Council, Supervisor races in Sonoma

September 7, 2008 2:06:07 PM PDT
There are contested council seats in eight of Sonoma County's nine cities and contests for three of five seats on the county's Board of Supervisors on the November ballot.

More than 200 people are on the ballot for council, school board, fire and hospital boards in the county. Voters will also decide eight local measures.

Ecologist and educator Will Pier is challenging incumbent Supervisor Valerie Brown for the 1st District supervisor's seat.

Former Santa Rosa Councilmember and Mayor Sharon Wright, currently a planning commissioner, is running against Shirlee Zane, CEO of the Council on Aging, for the 3rd District seat held by Tim Smith who is retiring after more than 20 years on the board.

In the 5th District, consumer financial educator Efren Carrillo is running against Planning Commissioner Rue Furch. The west county seat is now held by Mike Reilly. All six candidates placed one and two in their districts in the June primary election prompting the runoff election in November.

The hot issue in the supervisors' races is the county's intention to have retired county employees and certain current management employees not in unions contribute a larger contribution toward their health care benefits.

County administrators say there is an annual $15 million deficit in the cost of funding the health care premiums and that it could grow to $414 million during that next 30 years.

County officials pay 85 percent of the premiums on a pay-as-you-go basis and have instead proposed giving retired employees $500 a month with exceptions for hardship cases. That program will be phased in over the next five years.

Other union employees also face paying larger health care contributions. Members of the Service Employees International Union have been working without a contract since June 30. The union is backing pro-labor supervisor candidates Furch and Zane.

In Santa Rosa, 11 candidates are running for four, four-year seats and four are running to fill the two years remaining of the late Mayor Bob Blanchard's term.

Candidates for the four-year seats are Santa Rosa police Lt. Ernesto Olivares; appointed Councilwoman and legal secretary Carol Dean; Mayor and Councilman John Sawyer; neighborhood advocate and certified public accountant Gary Wysocky; former Councilwoman Marsha Vas Dupre, a Santa Rosa Junior College trustee; certified public accountant Bobbi Kathleen Hoff;

Councilman Lee Pierce; mediator and aide to state Sen. Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa; Michael Allen; winery supplies salesman Hans Dippel; Don Taylor, owner of the Omelette Express restaurant; and businessman Eddie Alvarez.

Candidates for the two-year seat are Councilwoman Jane Bender, Roseland School Board member David Rosas, neighborhood advocate Judy Kennedy and accountant Lawrence Weisner.

In Cloverdale, incumbent Augustine Gus Wolter faces a challenge from former councilwoman and business owner Mary Ann Brigham and retired business executive Luciano Toninato. Mayor and Councilmember Jessalee Raymond is running unopposed for a two-year seat on the council.

Six candidates are running for three seats on the Cotati City Council. The candidates are Incumbent Janet Orchard; Planning Commissioner Mike Kurvers; electrical contractor George Barich; information technology manager Susan Harvey; Sonoma State University professor Robert Coleman and Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District trustee Eric Kirchmann.

Two incumbents, Mike McGuire and Gary W. Plass, are among four candidates running for three seats on the Healdsburg City Council. The other candidates are CEO Tom Chambers and retired businessman Tony Pastene.

Two incumbents and two former Petaluma City Council members are among six candidates running for three seats on the Petaluma City Council.

The incumbents are teacher Karen Nau and businesswoman Samantha Freitas. The former councilmembers are Mike Healy and municipal securities principal and former radio talk show host David Glass. Tiffany Renee, a local business owner and Planning Commissioner Spence Burton also running for election.

Rohnert Park City Councilmembers Vicki Vidak-Martinez, Tim Smith and Jake Mackenzie are running for re-election. The other candidates for the three available seats are small business owner Gina Belforte, businessman and Planning Commissioner Joseph Callinan, businesswoman Dawna Gallagher and attorney John Borba.

Two seats are available on the Sebastopol City Council. The candidates are appointed incumbent Jennifer Gail Thille, civil attorney Guy Wilson, community volunteer Kathleen Shaffer and consultant and artist Colleen Fernald.


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