Dredging Planned for Bodega Bay Channel

May 4, 2017

It’s been 17 years since the shallow channel into Bodega Bay was last dredged. So it’s time to do it again, and plans for a project this fall are moving ahead.

The depth of the channel is already compromised at several places along the corridor. Noah Wagner, harbormaster at Spud Point Marin, details those locations.

Boosting Gas Tax Not a Long-Term Road Repair Fix

May 3, 2017

In California, efforts to boost funding for road repairs are at odds with the concurrent goal of expanding electric vehicle usage. So how can these two needs co-exist?

County Libraries Resume Monday Hours

Apr 29, 2017

Sonoma County voters gave strong support last November to a sales tax increase to boost funding for local libraries. As of  May 1, the first benefits from Measure Y will take effect.

To begin preparing for their new budget realities, Library Director Brett Lean consulted with the State Board of Equalization, which monitors the flow of tax revenues. But Lear says it’s difficult right now to look much beyond the new fiscal year that begins in July.

New SSU President Opens the 2016 Academic Year

Aug 22, 2016
Nicolas Grizzle, SSU

  Dr. Judy Sakaki, the newly installed 7th president of Sonoma State University, greeted the campus community yesterday at the annual convocation, which marks the beginning of the new academic year. 

Dr. Sakaki addressed the convocation for more than 30 minutes, during which she also introduced the new members of her administration. You can hear her speech in its entirety below.

Library Readies New Sales Tax Measure

Jul 8, 2016

Sonoma County Library officials and aligned community groups are laying the groundwork for a second ballot measure to fund operations and restore service cuts.

    The November ballot is already a long one, with a record 17 statewide propositions so far, and some other local initiatives still under consideration as well. But Library Director Brett Lear doesn’t see all that as deterrent to advancing their sales tax measure at the same time. 

Agriculture Pitching in to Battle Climate Change

Jun 28, 2016

  Now that California is collecting billions of dollars from greenhouse gas emitters, some of that money is being directed to programs that help farms and dairies reduce their carbon footprints.  But while additional funds are being sought, the entire program’s future is uncertain.

Congress Finally Acts on Conservation Funding

Apr 21, 2016

  Environmentalists got some good news from Congress this week. Suzanne Potter tells us what it was.

Nationwide, Parks Need More Support, Funding

Apr 20, 2016

  It's not just a California problem. All across America, our national parks are in decline due to increased use and decreased funding. Suzanne Potter has more.

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.

Tiffany Camhi, KRCB

  The past year has been a tough one for Marin County’s History Museum. Ongoing financial troubles and declining public trust led the historic institution to close its doors last year. But KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports the museum is looking to re-open this year...with an infusion of donated money and new leadership.

County Adopts Union Contracts

Mar 15, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  After county workers voted to ratify new contracts last week, it was up to the Board of Supervisors to affirm the agreements at their weekly meeting Tuesday. Which they did. 

Supervisor James Gore joined in the Supervisors’ sympathetic response to the home health workers’ declaration they would continue to press for a $15 per hour minimum wage, playfully offering to help them take their case to the state Capitol.

Forum Spotlights Drug Abuse Rates, Treatment Needs

Mar 8, 2016

  Substance abuse is growing across California and in the North Bay—especially among young people—leaving resources for treatment far outstripped.

Sonoma County’s figures also show that 29% of patients get their opioid prescriptions from multiple doctors, and five percent use four or more separate prescribers and pharmacies. Melissa Stafford Jones, Regional Director for the US Dept. of Health & Human Services,  notes that California now has a resource for doc tors to help curtail that.

CSU Faculty Set April Strike Dates

Feb 8, 2016

  With prolonged contract talks apparently headed for impasse, The California Faculty Association is making plans for a state-wide strike in Mid-April.

  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."

Additional funds will temporarily boost repaving roads

Nov 10, 2015
Sonoma County

Sonoma County Supervisors will spend an additional $13 million on road repairs over the next two years. But they warn that this is one-time only money, so a long-term source of sustained funding is still needed.

Susan Klassen, the county's Director of Transportation and Public Works, says the additional road repair funds will be spread throughout the county, according to already-established priorities.

School Parcel Tax Tops Quiet November Election

Oct 28, 2015

  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.

The Sonoma County Library Outlines Its Future

Oct 17, 2015

  The Sonoma County Library has a new strategic plan to guide their next decade, but the bottom line remains constant—they still need more money to meet public demands.

