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Hospital Vote Delay
SANTA ROSA Two strikes, and wait until November. Both a Sonoma County judge and a state appeals court have declined to order that the Save Community Hospital initiative be placed on the March primary election ballot, meaning that the measure will not go before local voters until next fall. Backers of the initiative collected more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and their measure was certified Dec. 11 by County Clerk Eeve Lewis, but required action by county supervisors before Dec. 28 to be placed on the March ballot. The supervisors, who have consistently fought the initiative and still hope to have it overruled in court, declined to add it to their Dec. 12 agenda, and did not meet again until Jan. 2. "It's obviously a part of the board's political delay strategy to put us over to November and to lease the hospital to Sutter and make the initiative a more irrelevant matter," fumes Robert Bell, the attorney for the initiative campaign. Bell and the county will lock horns again Jan. 31 over the central issue of the measure's legality.
OCCIDENTAL Four-term Democratic Rep. Doug Bosco will re-enter the political arena as a candidate for the First District state Assembly seat, the same position that launched his political career in 1978. He has been out of office since 1990, when his fourth re-election bid was thwarted by Republican Frank Riggs, with a major assist from Peace and Freedom candidate Darlene Comingore. Bosco bid to recapture his congressional seat in 1994, but got only 39 percent of the Democratic primary vote. He joins a field of five other Democrats and three Republicans seeking the Assembly seat that has been held by Dan Hauser for the past 14 years. Hauser is being forced to retire under the state's term limits law.
Pot Petitions Reinstated
SACRAMENTO The campaign to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana has reversed an earlier setback with a ruling from a Superior Court judge that their petitions to win the issue a place on the state ballot next fall are "in substantial compliance" with state election laws. Petitions carrying some 30,000 signatures had been deemed invalid by the San Francisco Registrar of Voters, owing to technicalities in the way the petitions had been printed. The ruling by Judge James T. Ford orders that those petitions be accepted. New petitions have been printed and are now being circulated, as the campaign tries to get 600,000 valid signatures by the end of April to qualify the Medical Marijuana Initiative for the November election.
Rent Control Ending
COTATI A new state law that took effect on the first of the year spells the effective end of the city's rent control measures, which were enacted by local voters in 1979. The new law allows landlords to boost rents by 15 percent two separate times when a unit is vacated, or as much as 70 percent one time, if they can prove the existing rental rate is below local market rates. Another provision cancels Cotati's rent control rules altogether for any unit vacated after Jan. 1, 1999. The city has about 640 rental units, including 106 mobile homes, to which the new state law does not apply. The turnover rate for rentals in Cotati is roughly 2 percent per year.
SANTA ROSA Shirley Ann Nelson, accused of shooting her ex-husband and then herself at the studio of cartoonist Charles Schulz last July, has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity to the attempted murder charge against her. She will be examined by two court-appointed psychologists before her trial begins Jan. 29.
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From the Jan. 4-10, 1996 issue of The Sonoma County Independent
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