Green New Deal

Lars Dellos, Staff Writer

In Sonoma County’s cloudy, nippy winters, one or two intense storms and/or some mild flooding can be expected. Some country roads flood, Ragle Ranch becomes even more of a giant lagoon, and school is possibly canceled for a day or two, but overall, there are little long-term effects. Unfortunately, last week’s once-in-a-generation rains brought a far more different and devastating story.

While rain had been steadily coming down in the previous weeks, it picked up on Monday, February 25th, where intense rain battered an already-waterlogged Sonoma County and fed the Russian River, raising its level noticeably. The Santa Rosa Weather Underground station reported 2.66 inches, a record for the day. This was quite literally blown out of the water by the immense downpour of February 26th. Throughout the day, heavy rains brought flooding and road issues. Around sunset, the rain picked up to an extremely intense pace, bringing a massive deluge of water. While just over 4.5 inches of rain was reported in Santa Rosa, the microclimate system we live in brought less, more, or much, much more rain to different areas in the County. What matters the most was that it was enough to bring the Russian River and its watershed to a flooding point.

The River approached over 45 feet in height at its peak Tuesday night, flooding over roads, washing everything from boxes to fence posts, and submerging many vehicles and buildings. School districts in much of Sonoma County closed, as major roads such as Highway 12 were completely flooded, meaning that the more fortunate students who could leave their driveways would still be unable to make it to school. From the Sebastopol Chevron station on 12, to Guerneville’s River Theater, to houses out in Rio Nido or Monte Rio, many buildings have taken immense water damage, requiring costly repair or even complete rebuilding. Thanks to a lack of heavy rain for the rest of the week, most areas are reopened now. On Thursday, newly-elected Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in order to lend Northwest and West County the help we need to spring back from these damages. As of the time of this writing, the Laguna De Santa Rosa can be seen from High School Road with a still noticeably increased water level.

Unfortunately, this is another blow for an area that’s taken so many disaster-oriented hits in the last several years. A powerful drought, the Tubbs Fire, and the hazardous smoke from the Camp Fire have all hurt our environment, and these floods only add to the list of long-term damages Sonoma County has endured. Yet, endure we will. Taking a kayak around to see unwind and keeping your chin up isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it’s the sort making the best of a terrible situation that we’ve seen time and time again.  #SonomaCountyStrong



The Green New Deal. Considering that we live in Sebastopol’s twenty-four-seven Phish/Woodstock vibe, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about this plan, perhaps even from a card-carrying Green card member or the lady who stopped me on my walk home to tell me about how 5G networks are going to microwave our brains. If you haven’t or just want some review in between kombucha tastings (I kid, I kid) here’s a rundown.

Since the 2000s, the Green party has advocated for the Green New Deal as their main platform. It’s a planned series of stimulus packages that plans on creating green energy jobs throughout the country in order to make more high paying jobs and stop fossil fuel usage. The plan often receives intense criticism for a pipe-dream style expectation that the U.S. can achieve 100% renewable energy and energy independence by 2030, the deadline that the Party says must be implemented to avoid irreversible climate devastation.

Due to pushback against the 2016 Election’s bitter primaries and general election, progressive ideas have been embraced by many frustrated Americans. This has lead naturally to the Green New Deal being touted for the first time by mainstream political forces. Van Jones, an actor and promoter of green energy jobs in low-income era, is now a TV show host for CNN. The Solutions Project, a complementary proposal that outlines a 100% green energy plan for each U.S. state’s power, is championed by celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo. And more and more Americans seem to be ready for this sort of Deal.

The only way the first New Deal, an economic reform system implemented by FDR,  passed, however, was with Republican support and an acknowledgement of its immense cost. It still looks like a while before the Deal earns approval from a majority of Democrats due to its expense, let alone Republicans. And without the desperation of the Great Depression, it seems our gerrymandered and gridlocked state of Washingtonian affairs isn’t likely to produce an agreement on such a bold plan. It’s proponents argue that the system of green job will eventually create a profit, but crits that are used to oil or natural gas scoff.

The Green New Deal could potentially dodge all these circus hoops with immense new support, such as having  progressive in the White House in 2021 or *gasp* actual bipartisan compromise that creates a version that satisfies most. Even with the support of the great reformer FDR, the New Deal was quickly gutted over the next several decades. The Green New Deal doesn’t need 100% support, but it will need to go strong until it reaches its goal and a way to make its several trillion dollar cost work.