WatchSonoma Watch
Who will pay for California’s state parks?

Who pays and who doesn’t for access to the natural and historical wonders protected inside the state’s parks are key considerations amid calls to overhaul the 150-year-old parks system, an effort spawned by a major financial scandal involving the Parks Department in 2012 and perennial budget problems that threatened the closure of dozens of destinations.

Options that have been discussed for generating more revenue include opening up parks to more private enterprise, creating a dedicated funding source or allocating more money out of the state’s general fund, now that California’s financial health has improved.

But it’s the idea of asking people to pay more through fees that has sparked the most attention and controversy.

Bill Pisenti, longtime conservative activist, dies at 96

For years on end, it wasn’t a Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting without a gravelly plea for fiscal restraint by old-school Bennett Valley rancher Bill Pisenti.

Efren Carrillo critics, supporters face off at Monte Rio forum

Critics and supporters of Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo squared off Wednesday night in the first of three public meetings organized by his foes and focused mostly on whether the embattled west county supervisor should remain in office.

Sonoma County, private operator near $547 million deal to run troubled landfill

The latest solution to Sonoma County’s garbage situation is a 20-year contract worth more than half a billion dollars that would outsource operations of the solid waste system.

It would give control of the county’s troubled 42-year-old central landfill west of Cotati to an Arizona company with $8 billion in annual revenue. But it would keep the site, and the county’s five waste transfer stations, in public ownership.

The proposal is being called the largest public-private business deal in county history and is headed to the Board of Supervisors for the first time Tuesday.

Sonoma County zoning board rejects beach parking fee proposal

A Sonoma County zoning board Thursday soundly rejected the state’s application to expand the number of beaches along the Sonoma Coast where visitors would be charged for parking. The unanimous decision of the Board of Zoning Adjustments was expected, and likely sets up another showdown on the contentious issue before county supervisors.

Carrillo’s big win a sign of political clout, observers say

Supervisor Efren Carrillo’s resounding re-election victory is an unmistakable sign of the political clout he has been able to amass in his first term, observers said Wednesday. The 31-year-old son of Mexican immigrants captured 59 percent of the vote in the 5th District Supervisorial race, beating back two well-known opponents who challenged his environmental voting record. His final vote tally was significantly more than the 50 percent majority he needed to avoid a November runoff.

Carrillo rolls to victory over both challengers

UPDATED: Incumbent Efren Carrillo jumped out to a large lead Tuesday night in the 5th District Board of Supervisors race and held on, winning 59 percent of the vote. Former supervisor Ernie Carpenter was in second place. The third candidate in the race was former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi.

West county supervisor race zeroes in on pension costs

The two challengers trying to unseat Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo both say the current Board of Supervisors has been too slow in dealing with the current pension crisis.

Carrillo leading fundraiser in supervisors’ races

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo has raised far more money than his two challengers and all other candidates vying for local elected office, newly disclosed campaign finance records show. Facing the surprise challenge of a former supervisor, Carrillo, 31 and nearing his first full term in office, gunned his campaign into action, raising in just two months $92,322 and spending $95,406. He still has $73,566 in the bank, records covering March 18 through May 19 show. The activity dwarfs that of his that two opponents, former 5th District Supervisor Ernie Carpenter and former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi.

‘Hogwash’ mailer roils 5th district supervisor’s race

Some say this election flier some is a hit piece. The Efren Carrillo campaign mass mailer asserts that former Sonoma County Supervisor Ernie Carpenter is “running fast and loose with the facts” and that his “campaign rhetoric is ‘Hogwash.’” What do you think?

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