LOCAL NEWS
Jan 25, 2022

New analysis finds increased well-being for Sonoma County Latinx residents; new lows for Black and Asian communities

by Marc Albert
Results will be made public Wednesday of an official ongoing study of local health, well-being and quality of life in Sonoma County. The Portrait of Sonoma County 2021 assembles and analyzes local quality of life and opportunity, through the United Nation's 'Human Development Index.' For a peek into the findings, which will be used in efforts to ease inequality, KRCB spoke with Alegria De La Cruz, director of the Sonoma County Office of Equity. Reporter Marc Albert began by asking if inequalities identified in an earlier 2014 report have generally improved or worsened: That was Alegria De La Cruz, head of Sonoma County's Office of Equity. An online launch of the report will start Wednesday evening at 6 pm. Find a link for registering at the Sonoma County Office of Equity's website or click here.
Jan 24, 2022

Sonoma County moves to new election model

by Greta Mart
Going to your designated polling place every election is now officially a thing of the past. A state law called the Voters Choice Act has permanently changed elections in California. While the coronavirus pandemic prompted more vote by mail. All future elections will involve mail ballots or what are called vote centers. "We'll have fewer locations, but they'll be open for longer periods of time," said Deva Maria Proto, Sonoma County's top election official. "Voters in Sonoma County can go to any of the vote centers and get their ballot printed out. In the past with polling places, you had to go to your assigned polling place to get your ballot, and so now it's going to be the place that's most convenient to you." Proto, the county's Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters said the first election under the new vote center model will be the Windsor town council election in April. Going forward, each Sonoma county voter will get a ballot in the mail, but if they want, they can go to a vote center and get a ballot on the spot. The mail ballot is then canceled. "When we print you out one at the voting center, your mail ballot will be automatically for. So you can only have one live ballot issued to you at any one time," Proto said. Starting about a week and a half before each election seven vote centers will open up across Sonoma County. The weekend before the election, 31 more vote centers will open. Proto said the new way will be more flexible during fires in evacuations,…
Jan 20, 2022

Rainy season could still deliver

by Marc Albert
After rocketing to a prodigious start, the rainy season seems to have fizzled out. Forecasters say there is still time for things to turn around. For all the doom and gloom prompted by clear skies, Matt Mehle a National Weather Service Forecaster, says a lull in the rains isn't unusual. "It's not uncommon for us to see a mid-winter dry spell, that actually is very common for the Bay Area. January tends to have that dry spell." Persistent high pressure and a weather phenomenon more common in the summer have acted as goalies over the last several weeks, shunting incoming storms far to our north, Mehle said. "We did have a 'Rex block,' basically acting like an atmospheric traffic jam for the last like, two weeks, and that shoved the storm track over the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia." That's not expected to change soon, Mehle said, but there are signs that February could be wetter. "Unfortunately, the near-term outlook does not look that great from a rain perspective. The long range models keep most of the Bay Area dry looking toward the end of the month. Some of the longer range models do show a slight shift in the pattern to start off February, which may bring some hope to see a return of rain to the Bay Area." There is one wild card out there. And it's a big one. Computer models, while great at predictions generally, aren't able to adequately predict atmospheric river systems more than a week before landfall. Fickle by nature, such storms can be game changers. "All…
Jan 20, 2022

Sonoma Dems endorse Burke in Sheriff's race

by Marc Albert
Sonoma County Democrats have made an endorsement in the upcoming county sheriff election. The organization has endorsed former Healdsburg police chief Kevin Burke in the now four way race set for June. Attorney John Kelly is with the Sonoma County Democrats. He said Burke greatly impressed the group's endorsement committee. "Kevin Burke, from the beginning of his interview had the entire room listening with rapt attention to every thing he said. As the chair of our party said, 'Kevin had her at hello.' He identified repeatedly, places in the Democratic Party platform that were concurrent with his values, he gave concrete examples of how he implemented those. He walked through the history of the sheriff office's role, some of the issues that it's faced, and he displayed a comprehensive knowledge and a sensitivity to the facts of each circumstance, that is, that close connection between what was happening on the ground, the ability to empower officers to protect both the community and themselves and in the long run to allow the community to trust that when they deal with a sworn officer, that they are able to count on them embodying the values that we hope that our sheriff's office and indeed often it does embody." Kelly said the Sonoma County Democrats considered only Burke and candidate Carl Tenenbaum, a retired San Francisco police sergeant, as they are the only two registered Democrats in the race. Burke and Tenenbaum will face Assistant Sheriff Eddie Engram and retired…
Jan 19, 2022

Mediation pressure mounting for Cotati Rohnert Park school district and educators' union

by Greta Mart
Because educators and district officials in Rohnert Park, Cotati and Penngrove can’t come to an agreement over salaries, they are heading into a mediation session this week. Called a fact-finding hearing, both sides will present their final offers along with supporting data and arguments. But members of the Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association, or RPCEA, say they aren’t even sure the district’s superintendent or school board members will even attend. On Tuesday, RPCEA members–teachers, nurses, librarians, counselors and speech and language therapists–picketed in Rohnert Park and showed up in force at a school board meeting, asking that the district agree to a new contract, one that increases long-stagnant pay. “What we want is a wage increase that brings us up just to the average, so that our educators can live in the communities that they teach in,” said Denise Tranfaglia. Tranfaglia teaches at El Camino High School and serves as RPCEA’s president. For over seven months, about 320 educators in that district have been working with an expired contract, she said. “We are basically just asking for a consumer price index raise, and that is really the goal… we want to provide the best education for our students, and the only way that we're going to do that is if we get to retain and attract the best educators,” Tranfaglia said. “And we're not going to do that when we are behind in salary.” KRCB is scheduled to speak with district superintendent Mayra Perez on Thursday…
Jan 19, 2022

