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Our County by Efren Carrillo


Our County by Efren Carrillo - May 2016

by Efren Carrillo

The upcoming June election to decide who will fill my shoes on the Board of Supervisors offers a clear choice for the Fifth District. There are five candidates running for this seat, and the successful candidate will impact the balance and future decisions made by the Board of Supervisors. 

The two leading candidates in this race offer a sharp contrast and clear choice. 

One has lived in Sonoma County for 34 years, never choosing to reside west of Highway 101 until she moved into the District to run for my seat a few months ago. She is a career politician who did not represent us well when she served us in the Senate for 4 years. I will be blunt. When our office needed advocacy for individuals or businesses with state agencies during her time in office, our attempts to seek help were met with referrals and little else. We turned to our Assembly office for the help that we needed. There could be no bigger contrast than to compare those years with the excellent service and responsiveness delivered today by Senator McGuire and his team.

Do we want to elect someone to this office who actively encouraged Sonoma County employees to strike against the county during contract negotiations? I think that alone disqualifies her from seeking this post, which requires a primary duty to the taxpayers of this county.

The sprawling Fifth District stretches from Moorland and Roseland in Southwest Santa Rosa to the coast from Valley Ford to the Sea Ranch. The very size of the district requires someone with energy, intellect, and - most of all - commitment to spend the time necessary to know the people in each of the many small villages and communities that comprise our mostly rural district. 

Lynda Hopkins moved to West County to start a small business and raise her family after graduating from Stanford with a master’s degree in Land Use Policy. She and Emmett – a 3rd generation Russian River farmer with a Stanford degree in urban planning – chose to toil in their organic food farm and raise their kids in the field for the past nine years. They chose to buy their first home in Forestville a few miles from the family farm along the Russian River. Lynda has held leadership posts at Sonoma County Farm Trails and Food to Pantry, and covered local government for Sonoma West publishers. 

Lynda became involved in politics as a citizen activist working with others to find a consensus solution for the community during the Lytton tribal negotiations. She has shown herself to be smart, committed, and hard working. That is what this job takes. The Fifth District is a community of many needs. We have pockets of poverty throughout the District. Our coastline is in need of ongoing and continuing protection from development interests. Lynda’s background in coastal land use and land use policy will benefit our district as the Board makes these crucial decisions.

Lynda’s priorities are those of our district. Better roads – better education for our youngest children – creating more housing – a healthy economy which also protects our environment – bringing the Russian River back to health - she has innovative ideas and creative solutions. 

Lynda spent her birthday weekend conducting a Russian River cleanup with Chris Brokate and the Clean River Alliance. Her celebration exemplified her strong work ethic.

This election could not be more important. A vote for Lynda Hopkins is a vote for a healthy, well balanced, and productive Board of Supervisors. Lynda Hopkins has my vote.

Measure AA, on the June ballot in all nine Bay Area counties, is a $12 parcel tax dedicated to protecting and restoring San Francisco Bay. It will create a stable revenue source for reducing trash and pollution, enhancing wetlands and wildlife habitat, increasing public access and recreational areas, and protecting communities from flooding. The tax will raise $25 million annually for 20 years and is expected to leverage significant additional state and federal resources for wetland enhancement and water quality improvement.

San Francisco Bay is a national treasure: It’s the largest estuary on the West Coast, home to 500 species of wildlife including millions of migratory birds, and an economic engine directly generating millions of dollars and jobs in the tourism, shipping and fishing industries. Originally home to more than 200,000 acres of tidal wetlands, they Bay only has about 45,000 acres of healthy wetlands today. 15,000 acres have been restored and 35,000 acres acquired for the purpose of restoration.

Because of climate change, the work needs to be done soon, which means the measure is urgent. Experts believe that to protect the health of the Bay as it faces sea level rise, 50,000 acres of wetlands must be restored in the next 15 years. The local revenue raised by this ballot measure is expected to leverage additional state and federal resources, and hopefully attract additional private resources to speed up the progress of restoring the Bay before our tidal wetlands drown. 

For these reasons, please join me in voting for Measure AA.