social issues

Benefitting from B Labs’ Assessment

Jul 19, 2017

Long before benefit corporations were established as a category of business empowered to allocate resources to more than maximizing profits, many companies took voluntary steps to aid their communities and their workers. Now, some of them are finding additional ways to expand their positive impacts through B-Corp certification. 

Fetzer Vineyards has a long. proud history of modeling sustainability within their industry. Yet through the B Labs' certification process, says Director of Regenerative Development Josh Prigge, they discovered how much more they could be doing.

Debunking the Idea of "Reverse Racism"

Apr 11, 2017

Whether its unconscious or overt, racism remains a sensitive issue in America. But the idea of “reverse racism” isn’t an inversion of that—it’s an example. A free public gathering to examine and debunk that idea is happening in Santa Rosa this Wednesday night.

Living With Autism

Feb 23, 2017

While Temple Grandin has become a well-known exemplar of a person with autism, attaining that status required overcoming a daunting series of challenges. It was a journey begun and largely shared with her mother, Eustacia Cutler, who has become an ardent advocate for families that include children on the autism spectrum. She has her own story to tell.

Adopting a New Model for Reducing Homelessness

Jan 31, 2017

A call to radically rethink how homeless services are structured and provided locally found a generally receptive audience in Santa Rosa this week.  Now the challenge is to implement those ideas.

The Homeless Solutions Summit was well attended by a full spectrum of people concerned about homelessness in Sonoma County. Jennielynn Holmes of Catholic Charities says she thinks the event will mobilize changes.

Better Foster Care Provides a More Typical Life

Dec 14, 2015

  Children in foster care thrive when they are able to live a more typical life, a new study concludes. We hear more from Suzanne Potter.

California Leads the Nation in Homelessness

Nov 27, 2015
Compass Family Services

  It's not just Sonoma County. California as a whole has an enormous problem in homelessness. Suzanne Potter has the numbers.

Learning Empathy in the Barnyard

Jul 19, 2015
Forget Me Not Farm

  Learning how to treat horses, chickens and sheep helps kids from troubled backgrounds develop compassion for more than animals.

  Rathman is fully convinced that the Forget-Me-Not experience is both instructive and healing. And even though it’s hard to quantify their results with hard data, the first-hand stories and other anecdotal evidence is overwhelmingly affirmative.

Forget-Me-Not Farm was also profiled on KRCB-TV's Community Health Connections. You can view the segment below.

Restorative Justice Comes to Santa Rosa Schools

Dec 15, 2014


   Santa Rosa City Schools are experimenting with restorative justice, as a disciplinary alternative to widespread suspensions. This first part of a two-day report looks at why the change was made, and how it is being introduced.

The new approach to discipline within the Santa Rosa City School District is being led by Restorative Resources of Santa Rosa. You can find out much more about it on their website

Homeless Survey to ID Most Vulnerable

Apr 7, 2014
Courtesy Flickr user Blodeuwedd. Licensed under Creative Commons

  The worst of the winter weather is past for this season, which is good news for the homeless in Sonoma County. But the people who provide services to that population are already thinking ahead to next winter. Today they’re starting a weeklong process to find out who among the homeless are most vulnerable. Bruce Robinson talks with the coordinator of that effort.

SAY's Dream Center Advances

Mar 26, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

The SAY Dream Center, a new housing and service center for homeless youth in Santa Rosa’s Bennett Valley, has been controversial in the neighborhood around the former Warrack Hospital site. But it received unanimous support from the city’s Planning Commission two months ago, and further undivided backing from the Santa Rosa City Council last night.  To find out what happens next, KRCB’s Bruce Robinson spoke with the man behind the project.

Local Actions Aid Sonoma County's Homless

Feb 3, 2014

  It hasn’t rained significantly, but the continuing cold weather at night is still a hardship for the growing number of homeless families and individuals in Sonoma County. Recognizing this problem, Santa Rosa and the county have taken a series of actions to help, and we get an update on those measures in today’s program. 

Study: California is Failing its Children

Jan 8, 2014

  A new study finds California needs to do a better job meeting the health, education and economic needs of its children. The annual 2014 California Children's Report Card from Children Now, looks at advancements made last year as the governor and Legislature begin to plan their agendas for the year. Lori Abbott reports.

Care in the Cold

Dec 20, 2013

  A growing number of the homeless across Sonoma County are young people, who are now estimated to be a quarter of that population. Social Advocates for Youth is one of the local agencies offering services to those youth, and on The Exchange today, Bruce Robinson talks with one of their staff members who is out on the front lines.

Social Finance Lending

Dec 9, 2013

Social impact investing balances a borrower’s contribution to the local and global community, against the lender’s return on investment. And both parties talk to each other to make it work. 

Their face-to-face pricing meetings are often revelatory for the participants, says RSF Social Finance CEO Don Shaffer. But their reactions also tend to follow a consistent pattern.


