WatchSonoma Watch

Mackenzie named mayor of Rohnert Park

Jake Mackenzie


The longest-serving member of Rohnert Park’s City Council is the city’s new mayor.

Councilman Jake Mackenzie, vice mayor for the last year, first joined the council in 1996 and was mayor in 2001, 2005 and 2008. He will assume leadership of the council at a time when the city is far more fiscally constrained but also in far better financial shape than when he was last its top politician.

Then, with the national economy in recession, Rohnert Park had a $30 million general fund budget and a $4 million deficit.

Now after years of budget cuts, the city has a $25.2 million budget and a deficit of $445,000, according to a review of the city’s fiscal condition presented by staff on Tuesday.

Asked on Tuesday what his priorities as mayor would be, Mackenzie, 72, brandished a copy of the budget presentation.

“The budget,” he said, adding that after years of cutting expenditures, “We have to show we’re increasingly serious about increasing revenues.”

Mackenzie takes over from Councilwoman Gina Belforte, who nominated him for vice mayor a year ago. He was nominated Tuesday by Councilwoman Pam Stafford, who he in turn nominated to replace him as vice mayor.

Both Mackenzie and Stafford were confirmed unanimously; Councilman Joe Callinan was absent.

While the mayor, who serves a one-year term, has little prescribed authority in Rohnert Park, Mackenzie has leeway in steering the council’s agendas and discussions. As the last councilmember to speak, Mackenzie will also have the last word — and vote — on issues before the council.

As mayor, Belforte encouraged economic development initiatives and mentioned the need for fiscal restraint at every turn.

Mackenzie said he will follow that route, reaching out to businesses, Sonoma State University and the nearby Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster, a business incubator, for help boosting the city economy.

But the former manager with the federal Environmental Protection Agency is also likely to be a more vocal advocate for environmentally-friendly policies.

Mackenzie has been a champion of mass transit and environmentally-aware development. In Rohnert Park for example, he has supported — sometimes in losing efforts — contracts that require developers to take steps to reduce carbon emissions and install energy efficient devices.

“We need to be a sustainable city,” he said Tuesday.

20 Responses to “Mackenzie named mayor of Rohnert Park”

  1. Truth and Justice says:

    The voters of Rohnert Park could receive the “citizens of the year” award if they vote good old Jake “Pothole” Mackenzie off the city council. He is bad news for Rohnert Park, Sonoma County, public transportation, and residents of the North Bay who are paying for his escapades, travels and adventures in his support of environmental projects, programs and social engineering projects.

    Old Jake has his hands in so many political pots and draws so many salaries and benefits he is like a sheriff in medieval England.

    Like out of town visitors and fish, his three days stay has worn out his welcome. In Jake’s case its been years instead of days.

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  2. Amy Richards says:

    Mackenzie uses the wrong forum
    December 1, 2011The Community Voice:
    How unfortunate that Rohnert Park continues to have a person such as Jake Mackenzie in a leadership position.
    Recently I attended a town hall meeting concerning the use of bond funds for CRPUSD improvements. Mr. Mackenzie took the opportunity to stand and deliver a lengthy address, which ended with an endorsement of the threatened casino and the “promised” funds from said casino to benefit the school district.

    Personally, I thought it was inappropriate of him to use the forum to further the disinformation on one of his pet projects. What anyone present could have deduced was some simple math: the list of improvements remaining on CRPUSD’s list has a current price tag of $100 million.

    To build these projects over the course of 20 or 30 years would probably triple that price tag.

    If the casino is built, and if the casino doesn’t find a loophole to avoid contributing the promised funds of $1 million per year to the district, it would take 300 years to pay for the improvements the school district seeks.

    The casino is not going to fix the district’s financial woes, nor will it solve the city’s budgetary shortfalls.

    In the meantime, if this casino does get built, it will be a permanent blight on our city, and bring down property values further, not to mention endangering our future water supply.

    Thanks, Jake, but no thanks.

