Oct 30, 2018
by Jeniffer Wertz, Russian River Advocates
Sorry for the redundant articles about the Lower Russian River Municipal Advisory Council, or MAC, however I’m still hearing people say “What’s a MAC?” It’s a big deal, and this will be the last article before you start getting your MAC ballots in the mail, which should be arriving shortly after November 7th. If you don’t want to mail in your ballot, or you don’t receive one, there will also be an in-person caucus on Saturday, November 17th, at which full-time residents can alternatively vote for their district reps. in person. Visit this website for additional details - http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Lower-Russian-River-Municipal-Advisory-Council/
One of the problems the Lower Russian River Communities have traditionally faced has been being out-of-sight, out-of-mind from the county government in Santa Rosa. Until recently, the 5th District included the Roseland area of Santa Rosa, which had about 15,000+/- votes. The next largest number of votes within the 5th District is unincorporated Sebastopol, with about 9,000+/- votes. Guerneville is next with about 2,800+/- votes, and all of the other communities within the 5th District are about 1,000+/- votes or less. The only official representation we have had for this huge district is our 5th District Supervisor. One can conclude that having a Supervisor who doesn’t live in the Lower River area may cause them to be more concerned with other areas of the district that have a lot more political influence.
Things are changing - Roseland has now been incorporated into the City of Santa Rosa, giving remaining communities a louder voice. Supervisor Hopkins came along from Forestville, with this idea to empower our communities with more representation. She’s keeping her campaign promises and has formed the first MAC. There will be nine reps. to represent the Lower River Communities from Forestville to Cazadero.
Visit the website for a detailed map http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Lower-Russian-River-Municipal-Advisory-Council/. The first ballots will be mailed out November 7th, and an in-person caucus will be held on November 17th (bring proof of full-time residency to be eligible to vote). On November 21st, the new MAC representatives will be announced.
These people have submitted applications to run:
Forestville: Gary Harris, Lucy Hardcastle, Vesta Copestakes, Iain Burnett, Claudia Sisomphou, Allison Bordessa
Hacienda: Calvin Sandeen, Chelene Lopez
Rio Nido: Pip Marquez, Lewis Lee Brown, John Uniack
Guerneville: Brian Applegarth, Brian Ohm, Deborah Lieberman, Dylan Ohm, Jordan Lebovich, Ron Redmon, Jeniffer Wertz
Pocket Canyon: Angie Dillon-Shore, Bruce MacDonell, Crista Luedtke, Jeanette Dillman, Kim Holliday, Marcy Cooper
Monte Rio: Chuck Ramsey, Cynthia Strecker, Kyra Wink
Cazadero/Duncans Mills: Lisa Palmer, Mike Nicholls, Theresa Gwiazdowski, Tom Walls
In small communities, there are a few people who are willing to volunteer their time for various things, many times resulting in the same people having to wear multiple hats. We have not had “official” representation; therefore we have relied on those willing to try and speak up for us. While it’s difficult in a small town, it’s important to not always have the same people in charge of everything. We need different perspectives. There needs to be “checks and balances” to keep the community healthy.
Out of desperation to some degree, multiple community advocacy groups have been formed over the last few years. The MAC is going to give our communities an “official” voice, allowing our residents to chose who they want to speak up for them. The MAC will serve as a filter for the Board of Supervisors, a more organized and orderly way of interacting with our elected representatives. MAC representatives will be volunteers serving two-year terms. There will be alternates in each district. While the MAC will only have the authority to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, there is a great likelihood the Board of Supervisors will adopt the recommendations of the MAC, as the MAC should be recommending what the communities they serve want.
So, spread the word, and start looking for your ballots in the mail shortly after November 7th. You may even see some familiar names from the Gazette on the ballot! :) Make sure you VOTE!
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