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By Roz Rogoff

We can do better

Uploaded: Nov 26, 2014

Tom Cushing has been speaking at City and Town Council meetings in Contra Costa County to get support for hiring a new Director of Animal Control from the No Kill community or at least reduce the high percentage of animals euthanized in Martinez by 10% a year for the next three years. Currently around 35% of our shelter animals are killed by the County each year.

Tom wanted me to attend the San Ramon City Council meeting on November 24th to ask the Council to write an official letter from the City to Contra Costa County to hire the replacement for the retiring head of Animal Control from the No Kill community.

I looked at the agenda and there were four Special Presentations at the start of the meeting, which I estimated would take about one hour before opening Public Comment. Still I left at 20 to 7 to be there at the start of the meeting in case my estimate was off.

It was dark when I left and I really don't like driving in the dark anymore. My windshield fogged up and I wiped it off with a paper towel, which seemed to make it worse. I wore my brand new driving glasses, so I could see the best I could, but I was not comfortable seeing inside or outside of the car.

I managed to make it to the Council Chambers off of Norris Canyon Road on Camino Ramon by 7 pm. Next year the new City Hall on Bollinger Canyon Road should be finished, which is much closer to my house.

The parking lot wasn't very full, but I was surprised that the small Council Chambers was. I found a seat in the front row next to some young girls in blue jackets. One of the special presentations was to honor the PGA Junior National Golf Champions. The girls and most of the other young people in the room were part of this award winning team. The presentation was very impressive, with a video of the team at different meets, and a silver trophy almost as big as the players.

I looked around the room for Tom and Elise Stewart, President of Safe Cat, who said she would come too, but neither of them was there. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to say, but I printed out a copy of the presentation Tom gave at a Danville Town Council meeting for back up.

The last special presentation was by Bert Michalczyk, Head of the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD), on the state of the drought. As you would expect it isn't good. Bert said the current drought is the worst since 1973, which long-time residents might recall was very bad. But this is worse because the population has grown so much over the last 40 years.

Bert placed his hopes on El Nino to bring rain this winter. El Nino must have been listening because the weather forecast for this weekend is four days of "torrential rain." My 7000 gallons of water storage is almost half full now. One inch of rain could add another 600-700 gallons by the end of next week.

Public Comment started at 8 pm and mine was the first card submitted. I was still hoping Tom and/or Elise would be there, but I figured I'd have to fill in for them. I babbled for the three minute comment period hoping one of them would show up. When the red light went on, I asked for more time. Mayor Clarkson said to go ahead and finish.

So I read from Tom's presentation to the Danville Town Council about the importance of reducing the number of healthy, adoptable animals killed every year in Martinez. "No Kill" doesn't mean never kill; it means only sick or dangerous animals should be put down. Most of the dogs and cats killed in Martinez are healthy and adoptable. This should be stopped and has been in many other cities. Tom pointed out that even Oakland has a lower kill rate than CC County!

When I got home I emailed Tom and Elise to let them know I attended the meeting and read Tom's presentation, but I wondered why they didn't come. Tom later emailed me that he wasn't planning to come and thought I knew that, but he apologized for the misunderstanding. He asked if there is a video of the meeting. There is but it has not been posted on the City's website yet.