Pete Parkinson has a quick way to sum up the tough work his now former office, Sonoma County’s Permit and Resource Management Department, faces in overseeing land-use planning and regulation in the Bay Area’s largest county.
Sonoma County intends to forge ahead with a government program that allows residents to pay for energy-saving home retrofits through property taxes despite the county’s having lost a prolonged court battle recently to protect the program.
An unprecedented tsunami of development along Highway 101 in Sonoma County is putting thousands of people to work and pumping nearly $2 billion into the economy.
Up and down the spine of Sonoma County, more than a dozen big-budget projects are underway, creating or expanding centers for the arts, shopping opportunities, health care facilities, business offices, hotels, restaurants and a casino resort.
Santa Rosa’s City Council is planning to tackle some thorny issues in the next two years, including the annexation of Roseland, requiring labor agreements on public projects and relaxing the city’s medicinal marijuana ordinance.
A major political battle is brewing in Sacramento over California’s landmark environmental law referred to mainly by its acronym, CEQA, with some powerful Democrats urging an overhaul of the regulations.
Susan Gorin and John Sawyer long have been rivals on the Santa Rosa City Council, staking out contrasting positions on land use, fiscal issues and neighborhood involvement.
But the election to decide who takes over the 1st District seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, held for 10 years by Valerie Brown, marks the first time the political opposites have become opponents on the ballot.
The bruising runoff, now more than a year old, is being fought along familiar fronts for the candidates and their dueling political camps.
A split Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected a disputed policy that would have required union rules, benefits and oversight for all workers on large county construction projects. Nearly five hours into a hearing before a standing-room-only crowd, the board was opposed, 3-2, to the blanket policy and let it die. It would have backed a pre-hire collective bargaining deal, called a project labor agreement, on all county construction projects of at least $25 million.
A parade of speakers on Saturday called for district elections in Santa Rosa, saying the concept is more democratic and would bridge the city’s economic and ethnic divide. About 130 people attended the three-hour meeting to consider possible changes to the city charter, including a switch from citywide voting for all seven council members to separate voting in seven districts.
Real estate sputtered and the wine crop disappointed, but the tech sector rallied and tourism bounced back in Sonoma County in 2011. Many families and businesses continued to struggle last year, but economists and business leaders suggest the worst may be over for the county’s economy.