politics

As science increasingly comes under fire from conservative political forces, public support for research and empirical evidence is being rallied in a global array of pro-science events this weekend—including two in Santa Rosa.

In thinking about the importance of science in daily life, Adrienne Alvord, the Western States Director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, points out that is it vital for both economic and personal health.

The April 15th deadline for filing 2016 income tax returns applies to all American, including President Trump. It is also serving as an occasion for renewed calls for him to make public his past tax documents.

More information about State Sen. Mike McGuire's SB 149 can be found on his website. Read the full text of the bill here.

How prepared are today's young people to deal with the growing amount of misinformation on the Internet?  In today's North Bay Report we look at legislation to update public school curriculums to teach youngsters survival skills for the digital age. 

While some may be concerned that teaching students about fake news could bring politics into the classroom, the sponsor of SB 135, Senator Bill Dodd, doesn't think the legislature will agree.

Donald Trump, both personally and politically, is deeply unpopular with a wide swath of Americans. That’s not a basis for impeachment, but there does appear to be one in the US Constitution.

With a strong Republican majority controlling both houses of Congress, it may not be surprising that no individual representative has yet come forward to argue for impeachment. But Norman Solomon, co-chair of the Mill Valley-based Grass Roots Coalition for Grass Roots Progress, says there has been one preliminary step taken.

Activists and citizens in Sonoma County seeking to oppose the Trump administration are finding support and gleaning tactics from the Indivisible Guide, and the local chapters that are promulgating it.

A key to the growth of participation in local Indivisible groups—now estimated at more than 1500 people county-wide—is how it is structured to allow a gradual entry, observes  Rebecca Hachmeyer from the Petaluma group.

In the past five years, one Bay Area city has placed a soda tax measure before its voters, passed a strong rent control measure, and rejected a big-money city council campaign from its biggest employer. And no, it wasn’t Berkeley.

The notable misstep by the Richmond Progressive Alliance, says writer Steve Early, was their backing of a hotly contested soda tax on the city’s ballot in 2012, a defeat that took down their two candidates as well.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Even before the November election, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign generated scores of worried conversations among the Latino workforce in Sonoma County. In a sober press conference Tuesday morning at the Graton Day Labor Center, they shared their conclusions.

There are plenty of Democrats, union members, and environmentalists in Sonoma County, who often find common cause on local issues and candidates. Collectively, in those cases, they are the Blue-Green Alliance.

The electoral upheaval at the national level was not felt much in Sonoma County’s local races, where big money from Independent Expenditure Committees bought mixed results.

With both houses of Congress and the White House controlled by Republicans going forward, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman told KRCB Television that he and his colleagues in the Democratic minority will continue to exercise their role as the "loyal opposition," while stopping short of the disruptive tactics GOP lawmakers deployed to thwart the Obama administration.

John Perkins, the self-described “Economic Hitman,” says the problems he helped create-- before reforming--have gotten worse in recent years. But he’s got a recipe for turning things around.

John Perkins says he has been encouraged in his call for consumer activism to counter corporate overreach in private conversations with many top executives in the companies that are driving the debt economy.

Political issues and positions are of secondary interest to comedian Will Durst. He zeros in on their personalities and foibles to, in his words, “put the ‘mock’ in democracy.”

Will Durst’s shows are, for the most part, carefully scripted—albeit with frequent updates. But he relishes the moments of ad lib interaction with the audience.

Will Durst brings his “Elect to Laugh 2016” show to the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma on Sunday night at 7:30.

Libertarianism is a political ideology that has undergone some internal, rather severe, revisions in recent years which have moved it well away from its philosophical origins. A locally produced analytical anthology examines what Libertarianism means today. 

Three of the authors will be on hand to talk about their contributions to Uncivil Liberties, at a special book event in Sonoma Friday evening. For details, click here.

Although no one will see them all, voters across Sonoma County are being asked to decide 23 separate ballot measures this fall. That’s in addition to the 17 initiatives everyone will see from the state. To find out why so many, KRCB News turned to Sonoma State Political Science professor and ballot measure analyst David McCuan for insights.

In addition to the centralized budgeting that resulted from the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, Professor McCuan observes that it has also led to some significant changes in the make-up of the state legislature—and their actions.

Sonoma County has long been home to a fervent and persistent community of progressive political activists. One of them is now telling his personal story in a new autobiographical account of nearly four decades of dissent and protest.

  Like many longtime political activists, Fagin began organizing and protesting while in high school. But, he recalls, that came after he learned to question and understand his own thoughts and feelings about the issues that moved him.

The new head of Sonoma County’s leading environmental advocacy group says she’s spent her life so far preparing for that job.

In addressing many important issues, says Sonoma County Conservation Action's new Executive Director, Kerry Fugett, it's important to keep a focus on the underlying factors that are driving them.