Omicron pushing local hospitals to the brink

by Marc Albert
Beds are scarce at local hospitals and ambulance response times are rising as Sonoma County strains under a cresting Omicron tide. Those were among the main takeaways from an online county town hall meeting Tuesday. Gary Green is an infectious disease physician with Sutter in Santa Rosa, who spoke on the tele-conference. "The vast majority of patients, 99 percent of the patients admitted to our hospital are unvaccinated. It's a dangerous time to not be vaccinated." County Health Officer Sundari Mase says the sharp uptick is having more seek medical care, as infections among hospital staff mean longer waits for care. "Our new case rates are reaching levels not experienced in the two years of this pandemic. A month ago we were averaging about 90 new cases a day. Now we are averaging more than 1,250 new cases a day. Our six hospitals in Sonoma County are being stressed due to staffing shortages and bed capacity issues. Many hospital staffers are out because they've tested positive for COVID or because they have to stay home to care for children who have tested positive." Mase urges the public to follow, as much as possible, the voluntary stay at home recommendation issued earlier this month. She says contact tracing has linked quite a few cases to several large gatherings. "We've documented about three dozen cases that have come directly from an enclosed sporting event and we believe the actual number is much higher than that." Indoor gatherings are currently limited to 50 or…
Jan 18, 2022

Navient Agrees To $11.5 Million In Restitution For CA Borrowers

by Steve Milne/Capital Public Radio
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced a settlement with Navient, one of the nation's largest student loan companies. Bonta says Navient steered borrowers into costly repayment plans and predatory loans. "As a former student loan borrower myself, I know what it feels like to write painful triple digit or even quadruple digit checks every month," Bonta said. "But that tough feeling pales in comparison to what Navient's exploited borrowers felt when they were trapped by poor servicing conduct and into expensive loans that they couldn't afford." Bonta says the settlement includes $11.5 million dollars in direct restitution for 43,000 California residents and about $261 million dollars in private debt cancellation. The announcement was part of a nationwide settlement totaling nearly $2 billion dollars. Consumers who are eligible for a restitution payment will get a postcard in the mail this spring from the Attorney General’s settlement administrator.
Jan 15, 2022

Tsunami advisory issued for Sonoma Coast

by Mark Prell
A tsunami advisory went into effect this morning for the entire California coast, including the San Francisco Bay and Sonoma Coast. An undersea volcano in the Tongan islands erupted shortly before 8:30 PM PST last night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Advisory was issued at 7:28 AM this morning by the National Tsunami Warning Center. Wave surges of one to three feet are expected to impact the San Francisco Bay starting around 8:10 AM. The National Weather Service says tsunami waves will arrive in pulses throughout the day. Avoid venturing onto the immediate coastline today as waves can unexpectedly rise far up onto the beach. Dangerous currents, riptides and sneaker waves are also highly likely.
Jan 14, 2022

Students bail from class as H.S. name fray goes on

by Marc Albert
What's in a name? That which we call a school by another name...can turn sour. Hundreds of students poured from the doors of a Sebastopol high school Friday, ending school after third period. It wasn't about COVID or any national issue--but the school's on-again, off-again, on-again name change. Chanting, students marched to key intersections. At Gravenstein and Bodega highways, senior Hannah Berkheimer revved the crowd with a bullhorn. "You are walking out of class today because you are angry! You are walking out of class today because you don't want your history at West County to be erased, because there are no more Analy High and El Molino students, only West County students. This is your community, your home! This is West County!" she said to loud cheers. Passing vehicles periodically honked in solidarity.
Jan 14, 2022

A virtual MLK celebration in Sonoma County planned for Sunday

by Mark Prell
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Committee is holding its forty-first celebration honoring the legacy of Dr. King with a virtual community-wide event. This year acknowledges the King family’s admonition to remember the deepest meaning of his lifelong work – to not just celebrate his birthday and “dream” of a more just future, but to build and sustain his vision of equity and to secure everyone’s right to vote. The event takes place this Sunday, January 16th, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Zoom & Facebook.
Jan 13, 2022

"It kills solar." Opposition grows for plan to change the economics of rooftop solar in California

by Greta Mart
This morning at 11 am, people will be rallying in Los Angeles to save their jobs, their livelihoods and their very industry, they say. Others will join a socially distanced crowd in front of the San Francisco headquarters of state utility regulators to oppose moves that many say are a bald-face money grab by PG&E. One that will sabotage the state’s green future. Imagine I plant and tend a kitchen vegetable garden. It regularly feeds my family and if I have a bountiful harvest, I can give away or even sell all those extra zucchini or tomatoes. But does my growing my own vegetables increase the cost that you pay for zucchini and tomatoes at the grocery store? Most would say, no way, there’s no connection. That vegetable garden analogy is one of the arguments against a new plan that may well become reality on January 27. It’s a ruling by utility state regulators, the California Public Utilities Commission or the CPUC, that would significantly change the cost and benefits of putting solar panels on the roofs of your home or business. The CPUC says it’s working to “evolve decarbonization incentive efforts to meet the state’s groundbreaking clean energy goals.” It says its changes to the way roof-top solar works will “balance the needs of the electric grid, the environment, and consumers.” “With this change, it kills solar," said Phil Alwitt. “It contradicts California's goals of…California now requires solar and all new homes and commercial buildings and things of that nature,…
Jan 10, 2022

Sonoma County appeals to stay-at-home once again; bans large gatherings until mid-February

by Greta Mart
Just after 5 pm Monday, Sonoma County's public health officials sent out an urgent appeal for residents to voluntarily stay home, and they banned any large gatherings until mid-February. The appeal is for all Sonoma County residents to stay home as much as possible for the next 30 days. While the new notice is not a stay-at-home order like in the early days of the pandemic, health officials are recommending that people limit travel outside the home to just going to work or to school and making only necessary trips such as going to the grocery store or the doctor. The county said due to the rapid rise of COVID cases surging through the community, Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase Monday issued a health order canceling large gatherings to limit the further spread of the novel coronavirus in the county. From Wednesday until February 11, large gatherings of more than 50 people indoors, or more than 100 people outdoors ….where social distancing is not feasible....are banned for the duration of the order. "We believe these steps are necessary to reduce the likelihood that many individuals will be exposed to COVID 19 at a single event," Mase said in a recorded announcement Monday evening. "And we'll thereby slow spread of the Omicron variant in our community. One look at our case rate will show you why limiting travel and gatherings is so critical at this juncture: over the course of the past two weeks, Sonoma County's case rate has grown from 24 per hundred thousand…
Jan 10, 2022

