Tags >> employment
Jun 09
2010

Primary Election Results

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , Sonoma County , politics , Napa , Marin , government , employment , economy , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

Mike McGuire and Jill Ravitch  were elected Supervisor and District Attorney  in Sonoma County last night, while the match-ups for November were decided in a number of other contests.

As Noreen Evans has moved up the political ladder, from the Santa Rosa City Council to the State Assembly, and almost certainly to the State Senate in November, she has had a larger population to represent at each step. Her pending move to the far-flung 2nd State Senate District adds a lot of geography, but she says the key issue throughout the area is a familiar one.

The full roster of results in Sonoma County can be found here. For state offices and ballot measures, go here.

 

 

May 21
2010

High School Days Cut

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , West County , unions , teens , students , news , jobs , government , employment , education , current events , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

A three year cost-cutting deal has closed three west Sonoma County high schools for the day today, and further cutbacks are planned for the next two years, even before the next round of budgetary bad news arrives from Sacramento.

Negotiations to set up the reduced school schedule for the next two years progressed quickly once the concept was on the table. Superintendent Keller McDonald says the talks between the West Sonoma County Union High School District and their employee unions were wrapped up in just two weeks.

Today’s short-notice free day was enjoyed by students, suspects teacher Ed Lynch, a teacher at Analy High (left), but the shorter school year schedule for the next two years will, in some significant ways make a difficult situation even worse.

 

 

May 04
2010

Sheep Shearing

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , farms , employment , education , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Learning the process of hands-on sheep shearing may not be wild, but it is unquestionably wooly.

Shearing sheep is a physical process, but leverage and technique are more important than strength. Students of all ages can learn—one member of the current class is just 13, and women can shear as well as men, says UC Extension Livestock Advisor John Harper. But it does take the full five days of intensive work to begin to master the task.

Done properly, Harper adds, the shearing process is not a hardship for the sheep, and can be completed quite quickly.

While selling the wool can be a welcome source of income for the sheep rancher, at least when the markets are stronger than they have been the past couple of years, regular shearing is also important for the health of the animals, adds shearing instructor Mike McWilliams.

 

 

 

 

Apr 21
2010

Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Rohnert Park , research , protest , policy , jobs , employment , California , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Critics of Wal-Mart who oppose the retail giant’s plans to expand in Rohnert Park are fighting an uphill battle, especially on labor issues, warns a University of California historian who has studied the company.

Knowing they will face local opposition in many communities, Nelson Lichtenstein (left)  observes that Wal-Mart has recently turned to a new tactic to minimize the regulatory review they must undergo—moving into existing but empty big box buildings.

That didn’t work so smoothly for the company in Santa Rosa, but the vacated space next to the already-established Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park apparently prompted their bid to expand into it.

In his recent book, The Retail Revolution, Lichtenstein  charts the history of Wal-Mart from its  origins in Arkansas and Alabama, detailing how the attitudes of founder Sam Walton became enmeshed into the core culture of the company. And, he says, they didn’t change as the retailer expanded and grew, and now lie at the heart of many of Wal-mart’s battles with local communities.

Opposition to the  proposed Wal-Mart Supcercenter in Rohnert Park (seen here in an artist's drawing of the project as it might look)  is being led by the Living Wage Coalition. The city's planning staff has recommended approval of the Environmental Impact Report for the expansion.  Read the full staff report here. The city's original approval for the store in 1991 allowed the store to occupy up to 225,500 square feet; is it currently using just 131,500 square feet, and the proposed Supercenter would increase that to just under 178,000 square feet.