The Sonoma Independent’s Interim Financing Plan to Restore Library Hours Most Supervisors say they will support a solution that cities co-fund. This plan makes it happen.

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Sonoma County Libraries have been closed Mondays for more than four years, and there is no end in sight to the largest library funding crisis and hours cutback in history.  Last month, as described in this new report here,  the Sonoma Independent delivered a petition with 1,271 names on it to the Board of Supervisors’ annual budget meeting. The Supervisors refused to allocate the $1.2 million in requested funding from the County’s surplus to reopen libraries on Mondays. But in an unusual public response, three of the County’s five Supervisors spoke of supporting a financing effort to restore Monday hours, provided that it came from the County’s Library Commission, and that local cities join with the County in co-funding the solution.

Both the County and most local cities have sufficient contingency funds should they choose to do this, starting in the New Year. On July 6, the Sonoma Independent submitted to the Library Commission this $1.5 million interim funding proposal, that would last until a larger revenue measure can secure permanent funding at the ballot box.

This Sonoma Independent proposal calls for the cost of restoring hours to be split between the County and seven cities,  starting January 1, 2016. The County would contribute $600,000 annually, seven cities would share the other $600,000, and the Library budget would add $300,000 more. Because the funding would commence in the middle of the fiscal year (which ends June 30), the amounts to be paid for the first half a year of restored hours would be half the annual amounts described here.

The Library Commission plans to explore the proposal in its Revenue Committee, and decide whether or not to move forward with a plan to restore hours in the next few months. The petition on the right side of this page, and here,  urges the Library Commissioners, Supervisors, and City Councils, to commit to resolving this funding crisis this year.

Estimated Total Cost of restoring Monday hours and one evening: $1,500,000

Library Commission share: $300,000

 County Share: $600,000

 Share contributed by cities: $600,000

 

Proposed City Contribution Breakdown

(Sonoma Independent’s proposed amounts are based upon population, size of city budget, number of libraries, and level of shared usage by neighboring County residents. We left out Cloverdale because it is a financially strapped area and because many of its users are County residents).

 

Santa Rosa                            $200,000

Petaluma                               $80,000

Rohnert Park                       $80,000

Sonoma                                  $60,000

Windsor                                 $60,000

Healdsburg                            $60,000

Sebastopol                             $60,000

 

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Jonathan Greenberg

Jonathan Greenberg is the editor and publisher of the award winning Sonoma Independent, which he founded in 2015 to serve the public interest with insight, solutions and advocacy.

In January, 2024, Jonathan launched the StopTrumpDictatorship.com Project to create and market compelling YouTube ads, as well as the Progressive Source PAC to fund them. The effort’s first project was the Dems Vote Haley in SC video, which was viewed 400,000 times in blue counties, contributing to Haley outperforming polls by 10 points.

Jonathan has been an investigative legal and financial journalist with 40 years of experience contributing to national publications. During the past six years, Jonathan wrote four of the most widely-read exposes in the Washington Post about Donald Trump. Jonathan has known Trump longer than any journalist writing today. He was head of research for the first Forbes 400 when Trump conned him into putting him on the list. The notorious phone calls Trump taped pretending to be John Barron was the subject of monologues on Colbert, the Daily Show and Seth Meyers. Jonathan has appeared live on more than a dozen major news shows, including on CNN with Erin Burnett, Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, on MSNBC with Ari Berber and Ali Velshi, and NPR's On the Media.

Jonathan was a Web 1.0 pioneer. In 1996 he started Gist Communications, a disruptive new media company that competed successfully with News Corp’s TV Guide Online. In 1997, Gist was one of just 14 websites in the world to be named a winner of the First Annual Webby Awards in San Francisco. Following Gist and the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Jonathan served, in 2002 and 2003, as Policy Director for the New York City Council’s Select Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment, where he directed media and public policy campaigns and was the city council’s lead analyst for federal relief programs.

In 2007, Jonathan founded Progressive Source Communications, a public interest digital advocacy company that has created scores of impactful videos and campaigns to build awareness of solutions that serve the common good. Progressive Source owns the Sonoma Independent.

Jonathan is a graduate of Yale Law School's Masters Degree in Law fellowship program. A fuller bio and links to Jonathan's work can be found at JonathanGreenberg.com.

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