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Lawsuit aims to legalize sleeping in cars

A Santa Rosa woman’s visit to poverty-wracked India has led to a lawsuit that has frozen Sonoma County’s ordinance preventing people from sleeping in their cars.

Ravitch kicks off re-election bid

Three years after voters chose her to be Sonoma County district attorney, Jill Ravitch launched her re-election campaign Thursday night, hosting a fundraiser attended by as many as 250 supporters that included elected officials and community leaders.

Supervisors make quick work of adopting $1.37 billion budget

Sonoma County supervisors made quick work of their budget discussions Monday, agreeing in just four hours on a $1.37 billion spending plan that increases staffing for public safety, health and human service divisions and maintains funding for road repairs while seeking to hold down expenses in most other programs.

Surge of prison inmates reshaping, straining county jails

The sheriffs of Sonoma and Mendocino counties joined law enforcement from across the state in Sacramento this week to bend Gov. Jerry Brown’s ear about the impact of the diversion of state prisoners to county supervision.

Sonoma County sheriff offers middle ground on guns

Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas told gun rights supporters Tuesday night that he favors a middle ground with respect to restricting guns, even as he acknowledged that the state’s current assault weapons law has on one occasion left his staff baffled.

As drone use rises, so does concern

With hundreds of unmanned aircraft operational, authorities in Sonoma County and across the country are working on rules of use.

Overflow Santa Rosa crowd divided over adding gun controls

Madeleine Melo of Fort Bragg, widow of the North Coast’s most prominent recent victim of gun violence, spoke out Thursday night in defense of gun ownership at a public forum convened by Rep. Mike Thompson.

Repeal of medical marijuana guidelines rejected by Sonoma County supervisors

Two members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors failed to push through a proposal to repeal the county’s guidelines on medical marijuana cultivation and possession. After listening for nearly two hours to medical marijuana lawyers, patients and advocates lambast the lack of outreach on the repeal effort, the board voted 5-0 to set it aside.

Sonoma County weighs stricter medical pot rules

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors this week could drastically cut the amount of medical marijuana allowed for patients outside city limits.

Sheriff: Influx of state prisoners making Sonoma County jail more violent

The diversion of state prisoners to county supervision has changed the culture in Sonoma County’s jail, making it more violent, while forcing the early release of petty criminals, Sheriff Steve Freitas said Wednesday.
Attacks on correctional deputies have increased 72 percent since the dramatic shift was instituted 12 months ago and fights between inmates are increasing, he said. However, he said he could not immediately provide specific data on the specific numbers of such incidents.
At the same time, the influx of more serious felons serving longer sentences has required the jail to release those convicted of lesser offenses on electronic home confinement, Freitas said.
Over nine months ending in September, the jail released 231 people eligible for detention alternatives who were serving time for such offenses as drunken driving, drug use and theft, Freitas said.

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