A strong, new leader
EDITOR: Logical fallacies often show up in campaign speech, for example, the use of simplistic either-or reasoning and appeals to fear. This kind of communication is not helpful to voters, because it primarily misleads rather than informs.
At the beginning of her race for supervisor, Lynda Hopkins made it clear that she would run a thoughtful and reasoned campaign. She has done just that by focusing time and effort on substantive policy issues. Looking ahead, Hopkins aspires to be a positive and effective supervisor with a collaborative approach that increases the likelihood that problems get solved. This ambition echoes a campaign theme, “Let’s work together.” She will then regularly seek consensus and, sometimes, appropriate compromise.
Being a longtime environmentalist and an organic farmer, Hopkins knows that environmental protection is a critical governmental responsibility. Moreover, she believes that we can safeguard our scenic coast and fertile landscape without choosing to disparage certain community members.
Eschewing any divisiveness, she will endeavor to involve the entire community in the wise defense of our natural heritage. She is a strong, new leader, a leader who can help us move beyond the old paradigms impeding our ability to address important challenges—present and future.
EDITOR: The Sonoma County Employees' Retirement Association invests its funds in a diversified portfolio that includes real estate funds, some of which are not reaching benchmark expectations. While real estate investments add diversity to a portfolio, they don't always rise or fall as a group. Commercial real estate may flag while high-end residential does well.
The Retirement Association has large commercial, large residential and farmland investment among its real estate holdings. We know from the financial crisis that experts may fail to predict future outcomes. I see no reason why investment in local real estate would be riskier than other investments. It also seems reasonable to expect that workforce housing might produce less volatile returns that those of other investments.
Local investments could diversify the retirement portfolio and would not necessarily equate to ‘social investing’ as was implied by a recent local opinion piece.
Noreen Evans includes the recommendation of local investing through the pension fund as part of her multifaceted set of proposals regarding the housing crisis in Sonoma County. It is a sign of how seriously she takes this issue that her proposals are wide-ranging and do not exclude middle-income families and the working poor from her proposals.
EDITOR: For the second time in less than a week, the signs along Cazadero Highway for Lynda Hopkins, have been defaced with red spray paint. This shows me that the Evans camp realizes it is in serious jeopardy of losing the Supervisor race, and feels it must resort to destroying the oppositions' signage.
This political ploy, shows the Trumpian attitude of, “We can’t win legitimately, so we’ll cheat.” Good job Evans… I know we don’t want your kind in our local politics.
EDITOR: Some individuals are attempting to fool people into believing that environmental/land-use battles are mere vestiges of the past. One merely needs to conduct a perfunctory perusal of recent events to discover a radically different scenario. Those who espouse such inanity may not have the best interests of Fifth District voters in mind.
Consider these: Dairyman Winery, Best Family Winery, Coastal waters leases, Occidental Gateway Plan, Spud Point Marina Plan, Gualala River Logging Plan, development of coastal lands.
From a cursory review of this list, it becomes clear that this is no time to place a novice at the helm who is long on platitudinal catch phrases, but short on specifics.
We need a strong advocate with a proven track record who is unafraid to confront powerful interests.
Leadership sometimes involves taking stances on issues long before public and legislative sentiment aligns with one's own. Noreen Evans' 2011 vote favoring overtime for farmworkers is but one example of her political courage.
On Nov. 8, I will be proudly casting my vote for Noreen Evans to become our next Fifth District Supervisor. I strongly urge others who share concerns about the preservation and future well being of our beloved Fifth District to join me.
