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State Sen. Noreen Evans exercising new-found stature in Legislature

State Sen. Noreen Evans is back in a high-profile leadership role and taking on some of California’s most powerful interests with her legislative agenda, only a month after the Santa Rosa Democrat appeared to be losing political steam in Sacramento.

Changes coming to North Coast’s legislative landscape

Sweeping changes across the North Coast’s political landscape will present major challenges this election year both for voters and for candidates in state races, with one possible outcome being an almost entirely new and untested slate of leaders handling local problems in Sacramento.

Sonoma County politicians wary of push to overhaul pensions

Several Sonoma County politicians who rely on labor union support are coming out early against a proposed statewide ballot measure that could dramatically overhaul public employee pensions.

300,000 North Coast residents without a state senator

Got a burning need to contact your state senator? For more than 50,000 residents of unincorporated Sonoma County, that number currently is disconnected.

New state, local laws on the books in 2013

No more smoking at the bus stop in Petaluma. No more hunting bears with dogs. And banks can no longer work with a home owner on a mortgage modification while simultaneously moving toward foreclosing.

Levine, Allen await final vote count Friday

Even as his opponent prepares to be sworn into office Monday, Michael Allen reiterated that he won’t concede the race for the 10th Assembly District seat until every last vote is counted. That could happen by Friday, when an estimated 15,000 provisional and absentee ballots in Sonoma County finally are tallied and the results of the Nov. 7 election are certified, according to county elections chief Janice Atkinson.
Odds are the outstanding ballots won’t alter the outcome of the race. At last count, San Rafael City Councilman Marc Levine held a slim but statistically significant lead over Allen of 3,468 votes.

Petaluma sues state to keep redevelopment funds

Petaluma filed suit against the state Department of Finance this week in an effort to retain millions of dollars in redevelopment funds the city had earmarked for two major road projects, including the East Washington Street-Highway 101 interchange that has been under construction for months.

GOLIS: A tough week for some incumbents

If you want to know why political insiders fought new election reforms in California, you could ask Assemblyman Michael Allen. Or congressmen Pete Stark and Howard Berman. Under the election rules that existed before this year, all three incumbents would be gathering with friends this weekend to celebrate victories in Tuesday’s elections. Instead, Allen, the former Santa Rosan, appears to be on his way to losing his North Bay Assembly seat, and Stark and Berman have already lost their congressional seats.

GUEST OPINION: Use vote to halt widening of wealth gap

With the fall elections upon us, Californians are reeling under a weak recovery, enduring both historic levels of income inequality and the most severe fiscal crisis in recent history. To address the crisis we must have some common sense remedies: raise taxes on the wealthy and build a movement for a fair and more equitable tax system.

How state Assembly members change, add their votes on certain bills

Three North Coast lawmakers were included in an Associated Press analysis that revealed that state Assembly members made 5,000 vote changes or additions during this year’s legislative session. The practice, while legal, is decried by critics as a way for lawmakers to play politics with their votes or hide their true positions on the issues.

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