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10.27.10

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Rocking the Vote

By Haley Sansom


With the chaos that comes with election season, the focus on which candidates are going to do what for our cities, counties and states prevails. While attention is fixed on campaign promises for the future, it's also easy to forget that the current boards of supervisors are still meeting, voting and making changes—sometimes in full knowledge that their clock is ticking.

With some North Bay supervisors finishing their term, boards have been pushing issues to be voted on before the election. Sonoma County board members have approved two controversial land-use proposals in the last three weeks. On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the board tentatively approved the grumble-inducing Dutra asphalt plant project. This project, which has caused controversy among board members and is being met by great opposition from city residents, moves the Dutra asphalt plant from its previous location on South Petaluma Boulevard to a location south of Petaluma, along the Petaluma River and near Shollenberger Park.

On Oct. 19, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a similar project. By a 3-2 vote, the board voted in favor of a proposed rock quarry located west of Cotati off of Roblar Road. It is projected that the quarry will produce 11 million cubic yards of rock. While the rock is projected to generate $60 million over the next 20 years, opponents are concerned about its location. The quarry will be located near a former landfill, allowing for possible groundwater contamination. Those in opposition are also voicing concern about airborne toxins the project will produce. Proponents argue that the quarry will benefit local infrastructure, which currently uses rock shipped from Canada.

At the end of September, the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved a compromise involving the San Rafael Rock Quarry operator and a neighboring coalition. The resolution approved surface-mining operations so long as the land is restored once mining is completed. The mining hours will be reduced and air quality will be monitored. The plan also calls for the repaving of San Pedro Road to McNear's Beach.

Although each board is rushing to sort out issues before Nov. 2, Sonoma County board members have seen and approved the most proposals in recent weeks. These last-minute proposals are a clear indication that election day is right around the corner. Let the chaos begin!


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