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Politics and Social Issues

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2017-08-10Aug 10, 2017

Sheriff’s Office will release a revised policy that affects how it cooperates with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in the jail. The policy results in less cooperation with ICE and will be implemented on Friday, August 18. Generally, the jail will respond to ICE’s inmate release date requests only when the inmate has a previous conviction for a serious crime. These crimes are those listed in the TRUST Act, plus another 14 crimes that are not in the TRUST Act but still present a threat to our community’s safety. 

2017-07-13Jul 13, 2017

Let's Talk Tourism is a series of conversations about Sonoma County's tourism industry. We offer coffee, pastries, and a chance to discuss local tourism issues. The agenda includes information about SCT, plus an interactive group exercise focusing on your local destination.

2017-06-28Jun 28, 2017

The Mission Statement of the Permit and Resource Management Department starts with “…serve the people of Sonoma County by providing a customer-focused process for the orderly development of real property” and ends with “develop and maintain standards that protect the health and safety of the public.”  It’s business first. Or, as PRMD’s new moniker “Permit Sonoma” suggests, permits first.

2017-06-28Jun 28, 2017

After more than 25 years of the Sonoma County Water Agency playing games around Occidental sewage disposal, the newest insult emerges. Wrapped in moral bankruptcy, the otherwise enjoyable and beautiful town seems to have no problem acting like a selfish prima donna with no need to request, but rather just impose their raw sewage unnecessarily on the rest of us with impunity.

2017-06-28Jun 28, 2017

On June 17, the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the 2017-2018 County Budget. While “adopting a budget” sounds like a spectacularly boring bureaucratic procedure — and it does indeed involve an endless procession of spreadsheets, pie charts, and thick binders brimming with graphs — the budgeting process tells an important story. Any budget worth its salt reflects the values of the organization adopting it.

2017-06-28Jun 28, 2017

“The land is never saved; it’s always being saved” — to paraphrase the late Coastal Commission Executive Peter M. Douglas.

2017-06-27Jun 27, 2017

The First 5 Sonoma County Commission is seeking one Commissioner to represent educators specializing in early child development, and who represent the diverse cultural, social, and economic strengths and needs of our community. This is an unscheduled vacancy that would start in August and serve the remainder of the term (through 11-30-18).

2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

Greetings! My name is Misti Harris, and I’m your Community Engagement Liaison with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

Sonoma County’s strongest economies are quality agriculture and tourism. It’s a place where new technology is still used as a tool to get more time with family and friends. Our cultural identity is based on diversity and openness to all who come to visit or contribute to our workforce.Yet, with all this projected growth we don't have enough affordable housing for our workforce, leading to more homelessness, and making this one of the county’s top socio-economic problems. 

2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

Plastic Free July, like Earth Day, is an annual reminder of what we need to do every day.

2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

Immigration Law is a complex web of laws and policies…so complex that just about every letter of the alphabet (plus double-letters, just like the seating at Oracle Arena) are used to define the type of visa required to enter and remain legal in the United States.

2017-08-08Aug 8, 2017

Earlier this year, the County started the Sonoma County Immigration Initiative to address the heightened fear and insecurity caused by new federal actions by finding ways to support our immigrant communities and nonprofit partners who serve them. Each Supervisor will be hosting a community meeting in their district to bring attention to this issue, help inform residents of their rights and available services, provide a forum for service providers, and receive input and feedback from the community. Community meetings will consist of a presentation followed by a resource fair with local organizations and legal service providers.

2017-06-20Jun 20, 2017

The Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) is the Bay Area’s voice for affordable housing. As the Bay Area region’s affordable housing advocacy organization, NPH works to build regional solutions to support its vision for a future where everyone has an affordable and stable home.


2017-06-15Jun 15, 2017

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is set to consider next steps toward creating mixed income housing on a Santa Rosa property located on West College Avenue, which is currently owned by the Sonoma County Water Agency. At its meeting on June 20, 2017, the Board will be asked to approve a sale of the property from the Water Agency to the Sonoma County Community Development Commission (Commission) for $4.2 million, the current appraised value.

