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ELECTION 2014: Influence Voters with YOUR Opinions


ELECTION 2014: Influence Voters
with YOUR Opinions

Right up until voters go to the polls - we'll take your opinions and let other readers know what you think....


 Gurney, Glass, and Slayter for Sebastopol City Council

I endorse and have contributed to the campaigns of incumbents Sarah Gurney, Una Glass, and Patrick Slayter to continue their effective service to our larger community as members of the Sebastopol City Council. Especially at this unpredictable time in history, we need the continuity they offer, as well as the diversity of their experiences and perspectives. These three have served Sebastopol, the center of West County, well and deserve the opportunity to continue serving this region with the other two worthy City Council members who will remain—Mayor Robert Jacob and John Eder. 

During my 24 years living and farming in the Sebastopol countryside and attending many City Council meetings, this has been the most effective and progressive City Council. They deserve the chance to continue their good work on behalf of our larger community and the opportunity to implement the programs on which they have been working. Change usually takes time.

Gurney, Glass, and Slayter work well together as a team, which is what we need at this time of economic and political uncertainty. As an activist opposed to CVS’s proposed downtown store, which Slayter supported, I disagree with him on this matter. However, I have come to respect him. Slayter has proven himself to be a collegial collaborator willing to seek consensus. Slayter effectively represents an important constituency in Sebastopol and West County. He has proven himself to be able the represent Sebastopol as a whole. It is my opinion that once elected by a democratic process, one needs to represent the entire town and its surroundings, not just those who voted for the candidate. Slayter cares for Sebastopol and effectively represents our town as a whole. As the current vice-mayor, I hope that he will be our next mayor and that the politically experienced Glass may be given the opportunity to bring her substantial experiences and credentials as an environmentalist to the role of vice-mayor.

I have also worked with their challenger, my friend Jonathan Greenberg. I support many of his good ideas, for example on expanding library hours and working to keep the hospital open. He is an excellent writer and, as he describes himself, an “effective whistleblower.” I think that Greenberg can be more effective by questioning the City Council than by stepping into such a governing position. 

I wish, instead, that Jonathan had run for the Palm Drive Healthcare District Board, which could have provided him direct experience inside a governing body about both their possibilities and limitations. A common way of getting such experience is to start by running for such an office or being appointed to the Planning Commission or the Design Review Board. Perhaps after living here for a while longer and making more of a transition from a big city to a small town and serving in some public role, Greenberg might make a better candidate for an elected position.

There is a big difference between criticizing ideas, which I support doing, and attacking people. I teach my college students not to attack individuals, which is described as the ad hominen fallacy. It would be helpful to elevate political discourse to a higher level, especially in small towns where we need to build community among people who have political and other differences in order to deal with crises that may come our way.

I also support Jordan Burns, who is running for the Santa Rosa Junior College Board of Trustees. At 30-years-old--from the same decade as Robert Jacob when he got elected to the City Council--Burns impresses me as someone to replace the man closer to my 70 years, who has been on that Board for 29 years. 

We need some new blood closer to the age of the majority of the JC students. He frequents West County gatherings, at the Grange, for example, and could be a rising figure in Sonoma County politics.

Shepherd Bliss, Sebastopol


Ballot Statement

(Dale K. Mensing for Congress House of Representatives, 2nd District)      

I was in the Navy’s Hospital Corps and I was Postmaster of Laytonville.  I am a working man.

 I will work to achieve the repealing of the Affordable Care Act which is a systematic attack on our freedoms of religion, privacy, and self-determination.  I will work to formulate a plan that puts the patient first--the whole patient, including their religious faith. The facilitator between the patient and the care giver should not be a 20,000 page dominator.

I strongly defend your right to keep and bear arms, which represents the fact that the government works for you, not you for the government.  Law abiding citizens should not be disarmed.

I will work to begin a diminishing of government facilitation of fossil fuels. I will work to initiate the use of pollution free ocean wave energy, which needs to be employed on a grand scale for our various energy needs, such as transportation and desalinization of ocean water.  America and the Second District need this salt free water to reduce the exploitation of our rivers and streams.  The restless genius of the American people will make it work!

I will seek more block grant funding to solve congestion on Hwy 101 Petaluma.  I oppose high density housing along Smart Train.  I will work to see that our natural heritage and Native American concerns are paramount in Willits Bypass considerations. I will work to prevent Common Core’s One World Order education concepts from dominating our area’s famed independent way of thinking.

Dale K. Mensing for Congress


Letter to the Editor:

These are the best of times and the worst of times. People who once were cordial are now downright hateful. The Election Season seems to bring out the best and the worst in people. Fortunately in America, we have the opportunity to provide input in a private manner by voting for those we want to serve us. Some would say, “Let’s just keep the system locked up by simply appointing people.” How democratic is that? The public deserves to be able to hear what their constituents think by asking questions and hearing the responses often provided by trusted groups such as The League of Women Voters. Does it mean that the incumbents may no longer enjoy their health and dental benefits nor their prestigious parking place and travel stipends? Let’s be mature. For Santa Rosa City Council, I recommend Byrd, Coursey and Pierce. For Santa Rosa City Schools, I recommend Kristof and Medina. For Santa Rosa Jr. College Board of Trustees, I recommend Battenfeld for the Santa Rosa Area, Burns for West County, and Fishman for South County. For 4th District Supervisor, Deb Fudge.  

