public policy

MacKenzie Chairs Regional Transportation Body

Jun 5, 2017
Metropolitan Transportation Commission

For the first time in more than 35 years, the head of the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission is an elected official from Sonoma County:  longtime Rohnert Park city councilman and current mayor Jake MacKenzie.

Composting Toilets as an Aid to Sustainability

Mar 28, 2017

For decades, composting toilets have been an off-the-grid novelty. But in a time of limited fresh water and burgeoning interest in sustainable living, they are ripe for re-examination.

Sonoma County is hardly the only place that composting toilets have been put into use for remote rural residences. But Miriam Volat believes this area may be more receptive than most to the wider use of such fixtures.

Bad News, Good Energy at Health Care Town Hall

Mar 13, 2017

A fired up crowd eager to defend the Affordable Care Act filled the Marin Civic Center, to hear a panel led by Congressman Jared Huffman detail the problems they foresee in the new, Republican-sponsored alternative.

While much of the testimony focused on the anticipated harms that would befall the North Bay should the Affordable Care Act be replaced with “TrumpCare,” Marin County Director of Health and Human Services Grant Colfax also noted that the Republican alternative would also slash funding for health care at the national level.

Indivisible in Sonoma County

Feb 22, 2017

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.

Why the Ballot is So Long This Fall

Sep 20, 2016

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.

Wolf Protection Plan Criticized

Dec 4, 2015
Calif. Dept. of Fish and Gam

  With Gray Wolves once again ranging--in very small numbers--across parts of Northern California, a plan for managing the species has been drafted and is now open for public comment. But, as Suzanne Potter reports, wildlife advocates see serious flaws in that proposal.

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.

Navy Signals Willingness to Protect Whales

Nov 16, 2015
Daniel Du Toit/ Wikimedia Commons

  The public comment period is now open on a move by the Navy to evaluate the harm their training exercises do to whales and dolphins. And, as Suzanne Petter reports, they have, for the first time,  indicated a possible willingness to make some changes in their procedures.

Environment, Immigration Top Issues for Latinos

Aug 19, 2015
wasan gredpree/iStock

  Immigration is a top political concern for Latino voters in California, but a new poll finds that envcironmental issues are equally important to them. Suzanne Potter reports.

Charting Local Adaptations to Climate Change

Apr 8, 2015

Extreme weather is here, so how do we deal with it? That was the subject of a day-long Forum held at Sonoma State Wednesday, titled “Resilience in a Changing Climate.”

'The Right to Stay Home'

Feb 19, 2015

One little-publicized aspect of the immigration reform issue is the role that American laws and policies play in driving impoverished Latinos to leave their homes. The 10 year old North American Free Trade Agreement is a case in point.

  The downside of NAFTA is abundantly clear now, contends writer David Bacon, while the benefits that proponents of the policy predicted  have not lived up to those expectations.


Healthy Aging in Sonoma County

Jan 23, 2015

  As Sonoma County’s adult population grows older, additional programs and supports will be needed to serve them. A “Healthy Aging Collaborative” is underway to map those needs and find ways to address them.

See the summary that will be presented to the Board of Supervisors here. The item should be taken up around 10 am  Tuesday.

The newest addition to   KRCB television’s Health Connections series is a long-form documentary titled Place Matters. It’s an exploration of how myriad social inequalities affect community health—using Santa Rosa as a case in point. 

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

For many Mexican immigrants in Sonoma County, President Obama’s moves to relax deportations for millions, while welcome, fell far short of what they had hoped for.

There was widespread speculation about how far-reaching the president’s actions would be, so the final announcement, says Jesus Guzman of the Graton Day Labor Center, was deeply disappointing to many of the workers there.

The chart below, prepared by the Pew Research Center, compares Executive Action on immigration issues by President Obama and other recent Chief Executives.


  Hispanic children are 1.5 times more likely to be uninsured than other children, and a new report says California is doing better than most states in terms of outreach to their families. Chris Thomas reports.

Engaging with Local Boards and Commissions

Nov 7, 2014

  It takes more than just a desire to serve, and perhaps some relevant personal background, to win a seat on a local board or commission, and to be an effective member of that body. So where does one get that specialized training? One place is a event for that very purpose, being held tomorrow at Santa Rosa Junior College. Here’s more about it.

