For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
SANTA ROSA, CA – The Sonoma County Democratic Party has endorsed Mayor Susan Gorin, Council Member Veronica Jacobi, and School Board Member Larry Haenel for Santa Rosa City Council in the November 2 election.
“This is a critical election for Santa Rosa,” said Stephen Gale, Chair of the Sonoma County Democratic Party,” In 2008 the citizens of Santa Rosa overwhelmingly chose to seat a City Council committed to continuing the revitalization of the largest city north of the Golden Gate Bridge while also creating good paying jobs. The incumbents recommended for endorsement each voted to approve the final “mid-rise project” required to jump-start downtown Santa Rosa, the Comstock Project, just before the bottom fell out of our economy, rendering development impossible to finance nationwide. It is truly unfortunate that the national economic disaster has dominated all of our lives for most of the last three years, creating a circumstance where the City Council has had to wrestle with ways to keep the city solvent, leaving few opportunities to realize their vision for the future.
“This vote to support our honored Mayor Blanchard’s vision for revitalization of downtown Santa Rosa is important because it shows the support for economic development by members of the City Council. Their actions and leadership before the Bush Recession took away financing for new development become part of the public debate last week. The fact that actual votes taken show strong support for economic development remains unchallenged because the public record is clear.
“As we move out of extended recession into a more stable economic future, the city needs the continued service of forward-looking leaders who will chart a responsible course by encouraging sustainable community development and attracting new businesses. Councilmember Jacobi, School Board member Haenel and Mayor Gorin can be counted on to attract new business, improve transportation and city infrastructure, and provide safe affordable water, while protecting the environment and open space areas so critical to maintaining our quality of life.”
A slate of three candidates, managed by lobbyist Herb Williams, opened this election with a direct personal attack on the incumbents running for re-election rather than a focus on the critical issues facing Santa Rosa. That campaign strategy has been played out by orchestrating similar personal attacks by the Santa Rosa Police Officers’ Association that took the form of a letter slandering the good name of two of the sitting city council members. Their letter appeared as the centerpiece of the Herb Williams slate in their deceptive mailing titled “Santa Rosa Update” that bore a logo strikingly similar to the logo of the City of Santa Rosa, which made it appear as an official communiqué.
The local Democratic Party is taking the unusual step of issuing this press release to respond directly to the personal attacks made by the Police Officer’s Association and repeated multiple times in The Press Democrat.
Councilmember Jacobi has been viciously attacked and slandered by the Police Officer’s Association for three primary reasons that have nothing to do with the glib “one liner” in their recent letter.
· Jacobi is the only candidate who has called for an absolute cap on city employee pensions.
· Jacobi voted with Councilmember Wysocky against the latest contract extension because it did not go far enough to help balance the budget.
· Jacobi is opposed to the practice of the city paying the 9% employee contribution to employee pension accounts.
Jacobi is on the cops “hit list” because she does not agree with the generous terms of the contract negotiated by a former city council dominated by a slate run by lobbyist Herb Williams. The POA only wants to negotiate its future pensions with the Herb Williams slate for reasons that are all too obvious.
Voters of Santa Rosa should be aware that Jacobi knows it is fundamentally wrong for taxpayers to pay a $9,000 “employee contribution” for a cop making $100,000 a year. She knows that the taxpayers are harmed a second time when that officer retires because their lifetime pension benefit will be based on $109,000 dollars, not on their actual salary.
Councilmember Jacobi is on the cops “hit list” because she stands for fiscal responsibility. Her willingness to confront powerful forces to do what is right for the hard-working taxpayers she represents is a strong reason to return Jacobi to the city council.
School Board member Haenel is a fresh and independent voice in Santa Rosa politics. He was not “recruited” to run by anyone. In fact, he surprised everyone in political circles with his announcement to run for city council. That independence alone is a substantial reason to vote for Haenel.
As a member of the Santa Rosa School Board, Haenel has the difficult task of finding the cost solutions to balance the budget. His priority is always the classroom. Haenel’s record demonstrates that he cares about families and neighborhoods. As a retired teacher with a family, he knows what it means to struggle to make ends meet. Haenel has the unique ability to listen in order to find creative solutions to difficult problems and the strength to act when difficult choices need to be made.
School Board Member Haenel brings the kind of fresh and open thinking that we need in Santa Rosa. He has the experience to make difficult decisions and the vision to serve on a city council that will build a bright future as we come out of these challenging economic times.
Mayor Gorin’s job has been as difficult as putting gloves on an octopus. Yet, Gorin has shown the leadership and strength to secure unanimous votes on such difficult and important issues as a balanced budget, selecting a new City Manager and placing both a sales tax and the renewal of the Urban Growth Boundary on the ballot. Mayor Gorin has shown leadership, wisdom and the patience of the Biblical Job.
Mayor Gorin is a consensus-builder, not a divisive voice, on the city council. That is the type of leadership we need today more than ever.
With these three endorsed candidates serving Santa Rosa, the city council will be fiscally responsible by reigning in runaway pensions for cops while keeping other city employees fairly compensated. We can expect continued support for “Main Street” business and close scrutiny of the “big box” stores that force local businesses to close while creating minimum-wage jobs without benefits. We can expect continued growth in tourism. We can count on the interests of people living in our neighborhoods to be protected.
For a complete list of 2010 candidates and ballot measures endorsed by the Sonoma County Democratic Party, visit www.sonomademocrats.org
The Sonoma County Democratic Party is an independent local party organized under the bylaws of the California Democratic Party. For more information on the Sonoma County Democratic Party visit www.sonomademocrats.org.
Stephen Gale, Chair
Sonoma County Democratic Party