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News Blast

By P. Joseph Potocki

Free choice in hard times

Five hundred business organizations adamantly oppose its passage, bailed-out banks wage war against it and Home Depot cofounder Bernie Marcus calls it "the demise of a civilization." What on earth strikes such fear in the gilded hearts of so many wealthy people? Labor Unions and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), that's what.

Simply put, the act makes it easier for workers to organize. But EFCA, too, has its own list of backers. "The Change We Need" EFCA public forum, on tap for Saturday, April 18, at SRJC's Newman Hall, brings its supporters out in force. Panelists include U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, State Sen. Pat Wiggins, State Assemblyman Jared Huffman and Sonoma County Supervisors Shirlee Zane and Effren Carillo. Sponsors include the Living Wage Coalition and North Bay Labor Council, along with SEIU 1021, Sonoma County Conservation Action and the Sonoma County Democratic Party. 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. Noon. Free. 707.478.9663.

Service slashing

It's no surprise that Sonoma County tax revenues are plummeting. And with its $21.4 million shortfall still growing, the county's board of supervisors is asking you to tell them what to cut from this year's budget. A series of "vital" budget cut workshops will be held in five different communities on consecutive Thursday evenings starting April 9. Each session runs from 6pm to 8pm. The first workshop is slated for the Guerneville Veterans Hall. County supes promise "true, two-way communication," and encourage all to attend and participate. First up—slashing programs and services. Family, Youth and Child Services, the Sheriff's Department, Capital Projects and Adult and Aging Services are all on the chopping block. "Public input is vital during these tough economic times," says board chair Paul Kelley. To learn more, go to or call 707.565.2188.

Soles for planet earth

Last year's Great Shoe-In collected nearly 2,500 pairs of "gently worn" athletic shoes for distribution to local shelters and social agencies. The remainder went to Third World inhabitants or were ground up and transformed into playground surfaces.

This year more than 20 schools are on-board as collection stations, as are select local retailers throughout Santa Rosa and other North Sonoma County locations. Great Shoe-In organizer Corky Cramer says this year's goal is to gather 5,000 pairs of athletic shoes and "to expand throughout the entire county, if not the entire North Bay, next year." For drop-off locations, call 707.318.1226, or email [ mailto:[email protected] ][email protected].

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