ADAPT TO ADOPT
U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman offered a bill late last week that aims to square up a federal adoption and foster-care regulatory scheme that is for all intents and purposes nonexistent. Adoption and foster-care services are run through state agencies that are often at odds with one another insofar as tracking foster and adopted kids.
Huffman co-introduced, with fellow Democratic representative Karen Bass, from Los Angeles, the National Adoption and Foster Care Home Study Act that would "improve how adoptions are conducted in the United States, including home study standards through the creation of a national standard and registry," says a press release about the bill. "Home study standards" refers to the process by which officials determine whether a home environment is suitable to a child who might be placed there.
The point of the bill is continuity for children in the foster-care system who find themselves getting bounced from one home to another, and sometimes with extremely terrible outcomes when foster parents are not properly screened.
The bill was inspired by Kate Cleary, executive director of the San Rafael based Consortium for Children, and arrives as the Republican Party is gathering in Cleveland to anoint their Cheeto Jesus martyr and to let the world know that they're not about to give up on the culture war just yet. When it comes to adoption, the Republican platform "supports adoption organizations that refuse to serve gay couples," and goes on to claim that "children raised in a traditional two-parent household are likelier to have healthier outcomes." Adoption advocates point out, conversely, that gay parents often make the best parents.—Tom Gogola
WINES OF THE TIMES
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors met on July 12 for a four-hour study session dedicated to the ever-growing wine industry. The chamber was jammed packed for a presentation from the Permit and Resource Management Department (PMRD) about how the wine industry is currently organized, what must change and some options for bringing about that change. Richard Kagel of the Dry Creek Valley Association called on those who are issuing permits to "go to the sites and be there in person," instead of looking at maps and statistics when making decisions about proposed events at Sonoma County wineries.
Kathy Pons of the Valley of the Moon Alliance pointed out that the wine industry has been growing for years and this was the first meeting to address issues associated with what she sees as rampant growth. She advocated for more parking accommodations, as well as pedestrian sidewalks along heavily trafficked wine country roads such as Highway 12.
Local organizations projected a general consensus: more regulations for wineries, an emphasis on traffic and noise level abatement, and clear guidelines for wineries that are seeking permits for events.
Vikki Farrow, owner of the small-scale Amista Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, suggested that area wineries do a better job of self-policing and interacting with their neighbors, rather than blowing out small infractions into a general indictment of the wine industry.
The meeting was held in advance of anticipated regulations in the works for early next year.