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Small Shops of Sonoma County 2011

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The Sonoma County Gazette Newspaper is distributed FREE in Sonoma County to mailing addresses in Forestville, Guerneville, Graton, Monte Rio, Rio Nido, Occidental & Sebastopol and on NEWSSTANDS from Healdsburg to Petaluma and Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay, including Windsor, Larkfield, the Russian River villages of Duncans Mills, Cazadero & Jenner, and the West County towns of Freestone & Valley Ford - almost 300 locations across Sonoma County.

Volume 8, Number 4  April 1 - May 4, 2011

Green Living for a Blue Planet, Earth Day 2011

Green Living for a Blue Planet: Earth Day 2011

How Green is your Green?

by Fred Krueger

In 2002 all nine of Sonoma County's cities pledged to participate in a campaign to reduce greenhouse gas levels and become leaders in climate protection.

Several years later a climate master plan was developed by civic and local government leaders. They said that it was no longer okay to continue life as usual. Climate change was serious. We had to change our habitual patterns of living. We had to make the transition from being champion consumers to champion conservers.

Green Living for a Blue Planet - Earth Day 2011 »

Affordable Housing

Cheap Houses

Do we still need affordable housing in Sonoma County?

It's clear that the answer to whether we need more affordable housing in Sonoma County is a resounding YES!

Housing prices have tanked in the past few years. The median price for a typical three bedroom two bath home reached $619,000 in 2005; generally only the top wage earners were able to buy a home. Sonoma County was in the top 5 most expensive housing markets in the country when median home prices were compared to median incomes.

The median price for the same home is now $328,750 (Press Democrat 2/15/2011). This is affordable to people with a monthly household income of $7910 (equivalent to $23 per hour for two full-time workers or an annual household income of $94,920)! This assumes that the household uses 30% of its gross income for housing costs and has total debt payments, including housing, that do not exceed 38% of gross income. It is harder these days to qualify for a mortgage loan because of the recent problems in the real estate market, so people must have a good credit score and a 10% to 20% down payment and closing costs to get that loan. And then there are the other non-monetary hoops to jump through; collecting two years' income tax reports, account statements, appraisals and miscellaneous other documentation.

Cheap Houses - Do we still need affordable housing? »

Bohemian Grove Logging

Sierra Club vs. Bohemian Grove = Trees Win!

By Jay Halcomb and Dan Kerbein, Redwood Chapter, Sierra Club

Environmentalists had opposed the Bohemian Club's Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP), which sought CALFIRE's approval to log up to nearly two million board feet per year, including some old growth, at the Bohemian Grove. The Sierra Club's lawsuit maintained that the Bohemian Club overstated the amount of timber that could be sustainably harvested, in violation of CEQA.

The recent ruling in the Sierra Club v CALFIRE case is a win for environmentalists who for years waged a David and Goliath-style battle in an effort to scale back logging at the Bohemian Club's 2,700-acre Bohemian Grove near Monte Rio, 75 miles north of San Francisco.

Sierra Club vs. Bohemian Grove = Trees Win! »

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