Thank You,

Marsha Vas Dupre, Ph.D.
Former Santa Rosa City Council Vice Mayor, SRJC Trustee


What a Difference Your 2 Cents Can Make!

Not everyone wants your two cents worth, but your libraries welcome it. That’s about what it would cost you a day to reopen your county libraries on Mondays, evenings, and weekends. But that’s not all. In addition to restoring library hours, your two cents will also enhance educational classes and services for children, help serve the underserved residents in our county, improve the book collection, provide access to computers and computer classes, and allow some much-needed maintenance to our library buildings countywide. 

Our libraries are valuable service agencies that bring tremendous value to our residents. Libraries and library staff foster a love of reading in children and adults alike. They offer educational and recreational opportunities for children. Libraries can help get children excited about such things as science, technology, engineering and math, and this can lead to confidence, better grades in school, admission into college, and better job opportunities after graduation. Libraries really are partners in education.

Our libraries are also facing some challenges. When our county library system came of age in the ‘70s, it was a different time. We had fewer libraries throughout the county, and libraries served a more singular purpose back then. Libraries housed the books. Today our libraries offer print books, eBooks, large print books, books on CD, downloadable audiobooks, and online magazines. Each day library staff help people find jobs and pay bills online. Our libraries have high-speed wireless access for those who want to use their laptops or tablets to access eBooks and online resources such as ReferenceUSA that can help small business locate clients. Our libraries offer classes and events and book groups for adults and children to bring people together to learn and have fun.

So while the role of libraries has expanded in the last forty years, their funding has not. And that brings us back to your two cents. In November, residents will have an opportunity to vote on Measure M, a 1/8-cent sales tax measure that will generate about 8 to 10 million dollars in additional revenue for our libraries each year. If you are like me, and spend about $20 a day on local, taxable goods and services, Measure M will cost you about two cents a day. Those two cents will prevent additional cuts in library hours, collections, and services.

With your two cents we can reopen our libraries on Mondays, evenings, and weekends; create young readers; provide learning opportunities for adults; provide books, information, and technology that stimulate the imagination; and maintain our buildings and plan ahead for needed renovations and service improvements. 

I’ve been a library user my whole life. I didn’t have the money to buy books growing up, but I was always reading, exploring, and learning thanks to my local library. And now I have a one-year-old son, and he’s had a library card for most of his new life. He attends story times throughout the county. He’s probably a lot like the 62,000 other children in the county who attend story times, events, and educational classes each year. He has library books scattered about the house. This past Tuesday we had tacos because he borrowed a music CD from the library with a song “Tuesday Is Taco Day!” My kid is priceless. Our libraries are treasures. That’s my two cents.

Brett Lear, Santa Rosa


West County School Board Candidates

The children and parents in West Sonoma County deserve the very best.  That’s why I am urging all West County residents to vote for three of the candidates running for West Sonoma County Union High School District Board of Trustees.  It matters who is elected!  I have known all four candidates for over a decade.  There are three who are qualified as responsible, thoughtful people, considered of sound mind, and who are highly respected by their colleagues.  These three have no “axes to grind” but offer the very best in clear thinking and decision making skills needed as school board trustees.  These three are well respected by parents, administrators, certificated and classified employees of the school district.  These three are also respected and work cooperatively with the local businesses and police department. These three bright and conscientious candidates will continue to provide the kind of leadership that distinguishes this high school district in Sonoma County.  After working in this district for over 37 years, I know intimately what kind of people best serve our students.  Three of those people are currently candidates.  They are deserving of your support and vote on November 4th :: Kellie Noe, Lori Bruhner,  David Stecher

Sandy Reynolds, retired teacher and counselor, Laguna High School


It has been my honor over the past eight years to serve the students, parents, teachers and voters of the West Sonoma County Union High School District as a Board Trustee. Our collective accomplishments are many, and there is still much work to do. We’ve built solar projects, saving the district money while showing real leadership in protecting the environment; we continue to weather the storm of the national economic recession and declining enrollment while still offering a wide variety of art and music, enrichment, and sports activities; and our students and high quality education are always our focus.

There are few things that I’ve experienced in my life that have been as gratifying as handing out diplomas to graduating high school seniors. The inspiration and enthusiasm felt by participating in this ceremony every year makes me proud to say I am a Trustee. My passion for education policy extends beyond the Board into my career where I have the pleasure of overseeing Cradle to Carreer Sonoma County (C2C), a collaborative partnership sponsored by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services. Our driving goal at C2C is to assure every student in Sonoma County has equal access to the quality education opportunities they need to be successful and prepared for college and a career.  

I am seeking a 3rd term on the School Board, and I am also supporting two other people who will be excellent additions to our district as Trustees- Lori Bruhner and David Stecher. I have served with David Stecher on the WSCUHSD Board and feel absolutely confident in his ability to keep the needs of the students and parents first and foremost. Lori Bruhner has served the District as an employee and now wants to bring this knowledge along with the experience of having two children whom recently graduated from our high school to the Board. I am confident she will put in the time and energy to perform the duties of a Trustee.

I humbly ask for your support for re-election, and I hope you’ll join me in voting for David Stecher and Lori Bruhner on November 4th.

Kellie Noe

Incumbent, and Candidate for West Sonoma County Union High School District Board of Trustees