2017-06-03Jun 3, 2017

Let's Talk Tourism is a series of conversations about Sonoma County's tourism industry. We offer coffee, pastries, and a chance to discuss local tourism issues. The agenda includes information about SCT, plus an interactive group exercise focusing on your local destination.

2017-05-24May 24, 2017
2017-05-22May 22, 2017

Just as Sonoma County supporters and residents prepare to kick off Affordable Housing Week to explore opportunities and solutions for our region’s housing challenges, a new report demonstrates just how dramatically our area’s affordable housing challenges have grown.

2017-05-22May 22, 2017

I’m a designer of sustainable smart villages that are beautiful walkable places surrounded by park-like landscaping with few cars and lots of small locally owned businesses and housing for every income level but I can’t focus on building these communities of the future because we are currently living with escalating national poverty from federal tax and spending reallocations to the wealthy where it’s supposed to trickle down, but the trickle keeps getting slower and weaker every year. 

2017-05-22May 22, 2017

First District Supervisor Susan Gorin invites community members to apply for positions on local policy making bodies. Applications and a list of all boards, commissions, and committees to which the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors appoints members is available online at: The vacancy list on the site shows available opportunities for involvement.

2017-05-18May 18, 2017

My son is missing. He had a job with a promising future, a truck, many friends. Now he has nothing. He is a heroin addict. I am terrified, and I want to warn parents of the dangers of Oxycontin. It is headed your way via a huge marketing campaign. Please read the story and tell as many people as you can.

2017-05-10May 10, 2017

Effective May 13, non-profit agency North Sonoma County Services will be known as Reach for Home as it ramps up fundraising to assist homeless individuals and families. The new name, along with a new logo, are designed to more effectively convey the Reach for Home mission to help people in the area who are struggling with, or are at risk of, losing housing.

2017-05-09May 9, 2017

Last November Save Our Sonoma Roads supported Measure L, which increased the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) in unincorporated Sonoma County from 9 percent to 12 percent. It is estimated to increase annual revenue by $5 million. The ballot question explained that the purpose of the tax increase was “to address the impacts of tourists by investing in roads, emergency response,” and other tourism-related impacts. Over 68 percent of county voters approved the measure.

2017-08-02Aug 2, 2017

Nearly three weeks has elapsed since, one by one, Administration Drive Safe Parking participants were approached by the program manager and a monitor and handed sheets of paper on the evening of June 20. “Good!”, I thought, from the front seat of my car, several rows away, “They’re finally enforcing the designated smoking area and dog leashing rules.”

2017-05-07May 7, 2017

Tourism is what supports this Russian River community we all love and call home. Like it or not, the reality is without it there would be no town. It’s what allows all of us to live here in this beautiful place. We bear the difficulties of winter together, and try and help each other make it through them, so we can enjoy the summer alongside our welcome guests who support our resort town lifestyle on the river. Most of us feel a great sense of gratitude for being able to live here, but rarely thank a dish washer or the owner of the restaurant they work at for keeping the doors open so we can.

2017-05-06May 6, 2017

Our beloved coastline here in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties suddenly finds itself in the crosshairs of the Trump Administration’s offshore drilling scheme, which is now even targeting our fragile National Marine Sanctuary. Recently, on April 28, President Trump signed the “America First Offshore Energy Executive Order” which radically reframes offshore petroleum plans for all U.S. federal waters, including those off of the Pacific Coast.


2017-04-27Apr 27, 2017

“A Place To Call Home” continues to tell the stories of the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

2017-04-20Apr 20, 2017

Senate Elections Committee Approved SB 149 on Tax Day

Millions of Americans filed their tax returns this week – yet President Donald Trump’s taxes are still a mystery. This is despite the fact the President promised to release his taxes months ago during the campaign.

2017-04-03Apr 3, 2017

Cittaslow Sebastopol is opening up for volunteers with an orientation meeting Tuesday, April 25, 6:00 – 7:30 at the Sebastopol City Hall (7120 Bodega Ave.).

