Tags >> California
Nov 02
2009

Election Preview

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , politics , Marin , government , California , business

Bruce Robinson

Yes, Virginia, tomorrow is an election day—just not for most of Sonoma County.

Ukiah Daily Journal Editor K.C. Meadows explains the reasons behind her paper’s decision to take an editorial position against Measure A, the ballot measure that would approve a huge new mall project on the site of the city’s former Masonite plant.

The status of the proposed Mendocino Crossings site as a former industrial property is another point of contention. Supporters of the project say it would clean up the industrial wastes that were left there; opponents would rather keep it open for other options.

The website for the Yes on A campaign is here.  And the No on A campaign is here.

Marin County political observer and commentator Dick Spotswood says that there are several ballot measures to provide additional funding for local schools across the county, and history suggests they will fare well on Tuesday, even those with a high threshold for approval.

Dick Spotswood is a columnist for the Marin Independent Journal. He blogs about Marin politics at The Militant Centrist.

Oct 29
2009

Builders of the Pacific Coast

Posted by Bruce Robinson in trees , Science , planning , open space , Ideas , housing , environment , design , coast , California , author , art

Bruce Robinson

From remote cabins crafted of driftwood to stunningly beautiful and unconventional family homes, Bolinas-based writer and photographer Lloyd Kahn collects innovative individual builders up and down the Pacific Coast.

Below are two examples of the buildings featured in the book: The elbaorate temple built by SunRay Kelly at Harbin Hotsprings, and a whimsical gazebo made of driftwood on a Vancouver Island beach.

The farther north he ventured, the more Kahn found projects that had been built in substantial part from found materials—driftwood on the beaches, and fallen timber inland. He says that immersing himself in that world has had an enduring effect in the way he sees potential resources around him now.

Lloyd Kahn's first building experience was with geodesic domes, which led to his first book as well. But  he eventually became disenchanged  the domes, and turned his attention to the more generalized subject of  Shelter, published in 1973. The success of that volume launched his Bolinas-based publishing business,  which concentrates on books about do-it-yourself homebuilding, and health. He'll present a slide show drawn from Builders of the Pacific Coast at Copperfield's Books  in Sebastopol on Thursday night, Oct. 29, at 7  pm.

 

For his next publishing project, Kahn says he will be narrowing his lens to focus on creative “micro” housing efforts, such as this work in progress.

The intricately ornamented staircase and loft below is yet another of the utterly unique homes Kahn has featured in Builders of the Pacific Coast.

 

Oct 28
2009

Landfill Divestiture

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , Sonoma County , Science , resources , politics , planning , news , Health , garbage , environment , energy , conservation , chemicals , California , budget , air quality , activism

Bruce Robinson

An unpopular plan to privatize the Sonoma County dump has been voted down by county supervisors, rekindling hope that they might still be able to resume operations at the facility, which has been inactive for the past four years.

A sizable crowd was on hand for the meeting Tuesday morning, many of them wearing "Go Green" badges to indicate their opposition to the proposed divestiture deal. Some of them were apparently mobilized by the eight-minute video below, which was posted on YouTube the preceding weekend.

[video:[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6JY28g86Q ]

“This agreement does not have a constituency,” observed Supervisor Shirlee Zane, after the parade of speakers unanimously denounced the proposal Tuesday morning. Windsor Town Council member Deborah Fudge (right)  faulted the county for much of that, saying that closed door meetings and a process that assumed any outreach would happen after the divestiture was approved, had backfired on the Board.

One of the repeated messages during public comments on the divestiture proposal was that, even if approved by the board of supervisors, it will still be dependent on the full participation of most of the local municipalities. Yet council members from Santa Rosa, Windsor, and Healdsburg  all expressed reservations. Petaluma, which has already opted out and is now shipping their waste to Novato, might still be open to working with the county, suggested Mayor Pam Torliatt. But none of that seemed to inspire a desire for cooperation in Supervisor Paul Kelley.

Also see these previous North Bay Reports on the Sonoma County landfill issue:

The Deal for the Dump  (Oct. 1, 2009)

Landfill Leak (July 7, 2009)

The Landfill's Future (March 31, 2009)

Sonoma County is far from alone is struggling to deal responsibly and locally with its garbage. This video takes a critical look at the situation in neighboring Marin County.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRuvi8Rs0R4 450x450]


Oct 27
2009

Auto Impounds

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Sonoma County , Santa Rosa , rights , public safety , protest , poverty , policy , law enforcement , justice , jail , immigration , government , California , activism

Bruce Robinson

Impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers is a discretionary call for police officers, one that can be an expensive hardship for immigrant workers in Sonoma County.

Once a vehicle has been impounded, the law dictates that it will be held for the full 30 days, but the owner can request a hearing to get it released soon. Sgt. Dough Schlies of the Santa Rosa Police Department, explains how that process works.

Here's the full explanation of the Santa Rosa Police Department policy governing the release of impounded vehicles.

While acknowledging that the law grants police officers individual discretion to decide whether or not to call in a tow truck when they find an unlicensed driver, Davin Cardenas, an activst and organizer with the Committee on Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County is concerned that those decisions often vary widely. And he suspects that in at least some cases, ethnic profiling is involved.

"Vehicle impoundment" is governed by Section 14602.6  of the California Vehicle Code. This is the California Highway Patrol's explanation of that law.

From the announcement of the Halloween Day march in Santa Rosa:

"On October 31st, the Committee for Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County will sponsor a march and symbolic Trick or Treat at City Hall to bring awareness about the impounding of immigrants automobiles. We want to let people know what we are asking for, as well as what our responsibilites are in order to bring change about. Bring the kids! Bring a costume! We will also be promoting the usage of safer forms of transportation, such as carpooling, bicycles (bring your bikes!), and walking. There will be face painting prior to the march, as well as a whole lot of candy. Where: Begin at 665 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, Ca (Dollar Tree parking lot)
            End at Santa Rosa City Hall
When: Saturday October 31st
           3pm - 6pm (rally and face paint begin at 3pm, march at 4pm)
For more information, contact the Committee for Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County at
(707) 571- 7559.