Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Photo

On the next Morning Edition, ahead of midterm elections, President Trump is playing a leading role for Republican candidates. He has continued to push a hardline immigration agenda. But another administration official is trying to influence the elections more quietly.

Sam Hodgson / This American Life

Democrats are pretty united in how they feel about President Trump. But they’re wrestling with each other over what their party is, and what it stands for. In this year's pivotal midterms, before Democrats slug it out with Republicans, they’re slugging it out with each other.

Ben King / Courtesy of HBO

Novelist Tom Perrotta’s book Mrs. Fletcher, now out in paperback, is about how a single mother and her son are both transformed when he goes off to college. Perrotta’s previous novels Election and Little Children were both adapted to film.  His book The Leftovers, about the people left behind after many others have instantly disappeared in what may or may not be the Rapture, was adapted into a popular HBO series.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

• The California governor’s race is in its final week before next Tuesday’s primary. The candidates are hitting the road as campaign ads swarm voters’ screens and mailboxes.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

  With less than two weeks until California’s June 5th primary, the governor’s race is all about who will come in SECOND. The top two primary finishers, regardless of political party, advance to the November general election. With first place all but set, the candidates — and outside groups — are going all-in … either to make the race competitive in November or effectively end it next month.

Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler reports.



California Update for Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May 16, 2018
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

• Two bills in the California legislature seek to tackle a backlog of rape kits in the state.  One will count and track untested kits, the other makes the testing and submitting of kits mandatory.

• With more Californians receiving ballots in the mail this election cycle, voters might wonder what happens if they send one in without the required postage.

Today's reporting by Adhiti Bandlamudi and Ben Adler.

Some environmentalists said the law extending California’s cap and trade system to 2030 is a sellout to the oil industry, and that it shortchanges disadvantaged communities that breathe the dirtiest air. How do California’s climate moves play into national politics and policy? Will climate and energy play a meaningful role in the upcoming midterm elections? Will companies make energy policy more of a priority? We look back at how Gov. Schwarzenegger set the tone and how his past leadership continues to influence California’s policies today.  


Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. The Senate Committee is looking into the circumstances around Comey's dismissal and how they relate to the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. Election. The White House has given conflicting messages about the reasons for Comey's firing. Sources close to Comey say the President told Comey to shut down the Russia investigation. That's a charge that the White House denies.

Since Russia meddled in our election, there's been concern that the fake news and disinformation that's so prevalent there could be taking hold in this country. But is that hyperbole? This week we look at what it's actually like to live in the confusing information landscape that is Putin's Russia. 

County’s Pot Tax Measure Draws Criticism

Feb 25, 2017

Sonoma County is grappling with the many complexities of legalizing cannabis, bringing a fast-growing, largely free-wheeling industry under governmental control. Opponents of Measure A, which would tax cannabis businesses here, fear it will cripple the small-scale operations it is out to regulate.

Sonoma County Republicans have officially opposed measure A. The Sonoma County Taxpayers Association took no position, but their Executive Director, Dan Drummond, says he personally is inclined to favor it, despite some misgivings.

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.

Marijuana Measures Seek a Place on the 2016 Ballot

Mar 7, 2016

  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. 

Dick Spotswood Samples the Iowa Caucuses

Feb 1, 2016

  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.

Ballot Measure Eyed for Wetlands Restoration

Jan 12, 2016
Save the Bay

  The price for restoring thousands of acres of wetlands around San Francisco Bay runs into many millions of dollars. But the costs of not doing that work could be even greater. 

Placing the proposed parcel tax on the ballot in June, not November, is a decision based on careful political consideration, explains Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer of the California Coastal Conservancy.

With a secure source for major funding, the trend toward larger wetland restoration projects could be continued and expanded, suggests Letitia Grenier, from the San Francisco Estuary Institute.

Sonoma County PRMD

A collection of seven Community Separators, approved by voters 20 years ago, will be back on the ballot for renewal next fall, possibly with some additional areas to be protected.

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.

Revisiting Community Separators

Oct 26, 2015
Greenbelt Alliance

As the local economy rebounds, and the demand for additional housing in Sonoma County accelerates, a call for renewing protections on open lands between local cities is stirring debate.

Localized maps of the various existing community separators in Sonoma County can be seen on the Greenbelt Alliance website.

