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Monitor Notes: Drone Program, SamTrans Fares, Governing Alameda, Developing Sonoma

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.



The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s board of directors approved plans in April for a six-month pilot program to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, for surveying and mapping activities. Drones help save time and money by streamlining various repair, protection, and inspection projects, according to a Monitor article by Robin Meadows looking at the pros and cons of their usage. The district will be forming a committee to discuss and advise the program as it learns more about its needs and requirements, said Kris Puthoff, manager of the district’s land surveying and mapping unit, in an email. The district already has finalized its procedures manual, purchased a couple of UAV platforms, and acquired insurance for its remote pilots and drones. 


Putting Fares in Order

SamTrans wants rider input about potential changes to its bus fare system. One is aimed at saving riders some dough by cutting the cost of a standard day pass to $4.50. Other options would modernize service by replacing metal tokens with paper ones, as well as add a new fare type for express service. To hear more about SamTrans’ plans, stream the virtual town hall on Tuesday, June 18 at 11 a.m. Public comments also may be submitted online. SamTrans’ proposed changes come as transit advocates urge integrating regional fare policy to streamline service.


Matter of Opinion

The League of Women Voters of Alameda is asking questions about what it takes to help improve city government. Along with the City of Alameda, the League is hosting workshops on Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27 to give residents a chance to speak up about proposed city charter changes. Organizers want to know if people feel city council members should reflect the town’s geography and diversity, or if council members should be paid more to afford serving in elected office. Read the flyer for other pressing questions the workshops intend to cover.


Lay of the Land

The Sonoma Development Center (SDC) Coalition is holding a workshop on Saturday, June 15 to bring the community up to speed about a three-year, $3.5 million land use and environmental planning effort for the 900-acre SDC property known as Eldridge. The final agenda and a draft of the project’s vision statement and guiding principles will be available here several days before the meeting. The workshop is from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hanna Boys Center Auditorium.


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