WatchSonoma Watch
Santa Rosa an unpredictable landlord

For the past six years, Kimberly Ortiz and her family have lived virtually rent-free on the Walker Avenue property they sold in 2007 to the City of Santa Rosa for $750,000. The lease Ortiz signed after the sale allowed her and her family to remain in the modest home for three years for $1 per year.
But since the lease expired in 2010, the city hasn’t figured out what to do with the property, and Ortiz and her family have gone right on living there for free.
The unusual arrangement is just the latest example of questionable below-market lease agreements that the city has on various residential properties it owns.

$100, $200 rents on city-owned land in Santa Rosa draw fire

Sara Gray was living in Valley Ford with her husband and two children two years ago when she got an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Santa Rosa hires new parks and recreation director

Santa Rosa has hired a new parks and recreation director from El Paso, Texas, to replace Marc Richardson, who resigned in December. Nanette Smejkal was selected following a nationwide search because of the experience she gained over a 25-year career managing parks and recreations departments with a diverse array of programs and facilities, City Manager Kathy Millison said.

Losses mount at Bennett Valley Golf Course

The Bennett Valley Golf Course in Santa Rosa is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and will be nearly out of money by next summer unless the city can help it swing back to profitability soon.

Former Santa Rosa officials fined for golf freebies

The state political watchdog agency Thursday fined two recently retired Santa Rosa parks and recreation department officials for accepting thousands of dollars in free golf rounds, lessons and merchandise discounts from the operator of the city-owned Bennett Valley Golf Club.

Santa Rosa mayor calls for audit of Parks and Recreation Department

The mayor of Santa Rosa has called for a financial audit of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department in the wake of what he called ‘disquieting’ revelations about the department’s budget.

2 retired Santa Rosa officials face fines over gifts from golf course

Two former top officials in the Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department face fines for failing to report thousands of dollars in free gifts from the operator of the Bennett Valley Golf Course.

Marc Richardson, director of the department until his retirement in December, and Rich Hovden, parks development manager until his retirement in February, are set to be fined next week by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. Both men’s retirements were unexpected.

Retirement looms for longtime Santa Rosa utilities, parks chiefs

The directors of two of the largest Santa Rosa city departments will be retiring in December. Miles Ferris, director of the Utilities Department, steps down Dec. 12, and Marc Richardson, director of Recreation and Parks, will retire 10 days later. Both men have worked for the city for 27 years.