Progressive Sebastopol Voter Guide June 2016
Founded to create voter guides during the 2010 election, Progressive Sebastopol is a small independent group of citizens, seniors, parents and young voters. We are dedicated to responsive, transparent local government, a sustainable green future, attainably priced housing and innovative policies and solutions that serve the public interest. More about us and a downloadable pdf version of this guide for sharing can be found at ProgressiveSebastopol.com.
County Supervisor 5th District Lynda Hopkins
This is one of the most difficult endorsements that Progressive Sebastopol has ever made. Five excellent candidates, all of them bright, well meaning, and honest, are competing to be our next Supervisor. In the interest of transparency, you can easily view their answers to 12 questions that we asked four of them at http://videodebate.sonomaindependent.org/.
Unreported good news for our County is that unlike Efren, ALL of the candidates we interviewed (Evans, Hopkins, Chase and Sergent) endorse vital environmental issues that we care about: a County ban on GMO’s, and end to the County’s use of toxic Roundup, and a “no” to water fluoridation.
Addressing the County’s Housing Crisis: For tens of thousands of citizens being evicted from their homes or worried about rising costs, the shortage of attainably priced housing has become a crisis in Sonoma County. Every political candidate and elected representative speaks of the need to address our housing crisis, but nobody in County or local government has developed a plan capable of adding more attainably priced housing units than are being lost due to a rising market.
Progressive Sebastopol is part of the grassroots Sonoma County Attainable Housing Coalition, which recently launched a detailed proposal to help solve this crisis (see SonomaIndependent.org). Our solution calls for out-of-the-box thinking: that our Supervisors rezone a tiny portion of agricultural land so that the non-wealthy can continue to live in Sonoma County. We propose a reduction of permit fees on granny units, and a rezoning of agricultural areas that would increase population density by 1% during the next 15 years. These private lands, and 5% of community separator land, would be rezoned ONLY to allow the free market to create 10,000 modest Community Land Trust-owned homes (cost controlled at under $200,000), as well as 15,000 granny units (rent controlled under $900 per month). This common sense rethink our zoning solution would provide at least 50 times the number of attainably priced homes as anything the County is now considering. We believe that Lynda Hopkins is the candidate most likely to act effectively for new solutions.
We share a concern about Hopkins’ donors from the construction and wine industries. Hopkins replied convincingly to this concern with clear, carefully considered independent positions that seem unaffected by who her donors are.
Noreen Evans also carries her own donor baggage. Evans has received as much funding support as Hopkins, except that it has mostly come from unions. This includes the largest spender by far, the SEIU Union representing public employees, which has spent over $50,000 supporting Noreen Evans. Progressive Sebastopol believes in the importance of unions. But the likelihood that Noreen Evans will support the continually escalating number of County workers and the spiraling cost of their benefits in return for its support seems to us more likely than the likelihood that Lynda Hopkins will act against our environment to support real estate or wine interests.
Let’s Find Solutions and Restore Public Services. During a period of record tax collections from rising real estate values and tourism, Progressive Sebastopol refuses to accept the frequently professed powerlessness of our Supervisors to find adequate funding to maintain the essential public services of libraries, hospital emergency rooms and roads that our tax dollars have maintained for generations. Business as usual will not cut it anymore. We need a change, and we see that change more likely to come from Lynda Hopkins than from any other candidate for Supervisor.
President Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is the closest thing to a peace and justice presidential candidate in our lifetime. Progressive Sebastopol could not be more excited about supporting him with our endorsement.
Yes, we know it’s an uphill battle against challenging odds. It has been from the very beginning, and Bernie’s Second American Revolution, which feels like the peaceful evolution of our corporate-corrupted political system, is the most promising reform movement we have ever witnessed.
There is simply no downside to voting for Sanders on June 7. Because of his widespread national support among Independent voters, who are needed to win national elections, every poll shows Bernie beating Trump in November by double the risky margin that Clinton holds. There will be time to vote against Donald Trump next November. This is the time to vote for Sanders.
A vote for Bernie is a vote for a peaceful future and the public interest. If Clinton wins the nomination, she will need Sanders’ supporters, especially the young, to turn out on Election Day, or she could lose to Trump. Winning California might not give him the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination, but it will make more likely the prospect that she adopts some of his evolutionary positions: public campaign financing, federal decriminalization of marijuana and Medicare-for-all are three sharply contrasting positions between Sanders and Clinton that we care deeply about.
Of equal importance is that a Sanders victory in California will make it more likely that either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren is selected by Clinton to be our Vice President. This will put the growing progressive wing of the Democratic Party on deck for a brighter future.
We find it impossible to support Hillary Clinton’s endless war doctrine. That she continues to praise Henry Kissinger, the notorious “butcher of Cambodia,” for his “realism” based brand of foreign policy, sends our alarm bells ringing. Remember the “peace dividend” that was promised after the fall of the Soviet Union? We are still waiting for it. Along with Medicare for all, an end to the federal war on marijuana (which Hillary would reclassify from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug—so it would be federally treated like heroin!), the independent testing of GMO food and toxic agrochemicals, real regulation of banks, and a government not controlled by corporate donors. On every one of these issues, it is Bernie, not Hillary, whose positions match the vast majority of Democratic voters.
Many of the arguments we have heard for Hillary from an establishment-biased corporate media are based on calculated misinformation. Experience? Bernie has 34 years in government to Hillary’s 12. Effectiveness? His 83% approval rating by the voters of Vermont is the highest of anyone in the Senate about 50% higher than Clinton’s was when she was a senator from New York. The candidate most likely to beat Trump? Poll after poll shows that this is Bernie.
But we’ve got to elect him first. Please do your part and vote for the most transformative candidate of our lifetime!
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