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Keith Rhinehart for Sonoma County First District Supervisor

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Keith Rhinehart for Sonoma County First District Supervisor

I have asked all supervisor candidates to submit an essay on who they are, why they are running for office, and what they hope to accomplish as supervisor. Here is Keith Rhinehart's essay, which came in after we went to press with the June editon, so is only here on our website. Thank you for reading ALL of the supervisor candidate essays so you know WHO you are voting for. ~ Vesta

Keith Rhinehart for Sonoma County First District Supervisor

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Keith Rhine hart, and I am running for 1st District supervisor here in Sonoma County. We live in a uniquely beautiful place, and it is all of our responsibilities to protect the natural beauty of our home. At the same time, like any other Community, we need education, employment, opportunity for individuals and partnerships, infrastructure to carry us through our daily tasks and other various services for ourselves and our families. All of these must be balanced by our responsibility to protect the beauty that we have come to know as Sonoma County.

My legacy in environmental stewardship was begun by my father, Chuck Rhinehart, who was a founding member of C.O.A.A.S.T., along with Dr. William Kortum of Petaluma. Early on in our residency on Los Alamos Road, where our family has owned property for over 50 years, he learned that the forested beauty of Los Alamos Canyon was being threatened directly by the development of the Oakmont subdivision. PG&E was planning to power Oakmont directly from the Geysers with a series of unsightly towers, stretching across the canyon that was our front yard to floor of the Valley of the Moon. Thinking this was unacceptable to the beauty of the canyon and valley, he helped form a group called the Valley of the moon Homeowners Association to try to prevent the ugly towers from destroying the pristine mountain landscape.

Sadly, this effort eventually folded under the extreme power of the utility and the Oakmont developers, and the resulting blight is there for all of us and our visitors, to witness. I would like to say this would never happen again, but just look at what happened to the Montecito forest a generation ago. There is no more Montecito forest, and the ridgelines are populated with gigantic, “unaffordable” mansions at the cost of our natural beauty. We must remain vigilant with regard to our environment; we can never afford to let our guard down.

Citizens Organized to Acquire Access to State Tidelands, or C.O.A.A.S.T.,  was the forerunner of both the state the Coastal Commission and Sonoma County Conservation Action. At the time, in the 1970s, there was only the Sierra Club to defend residents against unwanted subdivision sprawl and commercial development at the cost of our open space. There were no Community Separators; there was no comprehensive General Plan. All of these came about because people organized against the status quo (unfettered development), and successfully beat back the developers. Construction was the primary business in Sonoma County at the time, not Agriculture or Tourism; it was Construction with a capital “C.” 

COAAST successfully fought to require the developers of The Sea Ranch “second home paradise” to install access paths to the coast therein, so residents and visitors could walk to the beaches, as was their right according to California law.  

Today, we see the wineries populating the remaining open space in areas of the 1st and 4th Districts, in the Dry Creek and Alexander valleys, and the Valley of the Moon. The Valley of the Moon Alliance (a current conservation group based in the Kenwood area), calls it, “marching down the Valley,” an apt description. Behind them are breweries, distilleries, and commercial pot grows, all of them shoveling cash into my opponents campaigns for their ear or their vote.

• I will serve the residents, not the special interests on either side. I owe no debt of favor or endorsement to anyone, unlike my opponents.

• When you support me, I will work hard for all our residents to:

• Correct the Pension Rip-off,

• Protect the Environment and Property Owners Rights,

• Oversee the closure of Sonoma Developmental Center with the greatest of care and compassion,

• Pursue transparency and Pay Equity to non-union women employees.

Please vote Rhinehart 1st for Supervisor of the first district. Thank you.