A little known state agency that has poured $68 million into Sonoma County conservation projects is running low on cash and planning to scale back its mission of protecting and enhancing vast forests and coastal lands.
Clearing the way for a landmark Sonoma County conservation deal, the state Coastal Conservancy board Thursday approved a $10 million contribution toward the purchase of Preservation Ranch, a 19,652-acre property that sprawls across the county’s northwest corner.
Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo has confirmed he is ‘seriously investigating’ a run for the state Assembly seat for the North Coast to be vacated next year by Wes Chesbro.
Carrillo would join two other local candidates, Jim Wood, the Healdsburg city councilman, and John Lowry, the former executive director of Burbank Housing in Santa Rosa, both of whom have said they are running for the Assembly seat. All three are Democrats.
Bird watchers are blasting the Highway 101-Petaluma River Bridge construction project, saying contractors hung a net that is supposed to protect birds but is instead killing them.
Attendance at Jack London and Sugarloaf has been higher in the past year than when the parks were being managed by the state, according to officials with the nonprofit groups that now run the sites. Both facilities also are on track to meet operating budgets this fiscal year.
Four of the busiest lobbying firms in Sacramento have North Bay connections. Atop the heap is a firm co-founded by former North Bay lawmaker Bev Hansen.
Local government agencies are major players in the high-stakes business of influencing state government, largely through a cadre of paid lobbyists who mingle in Capitol hallways with advocates for private enterprise.
Downtown, on the north bank of Santa Rosa Creek, a large mural of a fish graces a concrete retaining wall along the Prince Memorial Greenway.
The colorful artwork is meant to celebrate one of the key goals of the $25 million public works project — the restoration of the creek’s aquatic habitat.
But the health of the creek remains threatened by what lies hidden behind that retaining wall — soil and groundwater contaminated with a toxic brew of oil and other poisonous byproducts left behind at a former manufactured-gas plant.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. closed the plant in 1924 and now is spending tens of millions of dollars to clean the site at First and B streets, now mostly covered by the parking lot of the Westamerica Bank building.
But 26 years after regulators ordered the property cleaned up, it still hasn’t been and won’t be for years.
The California Public Utilities Commission called Sebastopol’s moratorium on the installation of SmartMeters ‘unlawful and unenforceable’ in a letter sent to city officials Friday.
In a replay of earlier battles, state Sen. Noreen Evans is going after Big Oil in California in an attempt to raise money for higher education and state parks.