Great article. Thank you Stett, for writing it and for publishing it in the Bohemian. I live on a hillside in the Napa Valley about a mile from the proposed Calistoga Hills Resort. A neighbor of mine cleared many acres of beautiful hillside forest and planted vineyard in its place. The chainsaws, tractors, and excavators were operating at all hours and days of the week on and off over several years time. The county and the state have no issue with a clear-cut like this, and I don't think he is done yet as there are still some trees left on his property. I wonder how many more "conversions" will be taking place on the hills of this county, since there is no agency that restrains greedy owners from cutting all the trees on a property.
This is exactly why big wine money wants to elect Hopkins; to continue their push onto our remaining hillsides and coastal hillsides. Come on Sonoma county, get out from behind your I-phones and help elect Noreen Evans. It's not "Imagine if she wins" we need you in the streets talking to your neighbors and fighting for what's at stake here.
Ken Sund- Jenner
Though there are problems in Napa, they seem far ahead of Sonoma County in reigning in the over-growth of the wine industry, and thus preserving food farming and rural diversity. That's why Napa vintners such as Paul Hobbs and Joe Wagner are moving some of their operations out of Napa and into Sonoma County and beyond. For more information, go to www.winewaterwatch.org
With a weak coastal commission and a big business dominated Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Noreen Evans will help effectively push back Big Oil and Big Wine and Big real estate. Take back our coast and save our environment.
This article reveals yet another reason for electing environmentalist Noreen Evans as the 5th District Supervisor. She would be more able to stand up to Big Oil and its damage to the environment, including the climate, as well as to Big Wine. It is our habitat that provides jobs, not the corporations that rape nature.
So far it seems clear that Lynda Hopkins' campaign has a lot of money to spend. When a candidate has a war chest so large that she can purchase expensive, multi-page newspaper inserts weeks before the campaign, I start to wonder who's paying for it.
She seems like a perfectly fine human being, and may have the best of intentions. However, Ms. Hopkins is relatively new to the area and is already funded by many of the same big businesses that funded Effren Carillo (most notably the Ratto Group). Accepting that funding without knowing that there will be an expectation of payback is either painfully naive or worse, highly calculating and corrupt. Either way, that should give us pause.
Absolutely fabulous reporting. Nice to hear the proceeds from Graton Casino are being used so ingeniously. Well done.
These comments are, in and of themselves, so biased, they prove many of the points made in the article. They're like a spectacular illustration of the entire idea behind Jonah Raskin's thoughts.
In reality, Raskin's write-up on the 5th District Supervisorial Race captures well the political theater that typifies Sonoma County and SoCo as a microcosm of broader American political trends. While some supporters of Noreen Evans, who has served the public as an elected official before and has many supporters, seem to have taken umbrage at this look at regional politics - certainly all of the folks posting here - they miss the underlying point: politics is always the politics of perception and the perception of this race is that it's getting a little dicey - one might say, as Raskin has, gonzo.
The article is less about Evans and contender Lynda Hopkins, who has not served in elected office before and has many supporters, than it is about the inner workings of the sometimes brutal political machine that informs our contemporary politics and the journalists and campaign workers who hear and know the real stories of local and regional campaigns that can often trend harsh behind the scenes - despite the apparent idealism of the candidates.
I agree with Laura Gonzalez. As she said, "This is a sadly disappointing article. I was actually embarrassed for Jonah Rankin while reading this piece." The references to Hunter Thompson made no sense at all, his lack of substance about what each of the candidates stand for, his obvious bias in favor of Lynda Hopkins simply because she is young and inexperience, and his tying Noreen Evans to the "good old boys" when it is Hopkins through the support of Koenigshafer, the big business group Alliance, etc. who is a young,female, inexperienced "good old boy" in the making. Yes, she's the Hillary Clinton in the race. If you really want to protect the Sonoma County we know and love, vote for Noreen Evans.
This is a sadly disappointing article. I was actually embarrassed for Jonah Rankin while reading this piece. He obviously has no clue about local politics. "Can Lynda Hopkins bust up the West County Boys' Club"? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? She's new face of the Boys' Club! Why didn't you take off the rose-colored glasses before interviewing and rallying around Lynda Hopkins? She's a carpetbagger, she's no FDR, and she's bought and paid for by the same people who foisted Efren Carrillo on us. His backers are now her backers. Herman Hernandez Jr, her campaign manager, and his dad, have been staunch Carrillo supporters since the beginning. And her consultant is Rob Muelrath, and you're trying to tell us she's not an insider and she's going to "save the 5th"? From what? A seasoned veteran who has stood with working class people her whole political life? A politician who isn't in the back pocket of Mr. Doug Bosco?
Do you know why Eric Koenigshafer isn't running, even though he said he would if his buddy Efren didn't run? Because the puppetmasters found someone better, and Eric knows it's all about the machine, and not him. That's why he gallantly stepped aside for Hopkins.
Do us all a major favor and stop writing about local politics until you actually know something about local politics. Sheesh.
The title of this article is highly misleading.
"Take Back the Fifth District" from who?
And for what?
From the SAME people who backed Efren Carrillo in his last two election bids?