Blount trial opens with sparring opening statements

by Marc Albert
Despite a current hold on most court business for public health reasons, the criminal trial of a former Sonoma County sheriff's deputy proceeded Monday because it was already underway. Jurors and alternates sat motionless, but seemingly riveted, as the last minutes of David Ward's life, captured on jerky body camera footage, played out on a monitor for the jury. Shouted commands, expletives, and staccato lights from cruisers puncture the early morning of Nov. 27 2019 in the rural enclave of Bloomfield, where Ward's life ended, just blocks from his home. In his opening statement, defense attorney Harry Stern said former deputy Charles Blount "seized the initiative," during the incident and that seizing initiative is "good police work." Ward had reportedly led authorities from several jurisdictions on a high speed chase along rural back roads, and police thought he was a carjacking suspect. Back up several days earlier...Ward had apparently been pistol whipped in a confrontation with another, and the assailant stole his Honda, so Ward had reported it stolen. Police were apparently monitoring the vehicle on the morning of Ward's death---it was somewhere in Santa Rosa---when it began moving. A traffic stop was attempted, but the vehicle, which Ward had by then found and retrieved... wouldn't stop, police say. After two 'pit maneuvers,' officers crashing into the vehicle to disable it, Blount, another deputy and two Sebastopol police officers had their guns drawn, demanding Ward…
Jan 10, 2022

PG&E expected to be the first utility to tap state's $21B wildfire liability fund

by Scott Rodd/Capital Public Radio
PG&E will likely be the first utility to access California’s wildfire liability fund, after the company’s equipment started the massive Dixie Fire. In 2019, California had a utility crisis. The state’s biggest electricity providers were causing increasingly deadly and costly wildfires. PG&E had already declared bankruptcy as a result. It was one of Governor Gavin Newsom’s first big tests in office. “This is a serious moment," Newsom said at the time. "And as I’ve said, I’ll remind you, it’s not just about turning on your lights, it’s not just about paying your electric bills. It’s literally about the economy of this state.” The governor and lawmakers had only a few months to figure it out. So they put together a $21 billion fund that would help cover the cost of wildfires caused by utilities. The companies pay for half of it; customer rate increases make up the rest. Michael Wara is a senior research scholar at Stanford University. He expects PG&E will be the first to tap into the pot of money. “It's a good dry run, frankly, for the fund," Wara said. "Because there's a whole bunch of processes that need to be established and tested so that the fund is really ready.” Utilities have to cover up to a billion dollars in damages before accessing the fund. PG&E expects claims from the Dixie Fire, the second largest blaze in state history, to only slightly exceed that $1 billion threshold.
Jan 07, 2022

Vigils for democracy on anniversary of Jan. 6 attack

by Marc Albert
Vigils commemorating last year's attack on the US Capitol Building were held Thursday in Sonoma and Santa Rosa, two of hundreds of events across the nation. KRCB's Marc Albert spoke to several of the roughly 75 people gathered in Courthouse Square... here's a sampling of their comments....
Jan 05, 2022

Sonoma County receptive to cannabis growers demands for tax relief

by Marc Albert
After testimony from about two dozen cannabis growers, Sonoma County officials appeared close to offering some tax relief, ahead of an overhaul of cannabis regulations likely more than a year away. That relief, likely in the form of postponing taxes due for 90 days, is expected to return for consideration on January 25. On Jan. 5, the county board of supervisors heard tales of financial hardship. Growers lament that cratering wholesale prices, and high taxes and fees, are crushing them. Andrew Douglas Gardner was among them. "The cost of processing, the cost of the square footage tax put my cost of cannabis to be a little over $320 just to get the cannabis processed and to pay the cultivation square footage tax," Gardner said. "At that point, unless I am selling the cannabis for $325, it made more sense for me to destroy and waste all of the cannabis at the end of the season, rather than try to sell it." Grower Vince Scholten, who leads a small association, said inaction will have consequences. "If you folks are going to continue to treat us as criminals, then the industry will go back into the black market, and those folks are never, ever coming back into the legal market," Scholten said. The crux of the matter, according to growers and county officials: tax rates were set when a pound of legal cannabis was going for twelve hundred dollars. Now, it's wholesaling for three hundred. Grower Eric Pearson said declining prices and static taxes have changed the economics of legal…
Jan 04, 2022

New state police report shows racial disparities in policing

by Sarah Mizes-Tan/Capital Public Radio
A new report analyzing millions of traffic stops across California found that Black people were disproportionately stopped and searched by police. The annual report on police stops highlighted five major California cities. Out of nearly 3 million reported vehicle and pedestrian stops, Black people were twice as likely to be searched than white people. Police were also nearly three times as likely to use force on Black people rather than white people. Steven Raphael is co-chair of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board, which released the study. "The disparities are more narrow when you look at more precise measures that are suggestive of policy that has bias," Raphael said. "This is just something that’s characteristic of policing in the United States and it’s something we’re hoping our data analysis in its entire effort will help close these disparities eventually." The board is recommending policy changes to police training, response to mental health crises and officer complaint transparency.
Jan 02, 2022

SoCo says staffing shortages, pandemic hindering more winter homeless services

by Greta Mart
Nighttime temperatures are warming up after dipping as low as 30 in Sonoma County on Saturday night. Last week, we heard from the group Homeless Action Sonoma County, and their concerns about how the county government, in their view, wasn't doing enough to help homeless individuals, particularly during nights of freezing temperatures across the county. KRCB News then spoke with county officials to ask them about those concerns. We started by asking...in the past, the county has demonstrated it can quickly mobilize emergency shelter for hundreds during times of disaster. Why can't it do the same to shelter the county's more than 2000 homeless individuals during times of frost? “We have done this in the past,” said Sonoma County spokesperson Paul Gullixson. “And as you can understand, during the current pandemic, particularly with the onset of our recent surge and the Omicron variant, there's not a huge appetite right now to open additional congregate shelters or expand existing space.” Dave Kiff is the interim director of the Community Development Commission. That's the county department in charge of housing with a division called Ending Homelessness, comprised of nine county employees. “This is a fairly unique time,” Kiff said. “Certainly the pandemic, like last year, obviously got very challenging in the wintertime. It's challenging to even staff what we have currently going. We were on a call this morning with a lot of our providers who were really genuinely concerned that…
Dec 30, 2021