Sonoma County Voters Reject Measure A

Jun 3, 2015

  A bid to raise the sale tax and use the revenues for road repairs fell well short of the 50% vote needed for passage yesterday, as anti-government sentiments prevailed in a low-turnout special election.

Expanding 'Motor Voter' Registrations

May 26, 2015


  Voter turnout hit record lows in California last year. So new legislation in Sacramento aims to increase registration, as a first step toward greater electoral participation.

Sales Tax Increase Would Finance Road Repairs

May 8, 2015

Sonoma County voters are being asked to approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase intended to fund the repair of a thousand miles of local roads.

Measure A would raise more than $102 million dollars over five years, according to the County Auditor’s Fiscal Impact Statement. That, says Supervisor David Rabbitt, would be enough to dramatically affect the current widespread problems.

The Mosquito District’s Assessment Election

Apr 2, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

 Taxes aren’t the only thing due on April 15th; so are ballots in the current mail-in assessment election for the Marin-Sonoma Mosquito, Vector and Disease Control District. But this is not a typical election.

The Mosquito District will hold its only public hearing on the assessment election on the evening of April 15th. Voting will close at the end of that hearing, with the results to be announced on May 13th.

Redistricting Urged for SRJC Trustees

Mar 24, 2015

  Santa Rosa has changed a lot since 1965, but the districts for the city’s SRJC trustees have not. A coalition of activists want to update those lines to make the areas more representative.

  Redistricting advocates are suggesting that the 3-4-5 district be divided into three smaller districts, but Robert Edmonds says it might be useful or necessary to expand the process to include the entire county.


FAll 2014 Election Results

Nov 5, 2014

  Sonoma County voters came out strongly for education spending in this election, but they also largely supported current or returning city council members while  adding a newcomer to the county board of supervisors.

Full Sonoma County election results can be found here.

Latino Candidates Seek School Board Seats

Oct 31, 2014

 Regardless of the results in this year’s election, the modest increase in Latino candidates in local school board races this fall is seen as an encouraging development by Latino community leaders in Sonoma County.

   Demographic diversity is helpful among the elected members of local school boards, says Laura Gonzalez, a second-term trustee for Santa Rosa City Schools. But she places an even higher value on cultural sensitivity.


Measure M Would Boost Library Services

Oct 24, 2014

  The second and smaller revenue measure facing all of Sonoma County’s voters in this election would increase the sales tax by one-eighth cent to increase funding for the county system.  Restoring the hours that the branches are open each week is at the top of the list of benefits, should Measure M pass, but there is more to it as well.

  Measure M will require a 2/3ds vote to pass. It would be in effect for 10 years, and raise about $10 million per year.

Candidates Quizzed on 'Citizens United' Stance

Oct 21, 2014

  “Citizens United” is the short-hand name for the controversial 2010 decision by the US Supreme Court . That ruling concluded that campaign contributions are a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, even when they are made by corporations and other large organizations. The backlash against Citizens United includes a broad campaign to overrule it through a nationwide constitutional amendment, an effort that is also focusing on local elections in Sonoma County this fall.

SRJC Seeks Voter OK for Construction Bonds

Oct 15, 2014

  There are just two county-wide measures that all Sonoma County voters will decide in the current election. One is funding for libraries, the other is Measure H, a construction bond for Santa Rosa Junior College. We get details on that one in today’s segment. Here’s Bruce.

Scant Drama in Primary Voting

Jun 4, 2014

  In a generally low-key primary election, some local races were decided yesterday, while a few set the stage for bigger drama in the fall.In a generally low-key primary election, some local races were decided yesterday, while a few set the stage for bigger drama in the fall.

Sales Tax Hike Urged to Boost Libraries

May 18, 2014

  Back in the 1970s, Sonoma County’s libraries were open 72 hours per week. That’s down to 40 hours per week now, and library boosters are calling for a sales tax increase this fall to reverse the trend and fend off further service reductions.

  The online petition to support additional library funding in Sonoma County can be found here.

Monitoring Honduras' Election

Dec 18, 2013

Last month’s presidential election in Honduras was tainted by bribery, fraud, and intimidation, says a local observer who was there. Her assessment is very different than the US Ambassador’s. 

 Another problem with the Honduran election that observers reported was widespread, especially in poorer, rural areas, was overt governmental vote-buying. Maria Robinson, who was there representing the Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas, explains how it worked.