And to keep the strings of power attached firmly to someone who has never held public office, who has never written a piece of legislation which has actually affected the lives of community members and who has NEVER cast a SINGLE VOTE for or against a resolution, an item or a bill?
As far as I'm concerned, this article is so full of biases, inaccuracies and intentionally misleading meanderings that it has been rendered completely meaningless to anyone who was looking to your publication for an investigative treatise on the two candidates' respective backgrounds, qualifications and abilities to represent and lead the voters of the Fifth District.
Sadly, you fritted away a grand opportunity to do so - and seriously impaled your journalistic integrity in the process.
It was a poorly written and sexist article (maybe Mr Raskin's many mistakes and omissions occured while he was so blinded by Ms. Hopkins' "folksy glamour"?) How anyone from Sonoma County who knows even a smidgen about the Sonoma County Business Alliance,and Eric Koenigshafer and the Real Estate PAC (who are Hopkins supporters) could characterize Ms Hopkins as a 'new deal democrat who looks to Franklin Roosevelt for inspiration' is beyond me. Mr Raskin is seriously out of touch with local politics if he doesn't realize that Linda Hopkins is this year's Efren Carrillo- backed by the same Good Old Boys who have run this county for years. References to Noreen Evans' age were irrelevant and inappropriate. Politics is not a glamour contest or a youth competition.
I’m normally a big fan of Jonah Raskin’s writing, so I’m doubly disappointed in this article.
I’m really confused about what his message is in this very long piece. What’s the focus? Is this a piece about Hunter S. Thompson or about why Hunter S. Thompson would be at home in the 5th District? Is it a piece about a journalist for another newspaper who reminds Raskin of Hunter S. Thompson? What does “Fear and Loathing” Thompson have to do with the 5th District Supervisor race, anyway?
At one point it sounds like a piece attempting to equate Hopkins with Bernie Sanders even though Hopkins has the backing of the big business organization, Sonoma County Alliance, and resource-extraction interests, none of whom appear to be supporting Bernie Sanders this year. Or maybe it’s a piece attempting to tag Noreen Evans as a carpetbagger for moving into the district last year, without mentioning that Hopkins *also* just moved into the district last year, leaving her former home in the 4th District so she would be eligible to run in the 5th.
I hope that any future North Bay Bohemian pieces about the very crucial 5th District Supervisor race will ramble less and focus more on substance. Thank you in advance!
Jonah Raskin responds:
I would like to thank Scamperwillow for pointing out errors in my article on the race for the 5th Supervisorial district. It is true that Evans didn’t buy a house in Sebastopol as I asserted. She is renting there. But she did own a house on Flat Rock Circle in Santa Rosa. She purchased it in March 2015 and sold it in February 2016. As for endorsements, Sonoma County Supervisors Susan Gorin and Shirlee Zane have endorsed Evans. James Gore has endorsed Hopkins. David Rabbitt and Efren Carrillo have not endorsed a candidate.
Most of the other comments about my story have to do with matters of interpretation rather than fact. In the months I conducted research I learned that many voters perceive Evans as a political operative who runs for the sake of running, as much as for a set of ideals. At the same time, many voters see Hopkins as a stealth candidate who represents the wine and grape industry and that she threatens to steal the show that rightly belongs to Evans. The actual differences between the two candidates may not be as great as their supporters believe. They both want to preserve the coast and defend the rights of working people. The intention of my article was to draw attention to Hopkins and her campaign because she is a newcomer who looks to President Franklin Roosevelt for inspiration and who wants a "new New Deal" for Sonoma County, which means better roads, improved infrastructure and early childhood education.
I believe that during Helen Rudee's service on the Board of Supes, there were 2 other women for a time: Helen Putnam and Janet Nicholas=3!
While engaging, this description of the 5th District campaign does not explain where either candidate stands on crucial issues like a living wage, affordable housing, unlimited winery events, roads and transportation, conservation, etc. nor does it explain the focus of the organizations supporting the candidates. Unfortunately, it reminds me of the recent Republican "debates" in which there is no discussion of substantive issues.
KOWS-FM and Preserve Rural Sonoma County will host a 5th District Candidates Forum on April 28, Thurs., at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, located in the Vets Building on High Street. Noreen Evans and Lynda Hopkins have agreed to participate. All candidates who file by this Friday will be invited to join.
The evening event will be free to the public, with donations requested. This is in contrast to that of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce forum 3/9, which cost $45. The deck was stacked for that event, since it cost too much for most working people to attend.
There are a number of inaccuracies in your writing - including that Noreen NEVER lived in Bennett Valley, she is not endorsed by all the supervisors except Gore, she has not bought a house. Piccinini did not drop out after Hopkins joined the race since she launched her campaign before Evans or Piccinini. And a few more.
What IS true though is that Evans won with 70% of the vote in the Fifth District in her last election. She is not exactly a newcomer to this area or to these people. Oh, and she IS endorsed by 4 of the 5 Sebastopol city council members because they have worked with her and know how competent and dedicated she is.
I was so hoping for a balanced analysis of this crucial race and am quite disappointed that it is not what it is.
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