Open Trench

Help Wanted

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Oct, 2017 Issue

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a crisis of insufficient workers to fill jobs in the North Bay. Unemployment is at a historic low. Businesses need workers and can’t seem to find them. There are “help wanted” signs on businesses all over the place.


Read more

Living in the Land of Excuses

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Sep, 2017 Issue

Four years ago, my daughter obtained a mortgage loan from what I will call The Stagecoach Bank, a bank that does a lot of business in the North Bay.  In addition to her regular monthly payments, she made extra payments to further reduce the principal amount owing on the loan. But she noticed that The Stagecoach Bank wasn’t crediting the extra payments.


Read more

Talking Trash (Part 2)

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Aug, 2017 Issue

In the last Open Trench I started a discussion about the messy situation with trash hauling in Santa Rosa and more generally in Sonoma County. The bottom line for Santa Rosa residents and businesses is that their costs for services will soar in 2018, when a new trash hauler, with a new contract, takes over.  What do I mean by “soar?” Costs could double or even triple, from less than $200 per year (for residential service) to more than $500.


Read more

Termination Liability Blues

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Jan, 2017 Issue

What happens if the CalPERS investments don’t earn 7.5 percent, as they haven’t in recent years?


Read more

Are You Feeling Disabled

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Dec, 2016 Issue

Our lawmakers started with the laudable goal of making things more convenient for truly disabled persons.


Read more

Its Time to Talk About Taxes

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Nov, 2016 Issue

With almost every request for tax increases, our leaders promise to spend the money on public safety, roads, schools and other community benefits.


Read more

SMART versus the A Line, Part 2

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Oct, 2016 Issue

There's a monumental difference between the number of A Line trains actually running each day and the proposed number of daily SMART trains.


Read more

Waiting for SMART? Take a Ride on the A Line.

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Sep, 2016 Issue

I don't think the proposed fare structure is SMART's biggest issue.


Read more

Captain Obvious Researches Homelessness

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Jul, 2016 Issue

Homelessness was much less obvious in Sonoma and Healdsburg, our county’s most high-profile tourist destinations. I wondered why.


Read more

Billion Dollar Potholes in Sonoma County Roads and Pensions

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Jun, 2016 Issue

And then there’s the truly gut-wrenching fact that Sonoma County has essentially guaranteed a 7.5 percent investment return on pension assets exceeding $2 billion.


Read more

Sonoma County’s Unsustainable Pension Costs

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Dec, 2014 Issue

Bob Andrews’ last “Open Trench” column tackles Sonoma County’s ongoing pension cost problem.


Read more

Moments of Clarity

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Nov, 2014 Issue

Bob takes a look back at some of his column’s “say what?” moments.


Read more

Just Say “No” to the SRJC Bond Proposal

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Oct, 2014 Issue

Sonoma County tax proposals are getting out of control.


Read more

Nothing Propinks Like Propinquity

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Sep, 2014 Issue

The “in crowd” has its hands firmly on Santa Rosa’s fiscal resources.


Read more

A Few Voters Have Spoken

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Aug, 2014 Issue

Low voter turnout can be quite costly.


Read more

A Never-Ending Story of Dysfunction

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Jul, 2014 Issue

A questionable verdict in the Efren Carrillo trial.


Read more

The PISA Zone

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Jun, 2014 Issue

Why is the city of Santa Rosa rezoning properties to PISA status?


Read more

The Ugly Underbelly of Zealous Regulation (Part 2)

Columnist: Bob Andrews
May, 2014 Issue

Bob Andrews continues his investigation of USDA inspection methods.


Read more

The Ugly Underbelly of Zealous Regulation (Part 1)

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Apr, 2014 Issue

Bob Andrews investigates USDA inspection methods.


Read more

Who Governs?

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Mar, 2014 Issue

What it takes to “lead” and what it takes to “govern” are often very different skills.


Read more

Public Employee Pensions: Part 54

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Feb, 2014 Issue

Public employee pensions are out of control in Marin County, too.


Read more

Taxes, More Taxes and Debt

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Jan, 2014 Issue

Sonoma County sure loves taxes and debt.


Read more

More of the Same

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Dec, 2013 Issue

Is local government trying to pull the wool over our overtaxed eyes?


Read more

A Tale of Two Counties

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Nov, 2013 Issue

Pension costs are bringing on the season of Darkness.


Read more

Connecting the Dots (Part 2)

Columnist: Bob Andrews
Oct, 2013 Issue

Should fire departments become privatized?


Read more



25 of 61 article   Next article
Top of page

 

 

In this Issue

A Passion for Perfection

David Stare, founder of Dry Creek Vineyard, is sitting across from me at his vineyard garden. His demeanor is considerate and responsible, stable and kind. But, if it were not for his passion, this ...

Wine and Weather

There’s no argument that the wine in your glass showcases the skill of the winemaker. Yet it was Mother Nature who engineered the growing season that made it all possible. Rain at the right ti...

Napa vs. Sonoma

Napa and Sonoma counties are remarkably similar on paper. They appear as next-door neighbors sharing a mountain range on the map, and rivers, valleys and fertile agricultural areas define the topogr...

See all...