County failing homeless in hour of deepest need, advocates say

by Marc Albert and Greta Mart
With overnight temperatures dipping near freezing amidst soggy weather stretching more than a week, advocates for the homeless are demanding immediate help. Kathleen Finigan is a volunteer spokeswoman for the group Homeless Action of Sonoma County. "This is a moral crisis as well as a health crisis. Every year, I and other members of Homeless Action have gone to our mayors, in August, saying, 'OK, here we are again, looking at winter. What are you going to do to help people,?' And nothing changes. Nothing happens." Finigan said. According to Finigan, two unhoused Guerneville residents died last week, at least one due to exposure. She accuses county officials of taking credit for 53 new shelter beds, when she said 2,000 people are living on the county's streets. She's also angered by a recent county press release warning about health risks from the cold, when there's no provision for the unhoused. "It's kind of a bitter pill, I think, to hear the county saying, 'oh, please don't spend too much time outside because you can get hypothermia,' while the fact of the matter is, there is no place for them to go," Finigan said. She added officials have proven they can leap into action on short notice, offering shelters to disaster victims within hours. "That's never happened for the people who are homeless, despite the fact that we've been declaring homelessness as an emergency in the city of Santa Rosa and the county for years." Finigan said that though officials often speak with…
Dec 30, 2021

Big federal infrastructure law to fill potholes, partially fund larger initiatives

by Marc Albert
Aside from the topline figure, and that it was signed into law, few details have emerged about President Biden's infrastructure bill, approved in early November. Local transportation officials say some of the money, distributed via complex mathematical formulas, is already on the way. Other money, for thousands of small local jobs, will be noticed by anyone going anywhere, according to John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the regional agency that distributes most federal and state transit funding in the Bay Area. "That's a really exciting development," Goodwin said, "even if its not super sexy, in terms of a big new project. This is the bread and butter of transportation, every trip that one takes begins and ends on a local street or local road." Goodwin said rising seas and perpetual congestion have catapulted State highway 37 onto the regional priority list. A number of options, including elevating and widening are being considered. "It is entirely possible that a preferred alternative for the long term solution, if you will, for highway 37, could be identified by the end of 2022. it is realistic to believe that work could begin in earnest in 2024 or 2025," Goodwin added. That, could also eventually include a transit option. Extending SMART from Novato to link with Amtrak's San Jose-Sacramento Capitol Corridor route in Suisun has made it to the state rail plan, though that's likely decades away. Heather McKillop is Smart-Rail's chief…
Dec 30, 2021

Reservoirs rising thanks to recent rains, levels still cause for concern

by Marc Albert
With recent rains, water levels at local reservoirs are on their way back from near oblivion. In two months, the amount of water in Lake Mendocino has tripled. While the lake is one of the region's major sources of drinking water, don't get too impressed, it was close to empty toward the end of October. The amount of water behind the Warm Springs Dam at Lake Sonoma is also on the rise. That reservoir has risen by a third since the rainy season got off to an early start with an unprecedented October deluge. The two dams now hold close to fifty seven thousand, six hundred (57,586) more acre-feet of water than they did two months ago. That's enough to meet most of the county's household needs for the year, but doesn't account for agriculture. The National Weather Service last week downgraded drought conditions across Northern California and updated long range forecasts, which now predict an average winter rainfall-wise in Northern California.
Dec 29, 2021

Sonoma County rescinds mask exemption

by Eli Walsh/Bay City News
Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco and Alameda county officials announced Wednesday they will no longer allow indoor mask mandate exceptions for small settings like college and fitness classes in which everyone is fully vaccinated. The four counties -- along with the city of Berkeley, which operates its own public health department -- said that their local indoor mask requirements will no longer have exceptions as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday. "Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask in all indoor public settings," said Ted Appel, a Sonoma County spokesperson. Health officials in the five jurisdictions cited rising local case counts and the emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant as reasons to align with the state's blanket indoor mask mandate, which runs through at least Jan. 15. "We've seen a growth in breakthrough cases among vaccinated people, nearly 80 cases a day are now being detected in Sonoma County among people who are fully vaccinated, that's an all time high," Appel told KRCB Wednesday afternoon. "And we're aware of at least two COVID outbreak following holiday parties where stable cohorts of fully vaccinated people gathered indoors without wearing their mask and resulted in nearly 40 known positive cases so far." "The omicron variant requires us to use all the tools at hand to reduce the chance of transmission," Berkeley Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez said. "Masks are more important than ever to minimize the spread of COVID to our most…
Dec 28, 2021

As new year approaches, California reaches 5 million COVID-19 cases

by Kris Hooks/Capital Public Radio
2021 has been a year of milestones for California, and the state just crossed another: 5 million COVID-19 cases. On June 15, Governor Gavin Newsom stood atop a stage at Universal Studios in Hollywood; the day marked California’s economic reopening after more than a year of pandemic restrictions. “We’re not just coming back, we’re gonna come back more focused on inclusion, more focused on equity, and we’re gonna come back roaring back," Newsom said at the time. But the number of COVID-19 cases has only increased, despite expanded access to vaccines and booster shots. On June 15th, the state’s 7-day case average was 880. As of this week, it’s well over 15,000. The number of cases statewide is far below last winter’s surge. But daily cases have swelled, fueled by holiday travel and the heavily mutated omicron variant. Health officials are urging people to ​get vaccinated, tested and wear masks through the new year.
Dec 28, 2021

Christmas tree disposal options

by KRCB staff
With Christmas behind us and the holiday season drawing to a close, you may wonder how to properly dispose of your fresh-cut tree. If you have weekly residential garbage service, you can place your tree curbside the night before your regularly scheduled pick-up day. Those in Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma or Santa Rosa, that’s the week of December 27. In Cotati, Rohnert Park and unincorporated Sonoma County, that’s on the week of January 3. Trees over six feet should be cut in half. If your tree will fit, you can also cut it up and put it in your compost or yard waste bin for collection. There are also a variety of tree drop-off locations around the county and in many cities (see photo). For unincorporated Sonoma County holiday tree collection information, click here.
Dec 27, 2021