Number of Incarcerated Mothers Growing

Dec 5, 2013

  The number of mothers in the nation's prisons has been increasing rapidly, with traumatic effects rippling through a new generation of their children. Lori Abbot has more.

Operation Access

Dec 4, 2013

  Community health clinics provide all kinds of routine care for needy families and individuals. But when they encounter someone with a problem that requires a specialist or out-patient surgery, there’s another resource they can call on.

Ellen Kauffman of Operation Access explains how their referral based services are delivered, and who is eligible to receive them.

Supervisors Weigh Responses to Lopez Shooting

Dec 4, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Creating a Community Task Force, lapel cameras for sheriff’s deputies, and the idea of  a park in southwest Santa Rosa were all endorsed by county supervisors yesterday, in response to the Andy Lopez shooting. But community healing still is a long way off.

Seeking More Options for Sonoma County’s Homeless

Dec 3, 2013

  Frosty nights and homelessness are a bad—sometimes even lethal—combination. But new resources to provide warmth and shelter are slow to come online.

The idea of providing designated parking for people to spend the nights in their cars is new to this area, but Georgia Berland of the Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless points to a successful similar program in southern California.

Redefining Poverty for California

Oct 22, 2013

 National formulas for setting the poverty line don’t allow for higher regional costs, such as Bay Area housing expenses. Factor those costs in, and the number of people who are actually living in poverty here takes a substantial jump. 

A Challenging Year for Journalism

Sep 30, 2013

  2013 was a hard year for journalists and whistle-blowers, according to the annual assessment of Project Censored. Their new book of media critiques is ready for release, and KRCB’s Bruce Robinson has a preview.

  Throughout its 37 year history, Project Censored has been guided by a broad and inclusive definition of the word censored. But in the past year, notes Associate Director Andy Roth, some instances of journalistic suppression have been brutally direct.

Learning Empathy in the Barnyard

Sep 23, 2013
Forget-Me-Not Farm

Learning how to treat horses, chickens and sheep helps kids from troubled backgrounds develop compassion for more than animals.

Even though the program and philosophy at Forget-Me-Not Farm are unusual by almost any standard, executive Director and founder Carol Rathman says that, for the kids, visiting the farm is an infrequent dose of normalcy in their disrupted lives.


Jail Phone Costs Questioned

Aug 22, 2013

Telephone calls can be a jail inmate’s only remaining link to family and friends on the outside. But those calls are costly, and the critics contend the services they fund for prisoners shouldn’t mean less access to personal contacts.

The impulse to penalize jail inmates with fiscal barriers to outside communications is understandable, says Tracy Rosenberg of Media Alliance, but ultimately it is short-sighted, resulting in higher social costs.

HIV and Aging

Jul 30, 2013

People with HIV are now living much longer lives. But they are also aging faster than other people, which creates some unusual and acute health care needs.

Just as health care providers need to anticipate how to meet the needs of aging HIV patients, Rachel Gardner believes that social service agencies such as Food For Thought will have to make adjustments, too.

Mixed Numbers in 2013 Homeless Count

May 7, 2013

The preliminary results of the 2013 count of homeless people in Sonoma County will be presented to the board of Supervisors this morning. And, as Bruce Robinson reports, the news is mostly grim. 

Peter Connery of Applied Survey Research, which conducts similar studies for other counties and cities in California and beyond, says that despite the worrisome figures in his 2013 for Sonoma County, the programs in place here have helped prevent matters from becoming even worse.

Economic Inequality in Sonoma County

Apr 25, 2013

Sonoma County presents a prosperous and inclusive face to the world, but upon closer examination, this area is also home to serious and growing income inequality. A new report spells it out in detail, and Bruce Robinson has this preview.

Ginny Browne, author of The State of Working Sonoma in 2013 report, says that in summary, it shows that the “hourglass economy” is expanding in Sonoma County.

The Parallels of Pearl Harbor and 9/11

Feb 14, 2013

When the 9/11 attacks rocked America, Muslim communities here had no idea what to expect. But survivors of the Japanese internment camps during World War II did, and many were quick to act on that experience.

The Day of Remembrance workshop in Sebastopol will be held at the Enmanji Temple from 1-3 pm on Saturday, Feb. 16. It’s free, but advance reservations are requested. Further details in the flyer below.

Shaping Immigration Reform

Feb 6, 2013

As the national debate over immigration reform moves from gridlock toward negotiation, members of the Dream Alliance in Sonoma County are both hopeful and concerned. Hopeful that action will finally be forthcoming this year, but worried that the final result may be too restrictive or otherwise flawed.

Violence and Video Games

Jan 31, 2013

Predictably, a San Francisco video game developer opposes any moves to restrict violence in those games' content. But not for the reasons you might expect.

Jason Shanke addressed a computer science colloquium at Sonoma State University Thursday afternoon on the topic, "Interactive Entertainment and Social Responsibility." You can read the paper on which he based that talk here.