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Sonoma County Gazette

Economics - Money

Managing money is  part of our lives and if we do it well, we can thrive. From NEWS of economic issues to advice on money, this category keeps you informed.

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2020-07-24Jul 24, 2020
The County’s Economic Recovery Committee will be hosting its first Town Hall on Wednesday, August 26th, at 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm to gather feedback from the community.  Register to the Zoom meeting and send email questions and comments before the meeting.
2020-05-26May 26, 2020

After the devastating wildfires of 2017 and 2018 some homeowners turned to contractors offering great deals, but they had no experience building homes. Homeowners would come to find out that their contractor didn’t have the experience needed to do the job right, or even finish their work. That’s why Senator McGuire introduced legislation   SB 1189 which addresses this issue by eliminating the one-size-fits-all contracting license. SB 1189 will also allow District Attorneys to prosecute unlicensed contracting companies who take advantage of wildfire survivors.

2020-05-15May 15, 2020

Sonoma County encourages anyone who suspects exposure to someone with COVID-19 to get a test (in addition to all those with symptoms). If you are working or planning to return to work soon, please come get tested. If you are worried about getting someone in your house sick, come get tested. If you have symptoms that concern you, like cough or fever, come get tested. Even if you don’t have symptoms, it is still possible to spread coronavirus to others. Community-wide testing is a critical step toward re-opening the County and allows us to identify and increase our understanding of COVID-19 community spread. This includes collecting a broad sample of results from people with or without symptoms. We know that upwards of 40% of people who test positive experience no symptoms (asymptomatic), but can still spread the disease.  You do not need health insurance or id. 

2020-05-15May 15, 2020

The County of Sonoma released its 2020-21 recommended budget totaling $1.9 billion, which represents as flat 0.1% change increase from the current FY 2019-20 revised budget.

2020-04-27Apr 27, 2020

News Alert: The Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications starting Monday, April 27  from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower.  This will ensure that SBA has properly coded the system to account for changes made by the legislation. The PPP has supported more than 1.66 million small businesses and protected over 30 million jobs for hardworking Americans.  With the additional funds appropriated by Congress, tens of millions of additional workers will benefit from this critical relief. Read more 

2020-04-23Apr 23, 2020

Real Estate is now listed as essential, but it is a little trickier to sell or buy a home right now. There will be no Open Houses, Realtor meetings are virtual, and we are discussing what we can do and how we should be doing things to maintain the safety or our clients and the general public. We continue to help people refinance with historically low rates and my company rolled out Hybrid eClosings in early April. This will streamline the closing process and shorten the face-to-face meeting with a notary from 60 minutes to 15 minutes. Signing documents electronically is easy and we have been doing that for a decade. 

2020-04-19Apr 19, 2020

Corvid 19 era compilation of family supports such as cash assistance, health or dental coverage, nutritional supports, or low-cost internet services, food banks or school meal programs, assistance paying for utilities, temporary shelter or housing supports,  low-cost health coverage for children and adults with limited income and many more.

2020-04-10Apr 10, 2020

While the Human Services Department 's (HSD)doors are temporarily closed and some of our services are reduced,  we are still here to help you and your family. The COVID-19 crisis presents new and unprecedented challenges, and we know a lot of community members have questions about how COVID-19 may impact public benefits such as CalFresh, General Assistance, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Medi-Cal, and SonomaWORKS. 

2020-04-05Apr 5, 2020

SoCo United In Crisis Members: 

North Bay Jobs with Justice , North Bay Organizing Project , North Bay Labor Council,National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW),  Graton Day Labor Center, Alianza Laboral de Mujeres Activas y Solidarias (ALMAS) ,Sonoma County Tenants Union ,Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1021, Comité VIDA and the Sunrise Movement have formed a coalitions and are meeting with elected officials to ask for paid sick leave, job protections for laid off workers, protective gear for essential and healthcare workers, and covered medical costs for farm workers exposed to illness. 