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.

Local Push for Medical Waste Disposal

Oct 29, 2014

  Just about everyone agrees that pharmaceutical manufacturers should pay for the collection and disposal of unused medicines—except for the pharmaceutical manufacturers.

As they expected, Alameda County was promptly sued to invalidate their ordinance requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for the collection and disposal of unused prescription medicines. But after the local law was upheld twice, most recently by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Heidi Sanborn of the California Product Stewardship Council says the matter should be settled.

Resources Expanding for Sonoma County’s Homeless

Sep 28, 2014

  As winter approaches, hundreds of homeless individuals and families in Sonoma County will have some additional resources available this year—although they are still not enough to serve that sizable population.

  Roughly a third of the homeless population in Sonoma County are young people, under the age of 25, so there is a critical need for services tailored for them, says Georgia Berland, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless.

Roseland Annexation inches forward

Sep 16, 2014
County of Sonoma

  Just about everyone involved thinks Santa Rosa’s annexation of Roseland from the county is a good idea whose time has come. But the process to accomplish that is moving at a very deliberate pace. 

The next meeting of the joint City/County Annexation Committee is scheduled for October 9th.

DIY: California's Water Policy Choices

Sep 9, 2014

  As California’s drought continues, the range of possible responses is narrowing, while the cost for most available options is increasing. The California Water Challenge is a new interactive on-line tool intended to give us a better understanding of the choices and trade-offs that face us. Here’s a closer look at it.

The California Water Challenge website went live this morning; you can try it for yourself here.

Developing Solar Power on Agricultural Lands

Aug 22, 2014
West County Union High School District

  Sonoma County has opened the door  for the construction of  new solar arrays that could feed Sonoma Clean Power, on agricultural lands and elsewhere. But local environmentalists are keeping a wary eye on where those developments might be located.

  Sonoma Clean Power’s new PRO-Fit program is open to 14 kinds of renewable energy generation projects, including biomass, tidal current, geothermal and small hydroelectric. But for now, says COE Geof Syphers, most proposals are expected to be solar installations.

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. 

Glass Joins Sebastopol Council

Jun 20, 2014
Marty Roberts

  The abrupt death of Sebastopol City Councilman Michael Kyes last month created a vacancy on the dais. It was filled last night when the other four council members appointed his widow, Una Glass to serve out the remaining five months of his term in office.  Glass is also Executive Director of California Coastwalk and currently President of Sonoma County Conservation Action. She talked about her new assignment earlier this morning with KRCB’s Bruce Robinson.

Expanding Protections on the Sonoma Coast

Jun 16, 2014
Ocean Foundation

  For years, even decades, there has been an ongoing effort to permanently protect the Sonoma Coast from oil drilling. That’s close to being finalized now, with a last round of public hearings on the North Coast this week. Today’s Exchange has details for you.

The Ocean Foundation's guide to the expansion plans and the hearings can be downloaded here.

The Effects of Labor-Friendly Laws

Jun 11, 2014

  If Congress won’t act to increase the minimum wage, should cities take action instead? A new book analyzing the consequences of doing that in San Francisco sees mostly positive outcomes.

Ken Jacobs will talk about his book, and what San Francisco’s experience might mean for Sonoma County, Thursday night in Rohnert Park. You can find event details here.

Expanding California’s Water Supply

Jun 10, 2014

  The best response to the drought, as well as future water shortages, is to make better use of the water that is already here. Four immediately available strategies to do just that are being proposed by a pair of Bay area environmental groups.

  Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Berkeley, says that implementation of the four strategies they are advocating can be done right away, using policies that are already in place.

Analyzing the Health of Sonoma County's Population

Jun 8, 2014

  A detailed demographic Portrait of Sonoma County shows where residents are healthy and where they are not, and, more importantly, identifies the reasons underlying those differences.

A summary of the report can be found here. Or click here to access a PDF of the entire document.

Calls Mount for Carillo's Resignation

May 6, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Embattled Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo found no support from his colleagues at this week's Board meeting, as all four urged him to step down, as did most of the speakers in a lengthy public comment period.

Sustainability in Local Government

Apr 30, 2014

Leadership on policies and practices to promote sustainability, reduce waste and combat climate change is increasing coming from responsive and local sources—city and county governments.