Legal challenges to new animal confinement law

by Randol White/Capital Public Radio
Animal welfare and the supply of bacon are about to collide in California as we start the new year. The nation’s toughest animal confinement law requires livestock to have enough space to lie down and turn around. It also bans the sale of products that don’t meet the guidelines, no matter where the animals were raised. Voter-approved Prop 12 covers a variety of farm animals, but pork is the big issue here because California is not a large producer, so national suppliers worry it’ll hurt business and are suing on interstate commerce grounds. The law has survived legal challenges, including at the top. The Supreme Court already declined to hear one suit, and is waiting to announce whether it’ll hear another, but historically federal courts have sided with California when it comes to animal housing standards. Now, a new suit comes at it from another angle. A consortium of restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers says the state doesn’t yet have regulations in place, despite wording in the initiative requiring it two years ago. Julian Canete is president of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, one of the groups behind that suit. “We’re not opposed to Prop 12, right," Canete said. "So, we just want to make sure that there’s ample time for everybody to be able to contribute to the regulations that you’re asking them to commit to." And another suit from supporters of the law also addresses the implementation. Wayne Pacelle is president of Animal Wellness Action. “We want to…
Dec 24, 2021

Small restoration projects to give salmon/steelhead a better chance

by Marc Albert
A total of 15 different environmental restoration projects around California were announced this week, 11 of which are right here on the North Coast. They sound inconsequential and scattered about the state, but taken together, experts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife say, they are having an impact. In Sonoma County, an abandoned logging road on former timber company property along Buckeye Creek will be made to disappear. Matt Wells chief of the agency's watershed restoration grants branch. "When these roads were first built, the goal was to get to where they were going to cut trees and get the wood out. Unfortunately, the way these roads were constructed, has contributed heavily to sediment issues in creeks below these roads." Salmon need clear, cold water. Eroding dirt tracks cut through the forest, put that vital ingredient at risk. Another project on the books would fund all preparations for the future replacement of a culvert preventing salmon in the Navarro River from reaching spawning grounds in Soda Creek. Another will enable salmon to reach deep pools in Dry Dock Gulch off of Big River. Such pools provide critical refuge when streams dry and water temps rise. Individually, the projects won't make a huge difference, but collectively, they are putting a dent in the challenges salmon, steelhead and other threatened fish face. "It isn't a simple one and done, it's usually a series of efforts that build upon themselves to try and reestablish this…
Dec 23, 2021

Chanate buyer's big gamble: developer has little background in big projects

by Marc Albert
Important documents involved in the sale of Santa Rosa's Chanate campus are set to be signed today. On Wednesday, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat ran the results of what they found in researching Eddie Haddad, a Las Vegas-based developer, who is about to close escrow, that may be fraying some nerves around Sonoma County. KRCB's Marc Albert spoke with Press Democrat staff writer Ethan Varian, who covers housing and homelessness... about the story.
Dec 22, 2021

Female folk harmony group Bad Luck Magpies visit Studio A

by Mark Prell
Credit: Michael O'Brien/KRCBSo much fun having the female folk harmony group Bad Luck Magpies visit Studio A to play and chat about their upcoming show at the Lost Church. The three singers from a variety of different bands have created an exciting new group that blends their beautiful voices and lush instruments. Rebecca, Judy, and Mana were accompanied today by Jason of Dirty Cello. We were so grateful to have the Bad Luck Magpies share their music with our listeners live on the radio. They even improvised a cool song about KRCB! Check out the full interview below.
Dec 20, 2021

After years of delays, CalFire says updated and expanded wildfire hazard maps are on their way

by Chris Nichols/Capital Public Radio
For years, state officials have promised and failed to update maps that show the parts of California most at risk for wildfire. In the more than a dozen years since current maps were released, climate change and climate science have dramatically adjusted our understanding of what might burn. Now, state officials say the long-awaited updates will land in the next few months. The stakes for the new fire risk maps are high. Local governments use CalFire’s hazard zones as a guide post in deciding where new homes and businesses should be approved — or rejected. Homeowners who live inside high risk zones have to disclose that risk when they decide to sell. They also are required by a new state law to keep their homes fire-proofed — by building out defensible space. The number of homes in those high-risk areas has grown in the last decade. The state’s wildfires now regularly set records in size and destruction. “Fires are burning in ways that nobody has seen before,” said CalFire Chief Thom Porter at an August news conference. “Yes, I keep saying that. You keep hearing that. But it is absolutely true.” The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection last updated its fire hazard severity zone maps in 2007, well before recent record-breaking megafires swept across California. Past mapping focused on geographic hazards such as forests and canyons where fire spreads, according to Daniel Berlant, CalFire’s assistant deputy director. This time, climate hazards are front and…
Dec 20, 2021

Tahoe ski resort Squaw Valley formally switches its name to Palisades Tahoe

by Associated Press
Women of Nevada's Washoe Tribe have long fought against the word ``squaw,'' a racist slur that for more than half a century was part of the name of a famous Sierra ski resort. The resort north of Tahoe City, California, was called Squaw Valley long before it became famous for hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics. It formally switched its name to Palisades Tahoe in September. Leaders of the Washoe Tribe say Tahoe is a sacred place and they hope it raises awareness about past injustices of other Native Americans. This eight-minute documentary, "Walking With My Sisters," shows the women discussing the milestone and what the land means to them. Walking With My Sisters from Emily Tessmer on Vimeo. Walking With My Sisters from Emily Tessmer on Vimeo.
Dec 16, 2021

More shelter beds open up for forecasted nights of freezing temperatures

by Associated Press
For the second time in less than a week, Sonoma County health officials issued a freeze warning in response to the National Weather Service's prediction for freezing overnight low temperatures expected now through Sunday morning. Saturday morning is expected to be the coldest morning. The county's network of care partners with local service providers are offering winter shelter bed space or other sleeping alternatives where shelters are not available. This is in addition to year-round shelters and assists in protecting community members from the harshest weather during the winter months. County health officials say there will be 53 winter beds available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with many offering wraparound services as well. Reach For Home at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Healdsburg will open nine additional beds when the temperature falls below 38 degrees or two or more days of rain occurs. The shelter is open to adults and families. Check-in begins at 7 p.m., with limited dinners available at 5:30 p.m. Redwood Gospel Mission on 6th Street in Santa Rosa will have 40 beds available and begin intake daily at 1 p.m. Social Advocates for Youths on Summerfield Road in Santa Rosa will operate four beds for youths between the age of 18 and 24. Guests can begin checking in at 7 p.m.
Dec 15, 2021

