Tags >> finances
Jun 16
2009

Energy Efficiency Loans

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma , solar , legislation , housing , government , finances , environment , economy , construction , conservation , community , climate change , budget , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

A new county program to help finance solar panels and other energy improvements for existing homes and businesses is up and running, and working out some early kinks in the system.

 

 One important aim of the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, says John Haig, Sonoma County Energy and Sustainability Manager , is retrofitting the area's existing housing stock and other buildings to boost their energy efficiency.  You can read a general introduction to the program here.

How much will these projects reduce local energy consumption? There are a great many variables that go into that calculation, Haig explains.
 

Information, speakers and exhibits about solar energy and the county's retrofil program will be featured at the free Solar Sonoma County Solar Fair, Saturday, June 20, 11 am to 6 pm at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa. Click here for a full schedule of events.


 

 

May 11
2009

Affordable Foreclosures

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma , planning , nonprofit orgs , housing , government , finances , families , events , environment , design , construction

Bruce Robinson
 Residential foreclosures can pose an opportunity for local government and agencies to increase the amount of affordable housing in their communities.

 The federal government's one-size-fits-all approach to the mortgage meltdown will not work everywhere in the country, says Erik Sten (right), a former City Commissioner in Portland, Oregon. He believes a more diversified strategy will be required.

 Erik Sten was in Santa Rosa to speak at the Leadership Breakfast for the Sonoma County Housing Coalition, the kick-off event for their Affordable Housing Week . The Coalition has a full schedule of events planned throughSaturday, May 16.

Erik Sten's new enterprise is Further Development LLC, a start-up that is now gathering capital for a demonstration project to intercede and help overextended homeowners avoid foreclosure.

 

 

Apr 15
2009

Employee Free Choice Act

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , rights , politics , legislation , jobs , government , finances , employment , economy , Congress , business , activism

Bruce Robinson

Some proposed reforms to national labor law are finding broad support in Sonoma County

 

 

Ben Boyce,  Director of the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County, points to a case in Sonoma Valley that he says illustrates the need for the protections embodied in the Employee Free Choice Act.

Because there has been scant enforcement of violations of the national Labor Relations Act, Boyce says businesses have developed a "culture of impunity," where occasional fines for such violations are taken in stride.

There will be a public forum about the proposed law in Santa Rosa tomorrow from 10 am to noon at SRJC's Newman Hall, with multiple labor organizations and elected officials participating, including:

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey

State Senator Pat Wiggins

Assemblyman Jared Huffman

Supervisors Shirlee Zane and Effren Carrillo, and

Santa Rosa City Councilman Gary Wysocky.

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly stated his support for the Employee Free Choice Act, a position he reaffirmed just before his innauguration in this meeting with the editorial board of the Washington Post.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_eR-b_n-Nc 300x350] 

Apr 12
2009

War Tax Resistors

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , protest , politics , peace , nonprofit orgs , justice , jail , Ideas , government , finances , budget , activism

Bruce Robinson

War tax resistance--refusing to pay a portion of one's annual IRS bill that funds military endeavors--is alive and well in Sonoma County.

 Larry Harper explains that he has been inspired in his war tax resistance by the example of the late Rabbi Michael Robinson (below), one of the founders of Sonoma County Taxes For Peace.


Eszter Freeman has in the past staged more dramatic protests than just withholding her tax payment. She recalls one from 1990 (pictured here, with Freeman at the center in black), in which she made and decorated a coffin as the legal tender she used for that's year's payment.

There are generally two options for people who choose to make an ethical statement with the tax money they withhold. One is putting those funds into an escrow account, where the money will fund positive social  purposes, but still can be drawn upon when and if the IRS eventually demands payment. The other is to redirect their taxes into a local fund to support constructive efforts in the community. Harper explains how that is done by Sonoma County Taxes for Peace.


 Sonoma County Taxes for Peace meets monthly. Call 823-9203 for details. Other sources for additional information about War Tax Resistance include:

Northern California War Tax Resistance

 The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund

Conscience and Military Tax Campaign Escrow Account

 

 

 

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