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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Special Spaces for special kids

Uploaded: Nov 18, 2012
I literally bumped into Nancy Tatarka last week. I was walking down the refrigerated isle in the Nob Hill Market when a woman turned around from the dairy case and to my surprise it was Nancy Tatarka.

I said, "Nancy Tatarka, I haven't seen you in years." For those who don't know, Nancy Tatarka was Mayor of San Ramon ten years ago. She was part of a controversial City Council majority dubbed "The Gang of Three" by the Contra Costa Times. I didn't coin the phrase, but I used it in my original San Ramon Observer Commentaries about what I considered to be misguided and expensive actions taken by the Council majority at that time.

I thought she might hold a grudge against me for my critical columns years ago, but she was happy and friendly and looked great. She said she's been so busy that she hardly has time to do any shopping. She's been traveling and taking classes at Las Positas College for a degree in Sustainability.

Back when she was on the City Council one of her pet projects was the Valley Children's Museum. She wanted a place for it in the planned City Center. I was always in favor of including it in the City Center. In fact I wrote a commentary when Dublin took over the project that San Ramon should have kept it, but if we had, there would still be nothing here. At least there's a trailer and a Board of Directors in Dublin, which is keeping the Museum project alive.

I wrote a blog on the current status of the Children's Museum in June. I asked Steve Baker at the VCM booth at the Dublin Thursday night Farmer's Market if Nancy Tatarka was involved with the Valley Children's Museum. Mr. Baker didn't know who Nancy Tatarka is, which surprised me. So I asked Nancy why she isn't still active with the Valley Children's Museum.

She said she found something better, Special Spaces. She explained this organization creates bedrooms for seriously ill and special needs children. I never heard of this organization before, but Nancy said it is nationwide.

The local group covers the San Francisco Bay area, but Nancy proudly told me the West Coast Regional headquarters is right here in San Ramon. Here's the address and contact information.

Shelley Ham
Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
West Coast Regional Director
231 Market Place #350
San Ramon , California 94583
925-989-4830
Shelley@specialspaces.org

Special Spaces sounds like a cross between Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Make a Wish. It's an innovative idea with positive results for children who need a special place to go to in a difficult time in their lives.

Robert Jordan, a reporter with Bay Area News Group, wrote a couple of articles last April about Special Spaces bedroom makeovers in Pleasanton and San Jose. Nancy told me their next project is for a boy in Livermore with cancer. They are looking for volunteers who are handy with a hammer or paintbrush or whatever you can contribute to helping a child.

Despite my sometimes reputation as a curmudgeon, I really prefer to write positive stories like this one. I told Nancy my rather sharp commentaries ten years ago were not meant to be personal, but she's so happy and upbeat now all of that is in the past.

So there is life after politics. I'm glad to see Nancy happy and busy and involved in an organization like Special Spaces. I hope some of my readers will check it out and get involved too.

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