Data suggests omicron is extremely virulent, but appears less severe, less deadly

by Marc Albert
The first major study on the omicron variant was published by South African epidemiologists. While much remains unknown, the new form, while apparently able to spread with abandon, defeating many precautions, the new research appears to show that what's quickly becoming the dominant strain in southern Africa and Europe, seems to be less deadly than the delta strain. To learn more about this research KRCB's Marc Albert spoke with Dr. Monica Gandhi Monday. She is an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at UC San Francisco...
Dec 14, 2021

Mask mandate returns across the state

by Associated Press
California is bringing back a statewide indoor mask mandate. Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration announced the new mandate will start Wednesday and last until Jan. 15. The order comes as the per capita rate of new coronavirus cases in California has jumped 47% in the past two weeks, according to state health officials. California also is tightening existing testing requirements by requiring unvaccinated people attending indoor events of 1,000 people or more to have a negative test within one or two days, depending on the type of test. The state also is recommending travelers who visit or return to California to get tested within five days of their arrival. State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state will reimplement an indoor mask requirement, regardless of vaccination status, Ghaly said the recent rise of the omicron variant of the virus and the increase in cases statewide since Thanksgiving has led to concern over a possible surge in cases similar to last winter's surge. "We know that we are entering into a pretty hard time and we are starting to see some of these numbers go up in some communities pretty quickly," Ghaly said. Most of the state's most populous areas, including the Bay Area, have had indoor mask requirements for several weeks since the delta variant first led to a spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in August. Ghaly said Monday that the new mask mandate will affect roughly half of the state's population who live in…
Dec 13, 2021

John Sebastian joins Brian Griffith for Morning Music

by Mark Prell
Brian had a nice chat with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and founder of the Lovin’ Spoonful, John Sebastian. They spoke of the new release “Exploring the Lovin’ Spoonful Songbook” featuring Arlen Roth and special guests, John’s accidental Woodstock performance and how not to make Bonnie Raitt angry. (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)
Dec 13, 2021

Amanda Shires chats with Brian Griffith on Morning Music

by Mark Prell
Brian had a lovely chat with his friend Amanda Shires during Morning Music on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. They talked about her new holiday album “For Christmas," a recent health scare that sent her to the hospital, and her fight for women’s reproductive rights. Learn more about Amanda Shires. Hear Morning Music with Brian Griffith weekdays from 9:00 am to Noon on KRCB 104.9.
Dec 09, 2021

Enviros urge crab pot phase-out to eliminate whale and turtle entanglements

by Marc Albert
Citing whale entanglements, an environmental group petitioned federal regulators Thursday, seeking wholesale changes in how crab, shrimp and lobster are caught. But fishing industry reps claim the proposal may be financially untenable and make a dangerous job, more risky. Filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service seeks to phase out traditional crab pots, with their lines and floating buoys within five years. Mike Conroy of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations, said the proposal goes too far. "It's using a firehose to put out a matchstick." Whales, sea turtles and other marine life do get trapped in gear...105 whale entanglements were reported nationally in 2018. And while seven of those occurred in California waters, according to the Bodega Bay Fisherman's Marketing Association, that's not bad considering 174,000 crab pots are cast in California waters. The center says these entanglements can be nearly eliminated with newer, high tech gear. According to Conroy though, the new gadgets still have kinks. "They wouldn't deploy at all times, and these were not the time release ones, but rather these were the acoustic based rope-less gear systems. Fishermen would get near where he or she dropped the pot over the side, push the little button and the trap wouldn't deploy." That's an issue, an acoustic trap cost about ten times a traditional one. Though the time release style are more affordable, they can…
Dec 08, 2021

Plan to rid Farallons of mice raising hackles among some enviros

by Marc Albert
A plan to aid endangered seabirds roosting on the Farallon Islands by banishing mice has environmentalists crying foul. 20 miles southwest of Point Reyes, the Farallons are part of a National Wildlife Refuge. The new plan, which would scatter poisoned pellets on the island, is the latest bid to rid the small archipelago of invasive species. The US Fish & Wildlife Service successfully eliminated other animals that were threatening endangered species in years past. Richard Charter, with the Ocean Foundation, said he deeply opposes the plan. "Rabbits and cats, you can trap them, shoot them, poison them and there aren't as many of them and it doesn't require blanketing the whole island with poisonous from helicopters, capable of killing every mouse, and everything else, not just on the island but it gets transferred to other parts of the ecosystem on land." Charter's concern is that burrowing owls that swoop in from Marin for a furry feast and gulls roosting on the islands will be inadvertently poisoned in the process. He predicts that despite efforts, some mice will survive, and their population will soar once again. According to federal Fish and Wildlife officials though, precautions are part of the plan. Officials intend to scare off gulls and potentially capture and relocate burrowing owls before scattering poisoned bait. While a similar proposal was withdrawn in 2019, this one seems nearing approval. "We're at kind of the final juncture of this decision right now. They've…
Dec 08, 2021

Sonoma County supervisors pass new and final redistricting map to widespread opposition

by Marc Albert and Greta Mart
If there was one thing members of the Sonoma County board of supervisors got right about their redistricting efforts, it was the repeated assertion the results wouldn't please everyone. That certainly played out Tuesday among members of the public addressing the board. "This process feels completely unethical. It feels like you, an all-white board refusing to listen to community members who are not white, a committee that you appointed, and now you won't listen to it." "It doesn't make sense that Rohnert Park is attached to [the Santa Rosa neighborhoods of] Moorland and Roseland and not to have Moorland and Roseland attached to the areas of financial success within Santa Rosa--that's unconscionable." "We've heard you talk about just how this is 'good enough' and how you had to do [the redistricting process] this way, because X, Y, and Z, we know that who draws the maps matters in the end and what effect we're going to get. And when you put garbage in, you get garbage out.""Today's meeting you come forward with a bunch of faux outrage, emotionalism, lack of facts, what-about-ism--like your jobs are too hard or something. Truly you could have been involved and should have been involved at an earlier stage. And now we're here in a quagmire.""The map that you've presented is wild. I saw that meeting last week and what you did was amateurish and what you've come up with doesn't make any sense at all." Those were the voices of Jenny Levine-Smith, a caller who identified himself as…
Dec 08, 2021

