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Sonoma County OKs new contract with bus operator

By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Brushing aside concerns raised by a local Palestinian rights group, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has renewed a contract with a private company for operation of Sonoma County Transit.

The board voted unanimously to extend for two more years a contract with Veolia Transportation Services to operate the bus system, extending an agreement that started in 2006.

Sonoma County busMaximum cost for the current fiscal year is $8.1 million.

Activists with the North Coast Coalition for Palestine told the supervisors on Tuesday that Veolia is part of a French corporation that operates transportation services to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Critics faulted Israel for repression of the Palestinians, comparing it to apartheid policies formerly practiced in South Africa.

Therese Mughannam-Walrath of Santa Rosa, whose family fled Palestine in 1948, said the Palestinians’ “struggle for survival has become worse and worse” over the years.

The coalition is part of a larger movement to promote divestiture in companies doing business in Israel.

Rabbi Ted Feldman of Petaluma’s B’Nai Israel synagogue said the protest is “blaming one side in a conflict that has gone on for generations” and that Middle East issues are “way beyond the purview of this body.”

Board Chairman David Rabbitt said Veolia’s U.S. division is a “separate entity” from the operations in France and the Middle East.

Rabbitt noted that Petaluma dropped its contract with Veolia several years ago only because the city wanted to operate a new water treatment plant itself.

(You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.)





5 Responses to “Sonoma County OKs new contract with bus operator”

  1. Nancy says:

    Too many of the arabs who live in the West Bank and Gaza are allied with Iran and the terrorists who think of the United States as the big satan. Israel is the little satan. They are the enemy of the United States. We are waging a war on muslim terrorists and many of these believe in that war being waged against us and Israel.

    Why should we listen to anything they have to say? It is all aimed at winning their war on us.

  2. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    As a county bus rider who rides both SRT and SCT Viola’s contract SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN EXTENDED. I have no issue with SRT’s drivers and rules as they are appropriate. When I got on the county bus in Rohnert Park (I was coming back to SR) and the driver told me I had to empty my cart, put everything on the seat and fold it and put it under the seat, I just stood there in disbelief. It would have taken a good 10 minutes each packing and repacking it. He realized that it was ridiculous and just started driving. How can people with no car go shopping with rules like this? And they are VIOLA’S RULES not the bus drivers. If someone had reported that he allowed me to ride the bus with my full cart he probably would have been fired.

    The bus drivers aren’t happy with Viola either. They want the county to run county buses not contract out with a company that’s had complaints across America. They want to be county employees.

  3. RICHARD says:

    Israel killed 34 and wounded 171 USN sailors during attacks on our the US navy.

    Israel spied on the USA and sold those secrets to third parties.

    Israel shelters fugitives from USA justice, including murders.

    Israel is not a democracy to the people it occupies.

  4. Vic says:

    Why is the Press Democrat reporting that an extremely small fringe group that no one have ever heard about or from suddenly opposes a contract with a bus company?

    Is this worth the ink??? This little group belongs to a large group out to destroy Israel, a democracy and ally of the United States.

  5. RICHARD says:

    ” The brutal fact is, we are partially responsible ” – George P. Shultz USA Secretary of State”

    “… the Israelis had consolidated their grip on Beirut and where ringed around the Palestinian refugee camps … scenes of a massacre of shocking magnitude … including women and children …”

    ” Sabra and Shatilia refugee camps … massacres … Israeli bulldozers had come in to push rubble over the bodies ”

    ” Phil Habib [ USA diplomat ] had assured the Palestinians that all precautions would be taken to protect those left in the camps … Habib had relied on Israeli assurances ”

    Quotes are from:” Turmoil and Triumph ” George P Shultz USA Secretary of State