Thomas David Bonfigli
EDITOR: From what I’ve read, Plaza Hospitality Group and their $40 million proposed upscale hotel on the site of the former Diamond Lumberyard is now approved. This approval would continue the trend of turning Sebastopol into a tourist destination, while eliminating a service business, Sebastopol Tractor, used by many inside and outside the city limits. Like many local residents, I'm a senior citizen in my 70s and not a big spender, though I try to buy local whenever I can. But as I drive Hwy 116 from one end to the other, I see few places I have any reason to do business with. My wife and I do shop regularly at CVS, Lucky's, and Safeway. Several times a year I do business at Sebastopol Tractor, A&M Answering Service, Benedetti Tire, Lazer-Jet Tech, the Post Office and Copperfields, along with monthly visits to Lonnie's Barber Shop. Bank of America keeps my wallet filled at its ATM, but I seldom have reason to go inside. I buy gas at Rotten Robbie, and occasionally purchase items at Sebastopol Hardware. Pretty much all the remaining businesses offer nothing I need or want to buy. We have enjoyed being season subscribers at Main Stage West, and its predecessors since 1994. On the infrequent occasions we eat out, we favor Martha's on Main Street for clothing and pretty much everything else we might buy, we have to go to Santa Rosa. Downtown Sebastopol business, other than banks, is geared to visitors and those who eat out a lot. We could use another motel in town. There were none when I arrived here 23 years ago, and both are more expensive than my distant family members could afford on their middle class income. While visitors should be welcomed, along with their money, I oppose development that heads us towards being Healdsburg South.
EDITOR: I was standing across from Screamin Mimi’s (on the other corner is Lynda Hopkins campaign office) in downtown Sebastopol on Friday afternoon, Sept. 23, waving a Noreen Evans sign when a young man came up to me and asked me why I was supporting Noreen.
I told him some of the reasons; she worked tirelessly to keep our state parks open, successfully fought offshore oil drilling, supports preserving affordable housing through rent control. As a Senator, representing our area, she fought against the nations’ four largest banks to write the Homeowners Bill of Rights. Supported the initiative to ban GMOs in 2005, restored funding for rural school bus service, wrote legislation protecting North Coast crab and salmon fisheries.
He said he was a Lynda Hopkins supporter. I asked him why. He went on to say there was a nasty woman supporting Noreen who was saying very bad things, and that he became a supporter of Lynda’s because of that. He said Lynda was highly educated, a Stanford Graduate, and was an organic farmer.
I asked him what she had done to make a difference in the Fifth District, as she had never help public office, not even on a School Board. We went back and forth defending our candidates for about 15 minutes. As he started to walk away, he identified himself as Lynda’s campaign manager, Herman G. Hernandez.
I felt violated by his underhanded behavior. At no time during the conversation did he say who he was. He is also an elected member of the Sonoma County Board of Education. It is unethical for a campaign operative to engage in a conversation without identifying who he/she is. I don’t understand why he would behave in such an unprofessional manner.
She earned it
EDITOR: Many recent letters have demonized Lynda Hopkins support from the agriculture community. Her opponents are painting her as the pawn of big wine. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
As the former executive director for Sonoma County Farm Trails, Lynda advocated for sustainable practices and community-based agriculture. She ripped chardonnay vines from the ground to plant organic vegetables, a practice that’s becoming less and less common in Sonoma County and reflects her commitment to diversified agriculture. Lynda has made her career practicing what she preaches: no monoculture, no GMOs and no harmful pesticides. Lynda’s forward-thinking leadership is beneficial to farmers, families and the environment. Sonoma farmers didn’t give their support to Lynda. She earned it.
EDITOR: I attended a Fifth District candidate forum in Monte Rio and asked one of the first questions of Candidate Evans why she had attended only one Coastal Conservancy meeting during her four years representing us on that powerful board. She responded that she was so busy representing us in Sacramento. Hmm, I had to wonder why she didn’t let another, more interested politician have that position. Then I went back to the records. Not only did she miss 96 percent of the meetings, which included three phone conference meetings, she also missed meetings held in Sacramento. Finally, when Sonoma County and the Sonoma Land Trust made their record-breaking request for $10 million dollars to permanently protect Preservation Ranch, an incredibly important and large acquisition which protects coastal forestland, where was she? Absent!
I’ve lived in the Fifth District for over 14 years. Our district is very large and widespread, with diverse needs. We need a supervisor with a strong work ethic who is committed to the heavy lifting and long hours required to properly represent our underserved needs. My vote goes to Lynda Hopkins. She will show up