Winegrape value dropped by 46% in 2020, says SoCo ag commissioner

by Greta Mart
About 8,500 people work in agriculture in Sonoma County, and the county's two most valuable crops are wine and milk. That's according to the most recent Sonoma County crop report. But unlike the steady increase in overall value the county's seen in years' past, the total value of Sonoma County's agricultural output in 2020 dropped by almost 30 percent from the prior year. The county's agricultural commissioner outlined the decrease to county officials Tuesday when he presented the 2020 Crop Report. The tardy release of the report was blamed on the pandemic. That report finds grape value per ton went down by almost half from 2019 to 2020. Apples fared better, although a lack of processors and bad weather during bloom cut tonnage by three percent. One bright spot was livestock and poultry produce values...they went up by 20 percent between 2019 and 2020 due to a 24 percent increase in both organic and conventional milk production. says ag commissioner Andrew Smith. But one product the latest crop report didn't quantify was cannabis. And a few members of the public called out the county for ignoring such a big ag factor. "What it really comes down to is a community is being asked to make decisions about an issue, which is new--without data," Joanne Cedar said to the board during public comment. "And we have an opportunity to collect and report on this data, and that will inform decision making, moving forward. When asked why he didn't include cannabis data in the 2020 report,…
Dec 08, 2021

Vaccine confrontation sends Healdsburg city council online

by Marc Albert
After banging on windows, chanting and plotting to swarm the city council chambers, a crowd of close to 100 anti-vaccine demonstrators declared victory around 6:15 Monday evening, when it was announced that the night's meeting would take place online only. The mood was more festive than contentious. Other than a few jeers at motorists, the R&B radiating from a gold party bus called the "Twerkulator" set the tone. The rally was called by anti-vax activists as a show of support for Healdsburg council member Skylaer Palacios, who has declined the injection. Kim O'Brien of Novato echoed Palacios' contention that barring the unvaccinated from public meetings amounts to discrimination. "Look at Brown v. Board of Education, separate but equal. Being in the room where you can see everybody's face and body gestures is very different than seeing the person speaking on camera," O'Brien said to KRCB. That's an opinion shared by Glenn Yamamoto of Forestville. "Well, she's not there in person, it's like how do you have a relationship with your significant other if it's only by Zoom," Yamamoto said. "She's representing people in the community and she's not able to be there in person, so I think it does detract from the efficacy of her role." As the clock neared six, the crowd became more animated...and attempted to thwart security. Then, a chant of 'where is Skylaer Palacios,' erupted. Palacios wasn't there, she was attending the meeting, which included a performance review of the city…
Dec 08, 2021

Bruce Cockburn chats with Doug Jayne during Midday Music

by Mark Prell
Bruce Cockburn is one of the most beloved and celebrated singer-songwriters in the world. Just prior to starting a tour to promote his new album, Greatest Hits 1970-2020, Bruce took the time to speak with Doug Jayne about Canada, The Beatles, and the first time he heard himself on the radio! The interview aired Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Join Doug Jayne for Midday Music, weekdays from noon to 3:00 pm on KRCB 104.9!
Dec 07, 2021

"Connections 7" showcases northern California women musicians to support KRCB 104.9

by Mark Prell
As the Summer of 2021 was winding down, Doug Jayne, host of Midday Music on KRCB 104.9, came across a social media post from one of his musician friends, Alison Harris. Alison is a champion of equality for women in the Northern California music scene. While her post pointed out the disparity between women and men, Harris said she also encouraged us to "make it a point to feature, celebrate, collaborate with, and lift up women.” “I accidentally started a huge conversation about the lack of visibility, opportunity and recognition of women in the music industry by sharing the pain of exclusion in a public online forum,” Harris explained. “175 local women responded with 365 comments. Doug Jayne and I began to dialogue about it, and Connections 7 was born.” “Thanks, KRCB and Doug for supporting local women and other marginalized groups in the music industry.” Harris said. “Here's to more visible voices, may we all lean into uncomfortable moments of open communication and growth that lead to meaningful connection.” Thanks to all the talented women who donated songs to this CD. Let the conversation continue! Read more about this amazing compilation of Northern California Women Musicians. (Photo: Connections 7 - Compiled & produced by Doug Jayne & Alison Harris, Sonoma County, CA, Winter 2021)
Dec 06, 2021

Troubling use-of-force incidents continue, though IOLERO notes Sheriff's office reforms.

by Marc Albert
There's been a good deal of progress on certain policies, according to an official civilian oversight body's annual report on the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, but concerning incidents, similar to those reported in years past, continue occuring. The Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review & Outreach or IOLERO as it is better known is a voter-created, civilian body that is supposed to be a local watchdog. A new 76-page annual report, praises new firearms and de-escalation policies at the sheriff's office, but, also found that certain problematic incidents, flagged by IOLERO in the past, are still happening. With IOLERO's Director Karlene Navarro recently named a state judge, we turn to Evan Zelig, an attorney, and chair of IOLERO's community advisory council...to learn more.. We start by asking about the lingering issues.
Dec 03, 2021

Blood donations are needed most during the holidays

by Mark Prell
Holiday blood drives are in full swing. And it's one of the most important gifts you can give. The process of collecting blood hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Justin Miller with the American Red Cross said gravity essentially still does most of the work, “...the needle goes in in the arm, [blood] comes out of a tube and into a bag,” he explained. What has changed, he said, is the science that keeps the blood supply safe. “We also take a series of test tubes," he continued. "Those get shipped off for testing for a number of different things just to make sure that ultimately, the blood is going to be safe, to go to a patient” Donations are screened for blood type, plus a variety of infectious diseases like Hepatitis, HIV, and COVID-19, among others. “While that's happening, the blood is in what we call a quarantine, if you will, and it gets manufactured," Miler said. "It goes from that whole blood that was collected and separated out into the many different products that ultimately can be used. So, whether it is red blood cells, platelets, or whether it is plasma, that manufacturing process happens while that blood is in quarantine,” he said. The process takes just three to five days, according to Miller. Once the blood clears quarantine, it gets sent out to hospitals. In the seldom case a test is positive, Miller said the donation is discarded and the donor is notified. The Red Cross provides 40% of the nation’s blood supply and has the nationwide infrastructure to…
Dec 02, 2021