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  3. Paying Attention says:

    It’s good to see so many others in here paying attention. Thank you!


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  4. Paying Attention says:

    WOW! I just read all 16 posts here and not one of them is in favor of the City Council’s decision (no input from it’s citizens as usual) to make Jake the mayor.

    We can see through him now. He will continue to leech off us, as he did by raising the sewer/water rates AGAIN. All the while ruining the environment and with his support of tilly-ag, his code word for more greedy vineyards sucking up our water for FREE! (And making sure they get Federal aid via Williamson’s Act)

    Our so called ‘Leaders’ need to wake up and pay attention to the needs of the people for once.

    I’m with you RP mom!

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  5. Barbara says:

    Rohnert Park has been nick named “Rodent Park”, due to the infestation of Norweigian roof rats that love to move around the town. When construction begins, the rats regroup and head into a new niche within the neighborhoods, around the garbage bins for restaurants and businesses, any place that they have the potential to find shelter, food or water. It has been true for the 40+ years that I have been associated with Rohnert Park. They do damage, move along and find a new niche, kinda of like some politicians.

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  6. Whine Country Romance says:

    HA HA! Moving out of R.P. was the 2nd best decision that I’ve made. Moving out of Sonoma County was the 1st. A lot of other employers are making the same call. Just spend some time on 101, and you’ll see this in action… people trapped in their cars for 3-4 hours per day commuting to other counties that actually care about job growth. And not just wine industry job growth. Reducing city streets to one lane will not slow the current exodus.

    The vision? Quant little vines trelliced in quaint little rows, next to quaint little one-lane roads jammed to capacity with quaint little Hemi-powered pickups moving at 15 mph.

    Welcome to whine country!

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  7. RP Mom 2 says:

    What there isn’t a law controlling how many times someone can be a Mayor or be on City Council?!? There ought to be. Jake Mackenzie is a Wolf dressed up in Sheep’s clothing. I say we all ban together and ask for his resignation! Beside’s with all the gas emissions coming from Walmart and all the other big box stores there is no way that Rohnert Park can be sustainable.

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  8. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Wonder how Jake would ‘fare’ in the private sector right now?

    Wonder how ‘sustainable’ he’d be?

    Even at Home Depot you are asked to be of service.

    When you are of service, that is sacred.

    When you’re not,
    I guess these days…
    that’s a government gig.

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  9. Porcelain Punisher says:

    Jake is probably right now in a five-star resort in Durban South Africa for the annual Climate Change conferece at public expense.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

  10. Graeme Wellington says:

    When they start talking about sustainability or renewable energy sources, I compare it to a woman looking for a mate.

    It’s not very useful to compare every guy you meet to Superman, because Superman doesn’t exist. It would be nice if he did, but you’ll never get anywhere relationship-wise if you keep waiting around for that perfect, fictional character to fly into your life and sweep you off your feet.

    The same thing applies to energy. You’ll never get anywhere as long as you wait around for some Back to the Future fuel to power your souped-up DeLorean.

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  11. The Oracle says:

    I learn something every time I read this web site’s comments. From now on, every time someone supports sustainability, I’ll realize that’s code for the most fanatical oppressive agenda of our time, and those who speak against sustainability are fighting for freedoms and civil rights. I feel Smarter already.

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  12. Josh Stevens says:

    One need only look at the site of that palatial RP city hall building sitting glaringly amongst all the surrounding squalor to see how well Rohnert Park city gov’t functions.

    Jake and Co. have resided over this towns decline as families with children continue to vote with their feet and move to better towns run by better people.

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  13. Social Dis-Ease says:

    To Oracle:
    we should be aspiring to maintain our freedoms and our Civil Rights.
    We should aspire to recognize the most fanatical oppressive Agenda of our time.

    Love nature, bikes, trains (at times),
    everything but oppression and turkey necks.

    Hope EVERYONE enjoys their holiday.

