of psychiatric hospital beds. As as a result, a growing number of mentally ill residents are ending up in local emergency rooms and in the jail system. A four-part series, run on four consecutive Sundays, examines the causes and ramifications of the current state of the county’s mental health system, and the people who are impacted the most.
Aug. 6 — Hospitals: The closure of two psychiatric hospitals in Sonoma County has left a gaping hole.
Today — Solutions: Sonoma County explores ways to improve services to people suffering from severe mental illness.
Aug. 27 — Your response: Readers share their stories about Sonoma County's mental health system.
Ongoing coverage: www.pressdemocrat.com/crisiscare
Share your story
We want to hear about your experience with local psychiatric emergency services. What do you do when you or a loved one faces a mental health crisis? Have you or a loved one sat in a hospital bed waiting to be transferred to an out-of-county psychiatric hospital or other mental health facility? Have you or a loved one received psychiatric services in the Sonoma County Jail’s mental health unit? Please send a brief account of your experience to Martin Espinoza at email@example.com.