  Accordingly, Fugett says, efforts to rein in urban sprawl need to redirect new housing into vacant or underutilized lands within existing city limits.

  The fields were narrowed in California’s contested electoral even in races that have established a clear front-runner. That was mostly the case for incumbents, some of whom face ongoing challenges from members of the same party.

Bruce Robinson

  As the election season heats up, the Sebastopol Grange and the Farmer’s Guild took a different approach to hosting a candidate’s forum on April 12. With three candidates for the Fifth Supervisorial District on hand—Noreen Evans, Linda Hopkins and Tim Sergent—the evening was structured to be informal, and in a way, participatory, as you will hear in our recording of the event., which is hosted by KRCB News Director Bruce Robinson.

Bruce Robinson

  Fears that Social Security is about to run short of funds are unfounded, a trio of congressmen told a Santa Rosa gathering yesterday. But the 80 year old program has not been updated for 33 years, and is overdue for some adjustments to carry it into the next century.

Congressman Larson's Fact Sheet on HR 1391, the Social Security 2100 Act, can be read here. The full text of the measure is here.

As director of the CIA during the early Cold War years, Allen Dulles was at the center of some of the most consequential moments in American History. And, writer David Talbot argues, our nation is the worse for that.

   The core conflicts between Dulles and Kennedy—which have echoed along partisan lines down through the decades since—have their roots, David Talbot says, in two radically different world views.

  As popular sentiment for allowing wider use of marijuana continues to grow, a cluster of proposed measures to revisit legalization have been vying for a spot on California’s November ballot. But as the deadline for qualifying draws closer, the field now appears to be narrowing. 

  Eleven years after local voters rejected a ballot measure to restrict the cultivation of genetically modified crops in Sonoma County, a new initiative with the same goal is working to win a spot on the ballot next November.

GMO Free Sonoma County leader Karen Hudson was not active in the 2005 campaign for Measure M. But she says they have tried to incorporate some lessons learned from that bitterly contested election as they drafted their new initiative.

The Black Panthers may have been the most polarizing political movement in 1960s America. Current Santa Rosa resident Elbert “Big Man” Howard was one of their founding members, and recounts some of the group’s early history in today’s report. 

Big Man Howard is also interviewed in the recent documentary film, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of The Revolution (see the trailer below). He’ll be on hand to answer questions following a free public screening of the film at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol, Monday night at 7 pm

Presidential Authority to Declare National Monuments Upheld

Feb 3, 2016
timotale/iStockphoto

  Southern California environmentalists are relieved by a Senate vote yesterday that could have blocked the creation of three new National Monuments there. Suzanne Potter reports.

  With Iowa now wrapping up its quadrennial turn in the political spotlight, attention is largely focused on the results of the partisan primary caucuses. But KRCB’s man on the ground in Des Moines has been watching the campaign process as it unfolded in the final days there, and shares his observations with us.

  It’s not widely known in California, but we share with Iowa, a redistricted set of electoral districts that were not drawn by judges or politicians.  In the give-and-take of a Jeb Bush rally, even that issue came up, to the surprise of Dick Spotswood.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  The presentation of the annual State of Sonoma County Report was enlivened this year by boisterous protests from a crowd of county workers unhappy with ongoing contract negotiations. But that wasn’t the biggest news to come out of the event.

photo provided

  Amidst all the political rhetoric, it’s easy to forget that every new immigrant, from Syria or elsewhere, is a unique individual. This is the story of one such young man, who enjoyed his first Thanksgiving here in Sonoma County last month, with the extended family of his American sponsor. From Eugene, Oregon, Rachel McDonald reports.

Community Choice Power Coming Under Fire

Nov 24, 2015
Laura Musikanski/Morguefile

  Community Choice Aggregation--the alternative power service model now being used in Sonoma and Marin Counties--is under attack by San Diego's major utility, even as other cities are moving toward adopting it. Suzanne Potter rep0rts.

  Better pay for in home health workers is necessary to uphold the rights of their infirm and disabled clients. That’s one of several supportive findings in a new pro-labor report.

Click here to read the full North Bay Worker's Rights Board "Report on Wages, Benefits and Working Conditions of Home Care Providers for the County of Sonoma."

The voter-approved SMART train project includes a paved pathway for pedestrians and cyclists along the rails. But the Bicycle Coalitions of Marin and Sonoma County charge the transit agency is not fulfilling that part of their mandate.

  Next Tuesday is a quiet election day for most of Sonoma County, but voters in Rohnert Park are being asked to extend a parcel tax to fund local schools. 

    The student population attending the Cotati-Rohnert Park School District’s 11 schools now stands at 5900, well above the 4000 or so they were projecting just five years ago. Superintendent Robert Haley says most of that increase has come through intensified efforts to retain the students already living within the district’s boundaries—not from new residents arriving.

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