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  14. The Oracle says:

    Social Dis-Ease is right. We should be aspiring to avoid sustainable social policies.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

  15. Social Dis-Ease says:

    The most important word in the Agenda 21 language.

    It would be more revealing to list what isn’t ‘sustainable’ than what is.

    Not much is sustainable, not even YOU.

    Based on the UN commissioned ‘Global Biodeversity Assessment’ report.
    A partial list of what these oppressors have deemed; not ‘sustainable’.
    Including, but not limited to:
    > Private Property.
    > ‘Industrial activities’.
    > Land use that serves human needs.
    > Technology improvements.
    > Fisheries.
    > Dams & reservoirs.
    > ‘Economic systems that fail to set a ‘proper’ value on the environment.
    > Disturbance of soil surface.
    > ‘Inappropriate’ social structures.
    > Paved roads.
    > Farmland & pastures.
    > Fences.
    > Scuba diving, golf.
    > Agriculture.

    What’s left?

    Not much, that’s the whole idea.
    Nothing left of your freedoms, your financial abundance, your property rights.
    Think we make this crap up?
    My mind doesn’t work like that.
    Why do you think some of us are on here ringing this bell ’till it sounds like an alarm?
    Because we don’t have a life?
    No, I’m busy.
    Because of some political motive?
    No, I hate politics.
    Disagreeable? Adversarial?
    NO, I’ve never even been rude to a restaurant server in my life.

    This is oppression people, not on History channel…
    here, NOW.

    The ’4 Es’ of Agenda 21.
    The Wildlands Project.

    Green is the guise, ’till we open our eyes and realize,
    that control is how they really roll.

    We still have a lot to be thankful for.

    Thank God the conciousness is waking up.

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  16. Steveguy says:

    No wonder why many call it ‘ Rodent Park’….

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  17. Planning for the Future says:

    Good old Jake “Pothole” Mackenzie says his first priority is the budget. That is always his first priority whether he is voting to spend millions more on the SMART Board, the Regional Transportation Board or the Sonoma Transportation Authority.

    Jake loves to spend taxpayer money on his boondoggles, pet projects and his “environmentally green” plans.

    Socialist to the core, Jake has never seen a government project, especially one that puts more control in the hands of government, he wouldn’t vote for.

    Because Jake has his fingers in so many pies and so many meetings to attend and draw a salary from, we will have to see how he manages his new duties in Rohnert Part. But you got to love his choice of shirts.

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  18. Graeme Wellington says:

    If they can just cut Jake’s numerous city paid vacations to attend environmental conferences worldwide they could close the remaining budget gap.

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 7

  19. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Why does RP have to be a ‘Sustainable’ City?
    Jake Pothole KcKenzie is an Agenda 21
    ‘Change Agent’ of the highest order.

    A devout Smart supporter.

    EVERYONE is OK with me,
    EXCEPT someone who would seek to oppress.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 6

  20. Jim says:

    Gotta love it…a politician who wants to “raise revenues” and be “more vocal advocate for environmentally-friendly policies”.

    I have a business license in Rohnert Park. Took me 6 months to get it! Freaking 6 months for a home-based service business. Yeah, but let’s “raise revenues” (i.e. TAX those who earn money) and implement more environmentally-friendly policies (i.e. add more fees and restrict business further). These politicians are amazing.

    Obviously a lifelong government worker who gets nominated and then nominates someone else…’I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine’. Typical politics.

    Anyone read the article that the average net worth of a US congressman went up 25% in the last 2 years. I bet us normal citizens saw exactly the same growth in ours. Yet, it is the Republicans fault. No, the Democrats. Until the people realize that taking money from workers and giving it to the government doesn’t redistribute wealth. Instead, it makes the politicians wealthier because the have more money to “scratch the back” of connected construction companies and other businesses with no-bid contracts, and they scratch the politician’s back by donating to their campaign. Open your freaking eyes. When they pit “R” vs “D” you take a side and look away from them.

    C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N…the most corrupt government in the world.

    Thumb up 34 Thumb down 5

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