2017-03-30Mar 30, 2017

The Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO) was established by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in 2015. IOLERO was borne out of the tragic shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus in Sonoma County in 2013.

2017-03-29Mar 29, 2017

It’s happening all around. People in practically every state are standing up to the Trump mania of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, mostly from Mexico and Central America, but not solely, and supporting their civil and human rights. These are counties and cities and they number into the hundreds.

2017-03-29Mar 29, 2017

Democracy sometimes requires practical –if not always ideal—choices. To all those Bernie supporters who couldn’t bear voting for Hillary, we are now living with the consequences of their decision not to support her.

2017-03-29Mar 29, 2017

In August of 2016, Sonoma County declared a homeless emergency. 1 Since then there have been two well-attended summits on homelessness put on by the City of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma.

2017-03-29Mar 29, 2017

Several years ago I participated in Santa Rosa’s advisory committee on green building. Its purpose was to consider additional local regulations beyond those already mandated by State building code. I was skeptical since new rules would likely add to the escalating costs of building housing.

2017-08-01Aug 1, 2017

If you only read the mainstream press in Sonoma County, you may think that Sheriff Steve Freitas announced his August 1st resignation out of the blue. But a closer look at the facts reveals a much different story.

2017-03-29Mar 29, 2017

Climate Change is in the news more and more despite the White House windbag ordering that EPA and NASA delete all references to climate on their websites and publications.

2017-03-28Mar 28, 2017

What’s yellow and orange and dead all over?

Bright orange streaks pop from the verdant Sonoma County landscape this spring. These are poisoned plants, treated by glyphosate. If you are like me, you may have overlooked this phenomenon, but once you know, it is impossible to ignore.

2017-03-26Mar 26, 2017

The new administration in Washington seems to put a premium on undoing all the positive things that we’ve done to help make the planet AND our piece of it more healthy. Much of the news from Washington is truly unbelievable, except that it IS happening NOW.

2017-03-25Mar 25, 2017

The Community Alliances would like to announce our stance on any proposed homeless service center.

2017-03-24Mar 24, 2017

DEAR READERS: Do you have a legal question on your mind? If so, please email me. Your name will remain confidential. This Q & A Legal Column is intended as a community service to discuss general legal principles and does not create an attorney-client relationship

2017-03-21Mar 21, 2017

Can one meal provide empowerment? The Sonoma County Junior Commission believes it can, and they are committed to fighting to end poverty and food insecurity in our own county. The Junior Commission, made up of Sonoma County high school students, is hosting its third year of the Fight to End Food Insecurity Project

2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

I was attending a birthday party the other day when I met a friend and supporter of my opponent in the last election. He was, by his own admission, shocked to see that I was a caring, decent, compassionate human being. (In the moment we met, I was a mom attempting to prevent my daughters from demolishing the French fry tray.) He and I joked about the fact that I didn’t, as he’d initially suspected, come equipped with devil’s horns, cloven hoofs, and a forked tail.

2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

ArtStart Creative Director and mural artist Mario Uribe has announced that a revision to the Andy Lopez mural originally unveiled on June 2nd has been completed. The amended segment will be dedicated on Friday, August 4 at 5:30pm, Roseland Village Neighborhood Center, 779 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa.

2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

Five years ago this month, a new federal law changed the lives of almost one million young people. The law, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Applicants or DACA, gave many young undocumented immigrants – colloquially known as “Dreamers” – the chance to obtain a work permit, a drivers license, and a reprieve from deportation.


2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

Thanks to a collaborative effort between several local agencies, in 2016 Sonoma County was accepted into the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Communities (GNAFC), one of 175 communities in the growing Age-Friendly Network in the U.S.

2017-07-20Jul 20, 2017

With the recent detachment of the Russian River area from the Palm Drive Health Care District, RRARA currently seeks ongoing funding for the RRARA Coordinator to be able to continue our important work.

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