2020-03-27Mar 27, 2020

The federal relief package recently approved to address the pandemic does provide 10 paid sick days. But, the federal legislation includes gigantic loopholes. Companies with more than 500 workers (McDonald’s, Marriott, Exon, Chase Manhattan, and Wal-Mart) are exempted — and firms with less than 50 employees can apply for a hardship exemption. Only 20 percent of the entire workforce is covered by the new federal paid sick leave policy. Governor Newsom and the legislature should now enact legislation comparable to New York, providing emergency 14 paid sick days (for Californians affected by the coronavirus — but our state and local elected officials should go much further and make paid sick leave permanent. 

2020-03-27Mar 27, 2020

At CVNL + Volunteer Center of Sonoma County, our number one priority is the health and safety of all the members of our community. As a leader in disaster preparedness and response we take emergency situations seriously. As such, we have made the difficult yet necessary decision to cancel the 2020 Sonoma County Human Race, which was scheduled for Sunday, May 2, in Santa Rosa. We will, however, keep the Human Race website open through June 2, 2020, as there are still companies, teams, and individuals fundraising. 

2020-07-21Jul 21, 2020

Leading the charge in finding solutions for the Workforce/Middle Income housing crisis, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma announced today that she is looking for creative ideas from the public to aid families in need of housing.   


2020-03-24Mar 24, 2020

We were slowly moving towards historic low interest rates literally all year. Rates started moving down slowly and methodically as these things usually do and arrived at the low point at the beginning of March. We had these historic low rates for an entire week (3/2 – 3/6).  The following week (3/9 – 3/13), we lost ALL of the gains from the prior two months in dramatic fashion.  I need to tell you a secret, something not a lot of people know. People always talk about investing in Stocks & Bonds like they are the same, but they are not. They operate in much the same way and they are traded in the same places, but they are almost always opposites. Y

2020-03-22Mar 22, 2020

UndocuFund is Re-activated to Help our Undocumented Community Members Through COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis. An estimated 38,500 undocumented immigrants live in Sonoma County. Unlike other victims, undocumented immigrants, even though they pay taxes, do not qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Even when they do qualify for services, many undocumented immigrants are unlikely to pursue those benefits due to fear of immigration enforcement, lack of familiarity with official institutions, and limited English proficiency. At every turn, our undocumented neighbors face barriers and challenges to recovering from disasters.

2020-03-05Mar 5, 2020

The 2020 Census, which kicks off April 1, determines where billions in federal dollars are spent for over 70 federal programs that pay for things like roads and schools. At the same time, the census decides the number of seats states get in the House of Representatives and the allotment of electoral votes toward picking the president.

2020-03-02Mar 2, 2020

I talk to at least one person a week who tells me that they just don’t have the 20% down payment saved to get into a home right now. My answer is always the same…. GREAT! How much do you have? Basically, what I am saying is that you should work with a mortgage advisor to see what you can qualify for and what is available to you. Do not decide that you can’t make this happen before you find out. There is a USDA loan which is designed to help folks in rural areas get into homes in rural America and this program requires NO MONEY DOWN as well. You have to buy in a rural area. Around here, that means anywhere in west county, many parts of east county, Windsor and all parts north. 


2020-02-28Feb 28, 2020

The following Permit Sonoma agenda items are scheduled for discussion at upcoming Board of Supervisors, Board of Zoning Adjustments, Planning Agency, or Planning Commission meetings. These items have been identified as being of significant interest to the public.


2020-02-23Feb 23, 2020

As a freelance worker I decided to do some research on AB 5. Now I really know what it means to have opened pandoras box: doing something that causes a lot of problems to appear that were not known about before. There is a lot of information out there but I found a few straightforward ones without too much legal speak and without an invite to a consultation from a law firm at the end. To get you familiar with the bones of the matter I compiled some excerpts from several sites addressing AB5. As for the adverse effects of AB5; in one statement from @SenatorBorgeas on Twitter: "AB5 will limit an individual’s ability for flexible employment and destroys entire industries across California..."

