Tags >> Sonoma County
Feb 18
2010

FBI Raid at SSU

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , Sonoma County , news , law enforcement , justice , finances , education , budget

Bruce Robinson

County and federal investigators raided administrative and financial offices at Sonoma State Thursday morning, as part of a long-running investigation into allegations of fiscal mismanagement of a large grants administration program on campus.

It has been almost three years since the fiscal problems surfaced at the California Institute for Human Services, and Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalaqua (right) says it will now take many more months to sift through the materials that were collected during this raid.

 

Feb 17
2010

Electric Mail Trucks

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Sonoma County , Science , research , legislation , government , go green , gadgets , environment , design , conservation , Congress , carbon , business , alternative energy , air quality

Bruce Robinson

While the major automakers are getting ready to roll out the next generation of electric cars, a North Bay company is demonstrating how that technology could be applied to such utilitarian vehicles as mail trucks.

Zap—the name is an acronym for “Zero Air Pollution”— recognizes that they are not positioned to compete with major American and international carmakers who are readying electric models for the broad consumer market. But company founder Gary Starr says they are setting their sights on a specific sort of vehicle, and the mail truck prototype is a strong step in that direction.

Zap founder Gary Starr (right) explains the mail truck  gas-to-electric conversion project to North Bay Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey at the company's Santa Rosa workshop on Tuesday, as CEO Steve Schneider (left) looks on. The array of lithium batteries that will power the vehicle instead of a gasoline engine are on the platform in the foreground. (Photo by Margot Duane)

 

 

Feb 12
2010

Foreclosures Part 2

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , poverty , nonprofit orgs , news , jobs , finances , families , employment , economy

Bruce Robinson

Foreclosure sales of homes where the loans are in default still represent a loss for the banks making the sales. Yet local agencies that work with overextended homeowners say few lenders seem willing to work toward other outcomes.

When people come to the foreclosure prevention program, says Linda Hedstrom at California Human Development, they sometimes have unrealistic hopes. But the keeping the house is often not possible, so damage control becomes the fallback objective.

 

One secondary effect of the foreclosure wave has been a considerable number of former homeowners who must return to the ranks of renters. But Hedstrom observes the rental market in Sonoma County currently is much tighter than the for sale housing market.

Feb 11
2010

Foreclosures Part 1

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , rights , religion , poverty , policy , nonprofit orgs , jobs , housing , homeless , families , employment , economy , community engagement , children , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

The wave of home foreclosures that swept California in 2008 and 2009 has not gone away. In some ways, it may be getting worse.

Last year, says Brian O’Callahan, who directs the three-person Foreclosure Prevention program for Catholic Charities in Santa Rosa, his agency was contacted by roughly 3500 people seeking help with home loans gone bad. Out of that number, about 600 met the criteria for his HUD-funded program (first mortgages only, primary residence of the borrower). And only a quarter of those 600 were able to get significant assistance. For many of the rest, the best they could offer was sympathy and someone to listen.