  In the short term--very short--the county library system will add a long-awaited new branch to serve the people of Roseland. Library Director Brett Lear says that has been fast-tracked with encouragement from the county's Community Development Commission.

Strike Vote Next Week for SSU Faculty

Oct 14, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

The California State University system got a 10% boost in its budget this year—a $ 269 million increase—so the faculty statewide are pushing hard for a 5% salary increase. The administration has drawn a line at 2%, leaving the two sides at impasse, and a strike vote set for next week.

SSU professor Andy Merrifield, a member of the CFA’s statewide bargaining team, has been down this road before. But this time he says, the stakes are higher—and he believes the level of public support for the faculty is, too.

Mike McGuire’s First State Senate Term

Aug 31, 2015

  Eight months into his new job, representing northern California’s huge Second state Senate District, Healdsburg’s Mike McGuire is maintaining his usual frenetic pace as he wades into a new set of complex legislative issues.

  Facing a long list of issues to engage with in Sacramento, State Senator Mike McGuire says he allocates his efforts in accordance with four broad priorities.

Reimagining Sonoma County’s Libraries

Feb 27, 2015

  Public libraries everywhere are reflecting social and technical changes around them. So how can Sonoma County’s library’s plan for their future?

New Palm Drive Operating Plan Endorsed

Jan 26, 2015

Sebastopol’s Palm Drive Hospital could reopen in early April with a new name and management team, under a plan endorsed by the Palm Drive Health Care District’s Board of Directors Monday.

Reopening Palm Drive Hospital

Nov 25, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Dr. Richard Powers has practiced family medicine at Sebastopol’s Palm Drive hospital for decades. Now he’s going to help run the closed and bankrupt facility, which he is intent on seeing reopened next spring.

In addition to seeing Palm Drive Hospital reopened early next year, new board member Dr. Richard Powers is also hopeful that the facility’s bankruptcy creditors will also be getting paid soon.


CSU Faculty Ratify New 3-Year Contract

Nov 12, 2014

  The California Faculty Association, the union that represents professors and instructors for all the California State University campuses, has approved a new contract, following ratification vote by their members last week. That capped a bargaining process that was far less contentious than others over the past decade. Today we take a closer look at the process, and what resulted from it.

The CSU Board of Trustees is expected to also ratify the agreement at their meeting in Long Beach.

Roads Report Cites Mounting Repair Needs

Oct 30, 2014

  Sonoma County Supervisors have decided to hold off on a special election for a bond to fund road reports until next June. Meanwhile, an updated statewide report shows that this is an issue throughout California.

Sonoma County Living Wage Ordinance Proposed

Sep 8, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

 A new ordinance that would set a $15 per hour minimum wage for all county workers and employees of county contractors is heading for the board of Supervisors. But even that, backers admit, won’t fully cover the cost of living here.

Real Estate Recovery Boosts County Tax Revenues

Jun 23, 2014

From tiny school districts to the state Capitol, budgets are restoring cuts and adding positions for the fiscal year ahead. One of the things that is driving all that is higher property tax revenues, which in turn reflect an upward trend in the real estate market.  To get a clearer picture of how that works in Sonoma County, KRCB’s Bruce Robinson spoke with the official who tracks those numbers.

The next round of residential property taxes comes due in December.

Challanges Face Universal Preschool Goal

Jun 22, 2014

  Making preschool available to all Sonoma County’s 3 and 4 year olds is a noble goal, but getting there will be both expensive and complicated. 

New Chancellor Shares Vision for CSU Schools

Feb 19, 2014

The new head of the California State University system is out to boost access for students, and increase the number of degrees conferred, but he isn’t counting on a big surge in additional funding from the state to do so.

Despite the jump in tuition costs for CSU schools over the past few years, Chancellor Timothy White says it remains a highly affordable avenue of higher education for many students and their families.

Long Wait for Federal Rental Assistance

Dec 29, 2013

Funds to provide rental assistance to needy households currently meet only a fraction of the need in Sonoma County. And that was before the federal budget sequestration kicked in. Bruce Robinson has more.

While there are formulas that limit the total rental costs that the federal subsidies will support, Santa Rosa affordable housing advocate David Grabill observes that the Section 8 program was specifically designed to be workable for landlords.

Free Tax Preparation Assistance Yields Dividends

Dec 19, 2013

  By claiming a simple tax deduction on their federal returns, low income households can save up to several thousand dollars each year. A campaign to facilitate this is currently recruiting volunteers, and hopes to return millions to the local economy.