2020-02-21Feb 21, 2020

The State of California is concerned that the ever-expanding growth of what is now called ‘the gig-economy’ new opportunities for misclassification have emerged. It seems that this is the underlying reason and push for the implementation of AB 5. A person providing labor or services for remuneration shall be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity demonstrates that ALL of the are satisfied in the ‘ABC Test’ or ‘Three-part test.

2020-02-10Feb 10, 2020

The easiest way to buy a fixer-upper is you have a decent amount of money and you buy a house that needs cosmetic fixing up. That way, you can buy the house with a regular loan and use your own money to remodel. Mortgage lenders will not lend on homes that are not in at least average condition so if the house is in the below-average condition you may need a renovation loan.


2020-02-06Feb 6, 2020

Each Winter, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board partners with Sonoma County Tourism to host Sonoma County Restaurant Week — the Wine Country’s tastiest time of the year featuring a wide variety of restaurants and culinary options at great prices. Dine out at participating restaurants and receive prix-fixe dining options.

2020-07-08Jul 8, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications in response to President signing the program's extension legislation. The new deadline  to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is August 8, 2020. The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses. Read more about PPP loan application and loan forgiveness.

2020-06-27Jun 27, 2020

The definition of a recession is if you have two negative quarters in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The first quarter was negative. As I write this, we are about to end the 2nd Quarter and we will be negative as well so July 1, 2020 we will officially be in a recession. in the last recession, in 2008  the housing market and the mortgage markets caused the recession itself and things were a real mess. Today is a much different. In the 11 years since that recession, we have seen housing prices come back but in a much more healthy way.  We currently have 26.7% of households who have more than 50% equity in their homes and 37% of homes nationwide are owned free and clear. Now is indeed a great time to buy but it is also an excellent time to sell. 

2020-06-26Jun 26, 2020

The affordable housing, community green space and public uses that have been promised to the Roseland community are finally becoming a reality! Over $25 million was approved today by the State of California that will provide a huge boost in the development of the transformational Roseland Village project. Senator McGuire, the County of Sonoma, the City of Santa Rosa, SMART and MidPen Housing have been working together to secure the funds for over a year.

2020-06-18Jun 18, 2020

Health and safety concerns within homeless encampments in Santa Rosa amid the COVID-19 emergency has reached a tipping point and plans are in place to begin removal and clean-up of the encampments located under the Highway 101 overpasses in the Downtown corridor and College Avenue june 24th by. First though a round of Covid 19 testing is called for and will be administered.  See also links added for solutions beyond moving the homeless community from place to place.

2020-06-03Jun 3, 2020

There are two basic reasons for being totally opposed to homes being rented to out-of-area guests. One is the behavior of the guests. If there is only a distant property manager and no responsible person on the property, guests can have parties, invite too many people so septic systems get overloaded, parking too many cars is a nuisance, noise levels are hard to control, or impossible without law enforcement intervention, and weekends during vacation season become opportunities for higher levels of stress instead of relaxation on days off from work. The other is the impact of available housing and neighborhoods devoid of neighbors. On the other side, tourism accounts for  massive amounts of money pouring into Sonoma County paying for wages and tax-dependent services.

2020-05-31May 31, 2020

The county will convene a Sonoma County Economic Recovery Taskforce (SCERT) focused on shifting our County from a broad, stay-at-home model that is based on essential/non-essential activity, to a risk-based model that weighs all available data. The Board of Supervisors, Department of Health Services and Economic Development Board has begun this work. The Board of Supervisors and the Public Health Officer have been clear that the goal is to align Sonoma County’s Shelter in Place Order with State Guidelines – in content and timeline. Last week, Sonoma County experienced a surge in COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations that delayed that process.  This is a new week, and brings us the renewed opportunity to transition towards a risk-based approach.

2020-05-31May 31, 2020

Homeowner preference and higher initial costs for induction cookers appear to have been ignored in the subsequent reach codes outlined in the 2019 California building code, which went into effect January 1, 2020. Homeowner resistance to buying an all-electric residence and homeowner reluctance to giving up gas cooking is obliterated with the revised building code.

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