January 13, 2015:
In January 2014, the State of California announced plans to “fundamentally transform” the remaining state-operated development centers in California. What was once a network of 21 centers housing over 13,400 residents with developmental and intellectual disabilities has been reduced to four facilities with 1,335 clients. The Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) is the largest of the remaining facilities, and it is recognized as a critical economic, social and environmental resource for Sonoma County.
This blog site is for everyone who cares about the Sonoma Developmental Center. The Sonoma Land Trust is hosting this site and, in partnership with the County of Sonoma, the Parent Hospital Association, the Sonoma Ecology Center and the other members of the SDC Coalition, we are committed to building public awareness and creating tools for dialogue, learning and activism.
We don’t know what the future holds for SDC. The State of California owns and operates the property and they have not indicated what “transformation” of it will entail. Will the State propose closure of the Center? Will they propose sale of the property? Or can we develop a plan that will retain vital health care services, protect the site’s rich natural resource values and preserve the 1,000+ jobs for the dedicated health care professionals who currently work at SDC?
We believe that an informed and engaged citizenry can make a fundamental difference in the governmental decision-making process. That’s the history of Sonoma County. We like to compare SDC to San Francisco’s Presidio. In the months to come, we will be sponsoring a community dialogue to create a common vision and set of proposed uses for the SDC. You can follow our progress on this blog site and sign up for our eNews as well. We appreciate your interest and invite you to leave comments on this blog site and to share in our work to preserve this precious resource of Sonoma County.
Article by John McCaull, Land Acquisition Project Manager at the Sonoma Land Trust.