Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Sonoma County" ...

  • North Bay Bohemian: Sonoma Trifecta

    The three interlocking stories uncovered a real estate investor-banking-media network that illuminates the shape of Sonoma County’s “shadow” government. A development partnership angling for a county contract includes a county official who partners with a banker who flaunts ethics regulations in a fire disaster rebuild area. An owner of a major local newspaper is a board member of the bank which receives favorable press coverage in the newspaper for its fire deals that do not disclose the ownership connection. Another owner of the newspaper, a real estate investor and political consultant, is found to have defrauded a local Indian tribe in a real estate deal and in cahoots with the son of a U.S. Senator. As we go to press, the newspaper fails to report on the fraud when confronted with the relevant court documents, publishing only a 900 word story on a “dispute” that our 3,500 story unveils as fraud and breach of contract. The need for surviving alt-weeklies to keep publishing hard-hitting LOCAL investigative journalism is reaffirmed.
  • The Shame of Sonoma County: Supervisors Refuse to Restore Library Funding

    For a period of three months in 2015, I investigated and authored a three part investigative series of articles about the cutback of Monday library hours in Sonoma County. The stories, published on the Sonoma Independent.org and read by thousands of concerned citizens, shed entirely new light on the budget priorities of the County during the four years since the County’s woefully underfunded library system closed its doors on Mondays for the first time in a century.
  • Global shift: The flight of jobs

    This four-day series examines the impact upon Sonoma County from the "offshoring" of thousands of high-tech, high-income jobs over the past four years. Hundreds of interviews and data analysis revealed the impact upon individuals who lost their jobs, the county's falling wage base, the working conditions and wages overseas, and the tax benefits U.S. companies reap from moving operations to other countries.
  • Housing Code Violations Fall Through the Cracks

    Spencer Soper and Santa Rosa's Press Democrat investigate how landlords in Sonoma County exploited a weak and understaffed county code enforcement division. Landlords let their rental properties fall into disrepair, endangered the lives of tenants, and piled up numerous violations with no serious legal repercussions.
  • Hidden Horrors: California Dairy Workers Face Danger and Abuse

    Workers in California's dairy industry generally live and work in the same place, and therefore do not speak out about poor working conditions for fear of losing their homes and/or their jobs. Rose Arrieta finds that in 2001, Cal OSHA investigated the state's dairies following the deaths of two workers. Fines were handed down, but there have been no inspections since then. Arrieta discovers that these workers are "modern-day slaves." Workers who aren't working at a "satisfactory" pace are beaten, those with injuries are told to work or they won't get paid, and some are threatened by their employers if the worker complains to legal authorities about inadequate pay.
  • The 10 Most Powerful People in Sonoma County

    Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press-Democrat profiles the 10 most powerful people in Sonoma County, as chosen by the influential people themselves; allows these powerful people to be quoted without their names being used; finds those people considered most powerful include a newspaper columnist, a financier, and the city manager.