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Letters to the Editor: March 16, 2016 

Readers respond to Raskin; Raskin responds to readers

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The 5th Degree

There are a number of inaccuracies in your writing ("Taking the 5th," March 9), including that Noreen Evans never lived in Bennett Valley, she is not endorsed by all the supervisors except Gore, and she has not bought a house in West County. Jack Piccinini did not drop out after Hopkins joined the race, since Lynda Hopkins launched her campaign before Evans or Piccinini. What is true, though, is that Evans won with 70 percent of the vote in the 5th District in her last election. She is not exactly a newcomer to this area or to these people. Oh, and she is endorsed by four of the five Sebastopol City Council members because they have worked with her and know how competent and dedicated she is.


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.


I was so hoping for a balanced analysis of this crucial race and am quite disappointed that it is not what it is.


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 Noreen 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 Lynda 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 the 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.

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