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District Attorney Warns Against Coronavirus Price Gouging

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County and state officials are preparing for the financial impacts tied to the spread of the Coronavirus. - CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • County and state officials are preparing for the financial impacts tied to the spread of the Coronavirus.

With concern continuing to grow over the possible spread of the Coronavirus, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch reminded local businesses of the state's anti–price gouging law last week.

"California's price gouging law prevents business from wrongfully profiteering on essential goods, supplies and services during an emergency," Ravitch said in a statement. "I urge all businesses operating in and around Sonoma County to understand and comply with the law, and I encourage anyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, to immediately file a complaint."

Penal Code Section 396 defines price gouging as "raising the price of many consumer goods and services by more than 10 percent after an emergency has been declared."

The Sonoma County Department of Health Services and Gov. Gavin Newsom have both declared a state of emergency due to the spread of the virus. Price gouging protection will stay in effect until Sept. 4, 2020 under Newsom's declaration of emergency.

Violators of the price-gouging ordinance could be subject to as much as a year in county jail and a $10,000 fine.

Ravitch's office sent out similar warnings following the October 2017 wildfires. On Dec. 24, 2019 Newsom extended the state of emergency for Sonoma, Napa and several other fire-affected counties until Dec. 31, 2020.

That order covers rental housing, food, medical or emergency supplies and construction materials, among other things.

Residents can file complaints online at the Sonoma County District Attorney's website (sonomacounty.ca.gov/District-Attorney/) or call 707.565.5317.

Climate Activists Organize Community Summit

[UPDATE: The following event was cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19.]

The Sonoma County Climate Activist Network (SoCoCAN) will host an event this Sunday, March 15 that will include numerous local activist groups and nonprofits, and a local elected official.

Speakers will include wildlife biologist and Sonoma County Poet Laureate Maya Khosla, Sonoma State University graduate student Cory O'Gorman and North Bay Organizing Project Environmental Justice Organizer Tayse Crocker, who will share their work on wild lands and waters.

Elizabeth Kaiser, of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, will speak about how using sustainable farming methods can regenerate soils, grow healthy foods and restore balance to local ecosystems.

Members of the youth climate action groups, Sunrise Movement and Schools for Climate Action, will talk about their work—and how older activists can assist them.

Lynda Hopkins—farmer, environmentalist and Sonoma County Supervisor—will speak about the environmental issues facing the county in the coming years and elected officials' role in solving them.

The event will be held on Sunday, March 15 from 1:30–6:00pm at the Odd Fellows Hall at 545 Pacific Ave. in Santa Rosa. The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition will provide free bicycle parking. For more information, contact SonomaCountyCAN@gmail.com or call 707.595.0320.

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