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Stories from Pete Golis

It is forgotten now, but it wasn’t so many years ago that California was tens of billion of dollars past broke. Critics said the largest state in the union had become ungovernable, consumed by special interest politics and a lack of common sense when it came to managing its finances.
For years, Sonoma County residents worried about what would happen when the next major earthquake struck, only to become victims of the most destructive wildfires in state history.
This Christmas, we wish for the gifts of love, understanding and support for the people who lost their homes. We also wish we could do more for them, and we promise to try.
At a town hall meeting convened while the October fires were still burning, Mayor Chris Coursey urged Santa Rosans “to acknowledge to ourselves and to each other that we’ve been through a trauma in the last couple of days.”
A friend who works in the nonprofit world talks about the ferocity of the response that came after the October fires. Again and again, we saw humankind at its best.
Can the Santa Rosa City Council and five supervisors change the culture and overcome the inertia that has defined the politics of housing in Sonoma County? Should the county remain the same or get smaller? In the coming months and years, we will find out.
Crying at fire trucks is not something we usually do, but you know how it is. These brave man and women came from far and wide for one reason and one reason only — to help us survive.
I stopped counting at 20 — which is the approximate number of friends whose homes were destroyed by fire before dawn on Monday. Call it a nightmare in slow motion — one friend and then another and another.
There is no rush of immigrants from Mexico into the United States. More people are leaving the U.S. and returning to Mexico. The Pew Research Center reported in March that the number of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. has declined by more than a million people since 2007.
Poor Ted Cruz. The Texas senator built a political career telling Americans that government can’t be trusted. He even voted against federal disaster relief for New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.