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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
If the campaign signs springing up around town are the most visible sign of the current election season, and the robo-calls and mailers its constant drumbeat, then the routine roll call of endorsements is the background noise.
While rarely revelatory, they are a signal to voters and thus a required part of any bid for public office, political experts say.
‘It is incumbent that you have them,’ said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist. ‘Do they sway voters? No. But they point voters in a direction.’
In announcing their latest endorsements last week, Susan Gorin and John Sawyer did some more pointing to voters.