“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.”
Alexander K. Trenfor
Congratulations St. Vincent
For the first time since 2019, Sonoma County has a state high school championship team in football. St. Vincent de Paul High School in Petaluma beat Wasco High School with a score of 27 to 6. The game (Division 6-AA) was played at Pasadena City College. The community held a parade honoring the team on December 17th.
County Living Wage Increase
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to increase the living wage rate for the county from $17.65 an hour to $18.10. The new rate will take effect for new contracts and transactions on January 1, 2024. The state minimum wage goes up to $16 an hour on January 1, 2024. The Board of Supervisors will resume discussion about potentially expanding the pool of covered workers to include seasonal employees such as those at the fairgrounds.
Police Officers return to Santa Rosa High Schools
Santa Rosa City Schools administrators voted to station a police officer at each of the city’s high schools. The officers were scheduled at the schools until the start of Christmas vacation. The officers will not be stationed at city middle schools but will be spending time on those campuses and checking in with the school administrators. There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the placement of officers at schools. The issue may not be settled yet.
Santa Rosa City Schools Trustees Lower Standards
For the fourth year in a row, Santa Rosa City Schools Trustees have adopted waivers allowing high school students who have not met more stringent academic requirements to graduate. In 2018 the district moved toward college preparatory classes for all high school students regardless of the learning level of the student. Apparently, there is inadequate academic support for the students who are not ready for college prep classes. The “A-G For All” policy has required waivers in order for students to be able to graduate. At the last board meeting a four hour discussion resulted in the board voting unanimously in favor of waiving the third year of math and the second year of foreign language. Apparently, the intent of the initial policy was meant to address the disproportionate number of students of color who were not taking advantage of courses that would allow them college entrance. The board has implemented waivers for every class since 2018. District administrators stated that the fallout of wildfires, the pandemic, political unrest and other pressures have contributed to an environment that required the annual exemptions. The board voted unanimously to approve waivers for the next two graduating classes.
Sentinel Editor’s Comment: Why is education not being provided for where the student is and working to remediate the weaknesses instead of trying to fit everyone into the same slot?
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” George Orwell 1984
Bird Flu Outbreak
Due to avian flu, poultry producers in Sonoma County have been forced to euthanize more than 500,000 birds at three local poultry facilities. Since Thanksgiving seven sites with more than a million birds have been euthanized. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a virulent virus that is often carried by wild birds and can prove devastating to bird populations at farms that produce eggs, chickens or ducks meant for human consumption. Since 2022, almost 77 million farm-raised birds have been affected in 47 states.
3.4 million of the dead birds have been in California with about a third of them in Sonoma County. Only Oho has recorded more dead birds. The outbreaks continue to grow. In August 2022 the flu affected 162,000 turkeys at a commercial operation in Tuolumne County. Since thanksgiving of this year there have been seven California outbreaks including a Merced County egg operation that had to put down 1.35 million birds. Sunrise Farms has had to euthanize 497,700 birds at its main facility on Liberty Road.
All identified local cases are in the county’s poultry belt west of Petaluma. There are egg, chicken and duck ranches based there including companies such as Perdue Farms and Petaluma Poultry. It is estimated that approximately one million agricultural birds live within the poultry belt.
The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County has started a Poultry Farms & Employee Relief Fund to assist those affected by the outbreak. Anyone interested in contributing can click here.
Preliminary Injunction Regarding Bruen Decision
The California legislature passed a law that would have banned the carrying of firearms in almost all public places. Governor Newsom signed the bill into law in September and it was set to go into effect on January 1. U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney granted a preliminary injunction calling the law “sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment and openly defiant of the Supreme Court.”
The new law would have banned the carrying of firearms, even licensed firearms, in 26 specific public places, including “public transportation, at public gatherings and special events, in parks and at playgrounds, in stadiums, arenas and casinos, in medical facilities, religious institutions or financial institutions, anywhere that liquor is sold and consumed, in all other private commercial spaces where the owner has not explicitly posted a sign to the contrary and in many parking areas among other places. The Buren decision carved out a very small exception where concealed firearms could be banned. None of these places were public spaces in general. Chuck Michel, attorney for the plaintiffs stated that “This law was an attempt to make permits to carry a firearm to defend yourself or your family useless because permit holders wouldn’t be able to drive across town without passing through a prohibited area and breaking the law.”
“Sometimes the trouble with self-made people is that they worship the creator.” Anonymous
Frank Riggs, North Coast Republican 1950 – 2023
Former Congressman Frank Riggs died in Arizona on December 20th. He served as a Windsor Schools Trustee, a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy, and a Congressman from Sonoma County. Riggs was the last Republican in Sonoma County elected to statewide partisan office. As a Congressman Riggs voted against the Iraq War. Riggs contributed to the preservation of the old-growth redwoods in Humboldt County’s Headwaters Forest. He helped to continue the patchwork ban on offshore oil drilling and prevented a water grab from the Trinity River. Riggs had moved to Arizona in 2003.
Sebastopol City Council Members Selected
On December 5, Vice mayor Diana Rich was selected Sebastopol Mayor in a 4-1 vote. Council member Jill McLewis voted in opposition. Rich nominated Council member Stephen Zollman to replace her as Vice Mayor. He was selected in a 4-1 vote. Jill McLewis voted in opposition.
Mayor Rich has advocated for a sales tax ballot measure to address the city’s $1.67 million deficit. Mayor Rich stated that she will continue to push for the city to find fiscally sustainable footing. Mayor Rich has received a warning from former interim Fire Chief Jack Piccinini that staffing issues at the city’s volunteer fire department are compromising public safety.
“Some Americans will never appreciate America until they have helped destroy it and have begun to suffer the consequences.” Thomas Sowell
New Ways for Government to Collect More Money
There is currently a case under consideration at the Supreme Court that could alter the life of many people. The government has argued at the Supreme Court that the 16th Amendment’s authorization of “income” taxes allows for the taxing of unrealized gains. It has always been understood that income taxes apply only to realized gains which are those that have been actually received by the taxpayer or effectively so such that the taxpayer has control over the funds, which is called “constructive realization.”
The case is Moore v. U.S. and has been heard at the Supreme Court. The tax code has nearly 10,000 provisions. The government seized on a handful of provisions it contends would be imperiled by a holding in the Moores’ favor. If the Supreme Court holds that the realization of income isn’t required for purposes of the 16th Amendment, the necessary implication will be that the tax code already reaches all unrealized gains. If the government’s position is right that “income” means any economic gain between two points in time, without regard to whether that gain is realized, then Americans should have been paying taxes on the appreciation of their homes and other investments since the dawn of the income tax in 1913. If the court upholds the government’s position, the tax code’s definition of income would be transformed. This will be a very important Supreme Court decision.
“When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent.” Isaac Asimov
Friends establish nonprofit to boost Latino entrepreneurship.
Laura Arreguin-Vasquez, Lizbeth Perez and Marisela Cervantes of Healdsburg have created a nonprofit to boost Latino entrepreneurship. It is named VAMOS Cultural, Entrepreneurship and Resource Center. This is the VAMOS vision: pop-up markets to highlight Latino culture and for small entrepreneurs to market their wares: work with partners to produce workshops to help those entrepreneurs develop business plans, build sustainable businesses, obtain financing and navigate the regulations that govern starting and running a small business in Sonoma County. It is a nonprofit that is made by the community and for the community.
"Teamwork - Coming together is a Beginning. Keeping together is Progress. Working together is Success." Henry Ford
Happy New Year!