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Delegation heading to DC to press for projects

By BRETT WILKISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Sonoma County’s Board of supervisors and three staff members are gathering in Washington, D.C. over the next several days at a National Association of Counties conference and to meet with the North Coast’s congressional representatives and federal officials.

Supervisors Valerie Brown, David Rabbitt and board Chairman Efren Carrillo arrived in the middle of the week. They will be joined by Supervisors Mike McGuire and Shirlee Zane, as well as County Administrator Veronica Ferguson, County Counsel Bruce Goldstein and Jim Leddy, the county’s governmental affairs manager.

The legislative conference is an annual event that draws thousands of county leaders from across the country.

The trip will cost taxpayers about $10,000 for lodging, meals and travel for seven members of the county delegation. Brown’s expenses will be paid by the counties’ association, according to Leddy, the county’s official spokesman.

Brown is an immediate past president and an executive officer with the counties’ association and will spend much of her time in policy discussions and meetings on national issues affecting counties.

Zane, a vice-chair of the association’s health care committee, also will spend much of the trip in discussions and meetings about health care policy and social services.

Carrillo, Rabbitt and McGuire will focus on securing support and federal funding for several expensive county water projects, Leddy said. Those include the $150 million North Bay Water Reuse Authority, a joint operation with the counties of Napa and Marin to increase use of recycled water, and the $100 million study and modifications to river flows in the Russian River intended to benefit endangered salmon and threatened steelhead.

Most of the county delegation also will participate in meetings with Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and staff members in the offices of California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

Goldstein, an expert on tribal policy and casino issues, will spend much of his time in meetings on those matters.

Ferguson, a vice president with the National Association of County Administrators, will dedicate part of her time to meetings with that group.

The trip comes on the heels of a separate visit to Washington by Carrillo, Zane and Leddy two weeks ago. That trip focused on securing federal funding for a new fleet of low-emission buses, transportation for seniors and wildfire hazard reduction, among other issues.

Carrillo defended the travels as an “investment” that paid back dividends in federal money and legislative and administrative support for county efforts.

“It’s critical for us as elected officials to continue to ensure that we have the support of the federal government,” he said.

The counties’ conference ends Wednesday, but several county officials will be returning home before then, Leddy said.

The Board of Supervisors does not meet next week.





9 Responses to “Delegation heading to DC to press for projects”

  1. County Watcher says:

    Former supervisor Paul Kelly went also, probably on his own dime or is he working for the county now?

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  2. Phil Maher says:

    Well, at least they can feel better about themselves, and we can take some solace that our money is being used so they can get a dose of their own medicine…you know, the warm welcome, the glad-hand, and then, abject dismissal of their concerns as soon as they leave the room. “Welcome to Washington…I care why? Who did you say you were again?”

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  3. Allen Rafanan says:

    Just not smart. Did anyone consider that this exercise of chasing federal dollars that won’t replace general fund services might NOT be the kind of “investment” that matters right now? We’ve chosen not to pave thousands of miles of roads, no open bathrooms to be found at our parks, and they probably will close service counters next year. Do they really think that I care if we learn something new about casinos? This sends a very bad message no matter how they spin it. Very poor form, supes. Very disappointed.

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  4. Where's my piggy bank? says:

    I wanna go too.I’m gonna bring my blanky ‘n my BULL HORN!

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  5. Steve Klausner says:

    Wanna bet SMART train is at the top of their wish list?

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3

  6. In Rod We Trust says:

    Not to worry, maybe this trip will be financed by a newly financially engineered debt instrument called a Washington DC Trip Obligation Bond. It will actually save us (Sonoma County Taxpayers) money….these bonds worked well for pensions….

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  7. Common Sense says:

    This is all taxpayers money just add Browns cost to the $10,000. This is just a taxpayer’s paid feast! Why can’t they have the North coast Rep who most likely lives here meet locally and take their ideas back to the capital? Our politicians need to think outside the box to save our money.

    The trip will cost taxpayers about $10,000 for lodging, meals and travel for seven members of the county delegation. Brown’s expenses will be paid by the counties’ association, according to Leddy, the county’s official spokesman.

    Brown is an immediate past president and an executive officer with the counties’ association and will spend much of her time in policy discussions and meetings on national issues affecting counties

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 10

  8. Pearl Alquileres says:

    They just can’t come to terms with the fact that they have killed the Goose that lays the Golden Eggs by taxing & regulating businesses to death. So they spend thousands of dollars to go to DC and beg them to fire up the printing press to keep feeding the machine. “Just one more bailout and all our troubles will go away”.
    Heads firmly planted in the sand they’ll keep trudging on with the Socialist agenda that created this mess. And why not? They keep getting re-elected so surely they must be doing something right!

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  9. Reality Check says:

    Let’s hope they strike out. Looking to the federal government, which borrows 40% of every dollar it spends, to give money to a wealthy county like Sonoma is morally disgraceful.

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