A quick look at the policy and politics that have made recent headlines in California’s rural counties.
CALAVERAS: County transportation planners are looking at whether it is possible to once again resume the Lode-to-Valley bus service. County residents have not had any direct public transit links to Central Valley cities since 2009, when budget cuts axed the service.
COLUSA: Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Monday that will allow for the use of a $5.6 million Colusa County grant to construct a tri-county juvenile hall in Marysville. The facility will feature 48 beds and serve the counties of Colusa, Sutter and Yuba.
FRESNO: Former Fresno County Director of Emergency Services Tim Casagrande was apparently kidnapped and robbed at his home on Monday. Police are looking for anyone who may have information as to the kidnapper’s identity.
KERN: The Bakersfield-Kern animal shelter controversy is weathering on. The latest? Bakersfield is looking to reclaim nearly $100k worth of animal license fees from the county. The county, meanwhile, has decided that from here on out, it will only accept animals from unincorporated Kern residents.
NEVADA: A group of residents are fed up with the “strong odor” that emanates from their neighbors’ collective medical-marijuana pot grow. Nevada County officials are citing staffing shortages as the reason why they cannot enforce county ordinances that prevent such large-scale operations. This year alone, the county’s sheriff department has received more than 300 marijuana-related complaints. According to Lt. Steve Tripp, they have only been able to respond to 100 of them.
PLACER: Governor Brown’s signature on AB 401 could result in the trimming of $40 million in costs for the Capital SouthEast Connector, an expressway that will link Highway 99 with Placer County. The JPA board is hoping for a signature because as JPA representative Pat Hume put it, “This could add some efficiency and save some money. It’s real savings and real money.”
The county is also seeking a university partnership across the pond. If discussions pan out, the UK-based University of Warwick may soon have a campus in Roseville.
SONOMA: The Sonoma City Council voted 3-2 in favor of an ordinance that bans the use of gas-powered leaf blowers within city limits, citing the high level of noise caused by blowers with combustion engines.
TEHEMA: After a last-minute relocation caused by the federal government shutdown, the annual Mutts Strutt fundraiser for the Tehama County Animal Care Center carried on without a hitch. In addition to raising funds for the shelter, owners were offered the chance to have their pets microchipped and the center showcased its adoptable dogs and cats to the public.
YUBA: An illegal dumping of a cleaning solvent (described as a degreaser) has cost the county over $48,000 in cleanup fees.
County residents are also frustrated with half-baked efforts to extend the life of roads around Plumas Lake. Neighbors remarked that the road is now “uneven, bumpy, and the loose tar is sticking to their cars.”