Got a burning need to contact your state senator? For more than 50,000 residents of unincorporated Sonoma County, that number currently is disconnected.
The North Coast’s legislative delegation is in the unusual position of opposing Gov. Jerry Brown over his proposed budget cuts to California’s social safety net and to higher education. It’s not just that Brown and North Coast lawmakers are all Democrats. Brown’s proposed cuts also go to the heart of what Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, called the party’s ‘core values.’ In budget hearings held Tuesday, Democrats outlined their opposition to the governor’s proposed cuts to welfare-to-work, In-Home Supportive Services, child care and Cal Grant scholarships.
Emotions in Sonoma County ranged from elation and praise to resigned acceptance after President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage. Advocates were exhilarated that Obama declared his support after remaining elusive on the topic for years. And opponents, while disagreeing with Obama’s position, said they were not surprised.
Political pressure is building on North Coast lawmakers to reject a gaming compact that would give the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria the right to open a Las Vegas-style casino in Rohnert Park. The project also has become a hot-button campaign issue, particularly in the race for the newly-created 10th Assembly seat in Marin and Sonoma counties being sought by Assemblyman Michael Allen.
Nicholas Anton, a retired physician from Santa Rosa, says a single-payer health care system would lower costs, improve quality and provide health care for everyone. He says it is possible to achieve this while creating a system that allows patients access to any physician or hospital of their choice. Do you think a single-payer system is the answer?
State Sen. Mark Leno today denounced the federal government’s raids on pot dispensaries as an “ambush” that will harm patients. He called on the federal government to stop the raids, which he said will “have detrimental impacts on our state’s economy by forcing more Californians into unemployment.”
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation to ease the path for local governments — including the Sonoma County Water Agency — seeking to establish their own power agencies. The bill by state Sen. Mark Leno strengthens existing law requiring privately owned utilities to cooperate with public power efforts.
For the first time, the Legislature on Friday released expense records for each individual senator and Assembly member. The data didn’t contain great revelations on the spending patterns of North Coast legislators. But the release was deemed a historic step forward for those seeking more transparency in government.
Regardless of Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto, state Sen. Noreen Evans and Assemblyman Michael Allen said Thursday that lawmakers have met their obligation to pass a budget and deserve to be paid. The final decision will fall to state Controller John Chiang, who will analyze the budget to see if lawmakers fulfilled their voter-mandated responsibilities. What do you think?