Hopkins, who is running for her second term representing the west county, appeared at the forum without any declared rival. Michael Hilber, a Santa Rosa resident expected to challenge Hopkins on the March ballot wasn’t on the panel.
Hopkins, responding to a question about the county’s housing crisis, said the county’s permitting process too often burdened applicants with delays and uncertainty, hobbling development. She noted her support of a plan for growth in the west county that she said would help streamline approval of development.
(On growing homeless encampment on the Joe Rodota Trail off Highway 12)
Hopkins, who represents the area, said she was frustrated by the swelling camp, saying it reflected “everything that’s wrong with government.”
Zane, who is running for her fourth term, said the Board of Supervisors has molded county government “into a lean and mean organization,” while highlighting her work with board Chairman David Rabbitt to address crumbling roads and escalating pension costs.
“We’re like family,” Zane said during her opening remark, referring to the Board of Supervisors. “We share food, we share laughs, we share in our lives.”
Zane has been endorsed by all of her fellow supervisors and nearly all of the region’s elected federal and state representatives.
Zane, responding to a question about disaster preparedness, acknowledged the county’s failure to issue more widespread alerts to residents during the deadly 2017 wildfires. She was chairwoman of the board when the firestorm hit.
“We were not ready for those wildfires,” she said Wednesday.
She clashed again with Coursey over the growing homeless encampment in southwestern Santa Rosa on the Joe Rodota Trail off Highway 12. The encampment, which now numbers more than 100 people, is on county parkland within city limits, fueling questions about which local government is responsible for dealing with it and the residents.
Gorin, a former Santa Rosa mayor who is vying for her third term representing the city’s eastern flank and Sonoma Valley, indicated she would run on her long experience in local government and familiarity with voters in her district.
“You know me,” Gorin said warmly to open the forum.
She said she hadn’t intended to run for another term before her house in Oakmont, along with more than 5,300 others in the county, burned down in the 2017 fires.
“It’s important for me to run again because I have some significantly incomplete work to do,” Gorin said.
Cook, who owns a vineyard management company, spoke of the ongoing wine grape harvest, and declared himself a friend of the working man while lamenting the local cost of living, saying his employees didn’t earn enough money to fill their gas tanks.
He clarified afterward that he was talking about general compensation for farmworkers, not specifically his. He said he pays employees more than $15.50 per hour, and extra during the harvest.
Though he vowed to make road repair a priority, Cook was the lone candidate at the forum to come out against a proposed extension next year of Measure M, the countywide sales tax that supports highway and road upgrades.
“Enough is enough,” he said.
Coursey, in his speaking time at the forum, criticized the Board of Supervisors for underfunding county reserves, falling behind on pension obligations and failing to achieve many of its lofty promises on housing creation.
He called out the chronic budget woes in the county’s health department, which before last-minute, one-time fixes this year was planning to slash dozens of jobs, most of them vacant, and funding for nonprofit service providers.
“The Board of Supervisors has kicked the problem down the road,” Coursey said. “I would address those problems from Day 1.”
(Homeless issue ) Coursey said the issue needed stronger direction from elected officials to county and city staff members working on homelessness.
“Somebody needs to bash their heads together and get a solution,” he said
Contact: (707) 565-2241 and the fax number is (707) 565-3778.
Board of Supervisors Chambers
575 Administration Drive,
Santa Rosa, California.
Any member of the public desiring to address the Board on a matter on the agenda:
1st District: Susan Gorin | 2nd District: David Rabbitt
3rd District: Shirlee Zane | 4th District: James Gore
5th District: Lynda Hopkins
County Administrator: Sheryl Bratton
County Counsel: Bruce Goldstein
The Board normally holds its regular meetings on Tuesdays, beginning at 8:30 AM. A consent calendar involving routine financial and administrative actions, usually approved by a single majority vote, is normally heard first. A regular calendar with more significant items of special interest follows the consent calendar.
The afternoon calendar begins at 2:00 PM with Public Comment on Issues not on the Agenda where the public can address the Board on any issue that concerns them. That is followed by public hearings related to a variety of issues such as leases, land use decisions, fees, and vacations of roads.
The Board of Supervisors meets in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at 575 Administration Drive, Room 102A, Santa Rosa, California. The phone number is (707) 565-2241 and the fax number is (707) 565-3778.
Any member of the public may address the Board on a matter on the agenda, within time limits at the discretion of the Chair or the Board. Copies of the agenda are available at the Office of the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors (Room 100A), and also at Public Libraries, Chambers of Commerce, and City Halls throughout the County.
Security screening is conducted for all individuals attending Board meetings. Individuals planning to participate in Board meetings are advised to allow extra time to complete the screening process. The full policy can be found at http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Board-of-Supervisors/