"Forever known as a dirty cop;" former Rohnert Park police officer pleads guilty to all charges

by Greta Mart
The former Rohnert Park police officer facing federal charges for shaking down motorists on Highway 101 pleaded guilty in a San Francisco courtroom Thursday. Brendon Jacy Tatum admitted to charges of extortion, tax evasion and falsifying police reports. “Mr. Tatum came to the conclusion that he had made some really huge and awful mistakes for himself, and for his family, and for the city he worked for,” Stuart Hanlon, Tatum’s attorney, told KRCB Thursday afternoon. “[Tatum] did not want to keep on trying to fight it. He wanted to come to terms with what he'd done. He is guilty. And he reached the determination the best way to deal with this was to accept responsibility. In September, Tatum and his former partner were indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly taking cannabis and money from motorists they pulled over in Sonoma and Mendocino counties in 2016 and 2017. Neither man is in custody. According to the US Attorney’s Office, in February 2018, “the press began reporting on robberies along Highway 101 by purported law enforcement agents, and specifically the robbery that took place on December 5, 2017. These reports indicated that the victims had been interviewed by the FBI. The criminal complaint alleges that Tatum responded by drafting a press release claiming RPDPS was responsible for the December 5, 2017 stop, and then prepared a false police report to conceal his criminal activity.” Hanlon said now that Tatum has pleaded guilty to all charges, nothing more…
Dec 01, 2021

First U.S. case of omicron variant detected in Bay Area

by Steve Milne/Capital Public Radio
A person from the Bay Area has become the first in the United State to have an identified-case of the omicron variant of COVID-19. Governor Gavin Newsom announced the news during a press conference today. "This individual, who is a resident of San Francisco, was fully vaccinated, had recently been in South Africa, began they're travels back into the United States on [November] 21st, landed on the 22nd, developed some symptoms a few days later around the 25th, got tested on the 28th. The test came back positive on the 29th," Newsom said. Newsom said the person was vaccinated but had not received a booster. The news comes as scientists continue to study the risks posed by the new strain of the virus. To help prevent spread of the variant, state officials say they're increasing COVID testing at airports for arrivals from countries identified by the Centers for Disease Control.
Dec 01, 2021

Tom and Dick Smothers along with Marc Maron join Doug Jayne on a Wednesday afternoon

by Mark Prell
December 1 was an exciting day at KRCB 104.9! Doug Jayne came to work early to do a phone interview with Bruce Cockburn. Jayne told Cockburn he was particularly excited because two of his heroes, the Smothers Brothers, were in the next studio recording an interview with Marc Maron for his "WTF" podcast. "When my show started at noon, I grabbed the Smothers Brothers CD off the shelf, and gave it to Wendy hoping she would get it autographed," Jayne said. "To my delight," he continued, "Tom, Dick and Marc visited me in Studio A for an impromptu stop and chat - and they signed the CD!" Here's the conversation. It begins with an early Smothers Brothers recording of "Chocolate"... Hear Midday Music with Doug Jayne weekdays from noon to 3:00 pm on KRCB 104.9.
Nov 30, 2021

Tempers rise as deadline for redistricting nears

by Marc Albert
New boundaries for Sonoma County's supervisorial districts inched closer to reality Monday but perhaps not quite as planned. Rather than small tweaks to a map developed by the county's Advisory Redistricting Committee or ARC, at Monday's special board workshop, the supervisors worked off an entirely new map. That's despite them unanimously saying at the Nov. 16 board meeting they supported ARC's map. Some members of the public accused the board of looking to consolidate their bases of political support rather than achieve more equitable representation. Then, the horse trading began. Scores of minor provisions were weighed, as officials attempted to tick off required criteria. But, a minor change to bring equilibrium to population numbers in one place, would throw off another calculation. A typical exchange between the county's consultant, and supervisors David Coursey and Susan Gorin. "College (Avenue)is probably too many, but I can look at that...So that is 5,227 people. It would almost perfectly balance (district) 3, but (district) 1 would then be over by seven percent, so maybe we have to... Coursey: "Maybe this map doesn't work" Gorin: "Well, I think now we're understanding the challenges that our re-districting commission had, truly" On the table is the issue of perhaps dividing Rohnert Park between two districts. And using Highway 101 or the railroad tracks as a division in Santa Rosa, along with assigning downtown Santa Rosa to a single district. Supervisor Coursey…
Nov 29, 2021

Drought forcing ranchers to sell livestock

by Steve Milne/Capital Public Radio
Sonoma County's rolling hills may be emerald green right now, but the region is still in "extreme drought," per the U.S. Drought Monitor. The ongoing drought is making it harder for California ranchers to provide water for livestock, forcing some to downsize their herds. Loren Poncia the co-owner of Stemple Creek Ranch near Tomales in Marin County. "We sold quite a few mama cows and we moved a lot of cattle off of our ranches to other places further north in other parts of the state that had water," Poncia said. He said last month's historic rain storm that deluged Northern California with several inches of rain has brought about a reprieve from downsizing herds. "Now that it has rained and we are starting to have some stock water and we actually got a pretty decent start to the grass growing, we've brought most of those cattle back home." But long-range weather forecasts show dry conditions continuing. A survey by the American Farm Bureau finds more than 65-percent of farm and ranch businesses in the Western U-S report selling off portions of herds is prevalent in their areas.
Nov 29, 2021

How will hotter average temperatures affect Sonoma County's water supply in the future?

by Greta Mart
Recently Sonoma County’s water agency released a plan that looks at threats to the county’s water supply from climate change. According to Sonoma Water, it’s a plan to enable the county to “be ready for the changes that are coming and they're coming fast and we're already seeing,” said Dale Roberts. Roberts is principal engineer at Sonoma Water. The agency does three core functions, the primary being providing clean drinking water to 600,000 people. It’s also in charge of flood management and sewage collection and treatment. To come up with its new Climate Adaptation Plan, Roberts said Sonoma Water used the best available science to forecast what’s coming. “We can expect to see a kind of flashier rainfall events, more precipitation coming all at once,” Roberts said. “Or it could be that no precipitation or minimal precipitation comes at all, as we've seen the past two years.” Roberts said the agency is working on projects to save more surface runoff. “We want to capture that winter water and pump it in our system to our customers, perhaps have them recharge the groundwater,” Roberts said. A lot of that surface runoff is going out to the ocean right now. Roberts said building new storage capability is not that easy. “It takes decades to do the planning and the environmental and the permitting and the engineering to get a reservoir built and finding a place to put her reservoir,” Roberts said. “It is very controversial and can be a mess.” The new plan positions Sonoma County…
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