By MIKE McCOY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Rosa Koire said members of the Santa Rosa Neighborhood Coalition are all about exposing wrongdoing and questionable governmental policies.
But they aren’t willing to expose much about themselves, say critics of their group who contend its members have hidden in anonymity while stirring controversy on several fronts.
Koire said her group “represents a full spectrum of people from left to right to center. Our main focus is to have the truth come out about our elected officials and local policies.”
It was Koire’s complaint to the state Fair Political Practices Commission that has prompted the agency to open an ethics investigation into Michael Allen, the former Santa Rosa planning commissioner who is a Democratic candidate for the state’s 7th Assemby District.
Koire said she is the face of the Neighborhood Coalition, although she indicated her partner, Kay Tokerud, also is involved.
“I am the only person who has their name in public,” Koire said, contending the group has 14 “hard-core” members who prefer anonymity “for political and personal reasons.”
Koire, a commercial real estate appraiser specializing in eminent domain acquisitions, and her partner, a general contractor, aren’t anonymous to the city or other neighborhood leaders who’ve tangled with the pair over the past several years.
The two women sued to block city efforts to form an 1,100-acre redevelopment district along the Highway 101 corridor, a lawsuit they eventually lost last year in a 1st District Court of Appeal ruling.
In 2007, the Santa Rosa Junior College Neighborhood Association members voted to oust Tokerud as its president just six months into office after learning of her lawsuit against the city and labeling her a “disagreeable character.”
“The so-called coalition? As far as I can tell it’s just Rosa and Kay,” said Jim Wilkinson, chairman of the Santa Rosa Neighborhood Alliance.
He contends the coalition adopted a name similar to his group’s to confuse people and create anonymity.
“There isn’t a single individual name on their Web site that would take responsibility for its content. But if you look are at our Facebook page,” Wilkinson said of the Neighborhood Alliance, “you’ll see the names and phones numbers of people to contact.”
That includes the leaders of 16 neighborhoods that are participating members, he said.
The coalition site — www.santarosaneighborhoodcoalition.com — has only an e-mail address, with no individual’s name attached.
“As far as I’m concerned their anonymity calls into question their motives and reliability,” Wilkinson said.
Judy Kennedy, a former leader of the Burbank Gardens Neighborhood Association, said Koire and Tokerud used “scare tactics” and misinformation to convince the Juilliard Park neighborhood, particularly businesses along Santa Rosa Avenue, that the redevelopment area would be bad for them.
“They can’t be trusted,” Kennedy said. “They want people to be confused.”
Still, Wilkinson said he’s not willing to dismiss the group. “I don’t want to say they are totally inconsequential. They pick issues people get excited about, I don’t deny that,” he said.
The coalition’s Web site has taken on the city over development of a proposed but current dormant green building retrofit program and the Humboldt Street bike boulevard and continues to battle any effort by the city to include the Juilliard Park neighborhood into its Highway 101 redevelopment corridor plan.
Besides the complaint against Allen, it also questions the competency of state Sen. Pat Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, to remain in office.