Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why I support Jim Maresca for 5th District Supervisor

"How now? A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!"
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, III, IV, 23

If you’ve ever tried to deal with the Permits & Resources (mis)Management Department for a minor home repair or alteration; attempted to start a business; or asked the Sheriff to come by & nicely ask those people at the playground to please put their pit bulls on leashes while the children are playing, you’ve probably noticed that something is really, REALLY wrong with how Sonoma County manages things (or doesn’t).

Sniff, sniff. River Rattina smells a rat … oops, never mind … that was me.

The election for 5th District County Supervisor is coming up in June. Since we River Rats & Rattinas happen to live in the 5th District, this is an awfully important election. We need to choose Mike Reilly’s successor wisely. For starters, our District Supervisor will have a major say in how all of those Russian River Redevelopment dollars are spent. In fact, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is largely responsible for managing & allocating the County budget, which WE all pay for with our taxes.

NOTE TO TENANTS: If you think that property taxes don’t affect you, then think again. You pay your share of property taxes into our community (& possibly your landlord’s, too) with your monthly rent checks.

We need someone who is aware of the unique issues & challenges we face, & who can advocate our interests with persistence & effectiveness. Given the state of our County’s budget, we desperately need someone with a combination of public advocacy, business & management skills to get us through this difficult economic period & to support policies, processes, & projects which are fair, transparent, & which will encourage future prosperity for the River.

After considerable thought, research, & internal debate, I decided that for me, this person is Jim Maresca.

This was a hard decision for me, because we are blessed with an excellent & well-qualified group of candidates this year. Jim Maresca, Rue Furch, Tom Lynch, & Maddie Hirschfield all have impressive resumes, long histories of public service, & good intentions. I have commented on my views of other candidates & why I decided not to support them at the end of this article.

For published statements of these four candidates’ views, courtesy of Vesta Copestakes & the West County Gazette, please download the following PDF files:

I support Jim Maresca because he is a highly committed, experienced, & competent individual who lives with his wife Sandra here in Guerneville (previously in Jenner) & hence understands & cares about issues that affect folks like us who live in West County along the Russian River. He has lots of community & non-profit experience with environmental, youth, & social issues in our area, & also has substantial business, executive, & management experience. As a parent, I particularly appreciate his work with & advocacy for youth, because I believe that we (both the County & society at large) are failing our young people.

Mr. Maresca is the only candidate with a combination of non-profit, public advocacy, & business experience. He has been a prime mover for various local environmental, community, & youth organizations over the years, but he also has experience with managing, budgeting, developing processes, creating technologies, raising capital, & achieving positive results for major & cutting-edge businesses.

Sonoma County is struggling with finances & declining tax revenues, & needs somebody who is innovative & who wants the powers-that-be in Sonoma County to take a more pragmatic & customer-oriented approach. Mr. Maresca sees folks like us as being the “customers” (after all, we do pay for County services), & wants us to have a say in how things are done & how our money is spent.

Mr. Maresca plans to give us a stronger voice & encourage community involvement by renting space & keeping office hours in various towns throughout the 5th District (including Guerneville, Rio Nido, Monte Rio, Jenner, Bodega Bay, & parts of Santa Rosa) on a regular basis so we – as individuals or as representatives from community organizations – can meet with him about concerns on a regular basis. He also understands the importance of transparency, processes, & technology.

Quite frankly, I would LOVE to elect someone who “gets” technology & understands why the Community Development Commission shouldn’t use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for maintaining mailing lists & voter records for the Russian River Redevelopment area. No wonder the ballots for the recent RRROC election got messed up (the election was saved by a group of dedicated volunteers & ballot watchers). When I think of the hours & resources wasted by such archaic procedures, my inner Klingon programmer shrieks, “GAGH!”

For more information about Jim Maresca visit

Now, for those of you who are still reading this, here’s my take on the other candidates:

  • Tom Lynch: (note to Tom, I’m SO sorry!) I absolutely ADORE Mr. Lynch – he’s a sincere, kind, well-informed person who (like Mr. Maresca) lives here on the River. He is a passionate & outspoken advocate for the environment, affordable housing, & other local issues. Additionally, Mr. Lynch truly has a flair for the dramatic & humorous. His “Manure Man” exploit (when he rented a manure spreader & covered downtown Santa Rosa with cow patties to protest their illegal sewer discharges back in 1986) was insanely brilliant

    But honestly, I feel that Mr. Lynch’s considerable talents would be totally wasted on the Board of Supervisors. I often feel that they’re also wasted on RRROC. It’s like that thing Barack Obama said about having the hope sucked out of you if you work within the establishment for too long (alas, I can neither remember or locate the original quote).

    I’d like to see Mr. Lynch contact Michael Moore, get some grants, & do some serious guerilla political theater & satire, & perhaps even make a documentary. His articulate, affable & humorous persona would be perfectly suited for this form of advocacy & public consciousness-raising.
  • Rue Furch: I seriously considered her & she has an excellent record on our core issues. Until that whole property tax flap came to light. I do sympathize (my husband & I have had financial problems too), I just don't want her managing our budget. In addition to my previously posted views in She'll Rue (Furch) the Day, I resent the fact that she & her supporters think it’s okay for her to be seven years behind on her property taxes & installment plan because her good deeds & public service are worth far more than that. Hmph. If that’s the case, then, ALL of the people who do volunteer work in our community should be excused, or at least have a rich crony to bail them out of their financial messes with a low-interest loan.

  • Maddie Hirschfield: This may come across as overly small-minded, but she simply comes across as too Sebastopol-ish for me. She’s an accomplished & sincere public advocate, but I’m looking for someone who can represent a broader segment of our community.

  • Dan Kahane: Ummm ... Who?
Yeah, folks like Mr. Lynch, Ms. Furch, & Ms. Hirschfield like to shake things up & heaven knows, the County needs some shaking up. But we also need someone who can work with the other district supervisors & present our issues from a more rational & business-like perspective so the other supervisors won't keep voting our interests down.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, THANKS for this blog. I actually was considering looking at this property before reading this HORROR story.

Better for the whole thing to be demolished.