WatchSonoma Watch

Brown endorses Bramfitt to fill supes seat

Mark Bramfitt


Valerie Brown, the retiring Sonoma County Board of Supervisors veteran, has thrown her support behind Mark Bramfitt in the race to claim her 1st District supervisorial seat.

The 1st District takes in Sonoma Valley, including the city of Sonoma, and parts of eastern Santa Rosa. The race has attracted five candidates, two of whom are Santa Rosa city councilmembers.

Brown said Bramfitt, an energy consultant and Valley of the Moon Water District board member, has the best combination of leadership and public policy experience in the Sonoma Valley among the five candidates.

The endorsement was announced in a written statement released by Bramfitt’s campaign on Sunday.

“He’s smart and capable and he knows the county well and knows the 1st District well,” Brown said Monday morning in a brief phone interview.

Brown cited Bramfitt’s years of service on the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission, his role as chairman of the Sonoma Valley Groundwater Basin Advisory Panel and service on the Valley of the Moon water board.

She said the posts gave him valuable perspective on business, environmental and public utility issues.

“I’m thrilled that Mark is in the race and that I can support him,” Brown said in the interview.

The endorsement adds further fuel to the district’s geopolitical divide, expected to be a major factor in the race this year.

The 1st District seat has long been held by a Sonoma Valley resident. But growth and redistricting has shifted a majority of the population base to eastern and northeastern Santa Rosa and its outskirts, including Oakmont, Bennett and Rincon valleys and the Fountaingrove area.

Three candidates in the field hail from those areas, including two likely frontrunners, Santa Rosa councilmembers Susan Gorin and John Sawyer. Both bring years of political experience, name recognition, fundraising capability and a list of high-profile endorsements to the race.

Brown, who lives in the unincorporated area just south of Kenwood, said her endorsement of Bramfitt was partly a recognition of that stiff competition and the risk that the 1st District seat could shift to a Santa Rosa-based supervisor.

Already, two members of the Board of Supervisors — Chairwoman Shirlee Zane and Efren Carrillo — live in Santa Rosa, Brown said. Residents of eastern Santa Rosa also have City Hall to turn to for their concerns, she said.

“To take care of many of their needs, most Sonoma Valley residents rely primarily on the Board of Supervisors and that’s why I am supporting Sonoma Valley resident Mark Bramfitt,” Brown said in the written statement.

The only current multi-term supervisor, Brown, 66, is a former Sonoma mayor and state assemblywoman. She was appointed to the Board of Supervisors in August 2002 by Gov. Gray Davis. She filled the seat vacated by 1st District Supervisor Mike Cale, who stepped down for health reasons. She was elected the following November to fill the remainder of the term and won re-election in 2004 and 2008. She announced in August that she would not run again.

Bramfitt welcomed her endorsement.

“I am humbled and honored to have the support from Supervisor Valerie Brown,” he said in the statement.

The other candidates in the race are Gina Cuclis, a Boyes Hot Springs communications consultant who serves on the county’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Advisory Board and Keith Rhinehart, a former United Parcel Service supervisor and substitute teacher who lives just north of Santa Rosa off Riebli Road.

The first candidates’ forum in the race will be held on Wednesday, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Santa Rosa Central Library. It will focus on issues pertaining to children and families, including health care and welfare. It is hosted by the Santa Rosa-based California Parenting Institute.


The Watch Sonoma County Poll

[poll id="56"]

13 Responses to “Brown endorses Bramfitt to fill supes seat”

  1. Bill me says:

    Sawyer is “right wing?”. Now that is funny. John is a good person who served this City well for many years while Gorin and Vas Dupree and others choked the life out of local businesses. I guess if you are a politician who recognizes that businesses are the funny thing that employ people, that makes you right wing.

  2. The Oracle says:

    There are some political insiders writing emails back and forth over this one. This is going to be fun to watch.

  3. J L Anderson says:

    Mockingbird reveals much of what’s wrong with Sonoma County today. Everyone except for the far-left dopes are “too right-wing” for these kinds of voters.

    Talk about needing to get a clue.

    Sad where the county has gone. I recall when we had no gangs, few illegals, moderate voters who were mostly middle class, good public schools everywhere, responsible government spending, and reasonable pensions that did not threaten to bankrupt us, and a diverse agriculture instead of the grape monoculture.

  4. GAJ says:

    Yeah, Sawyer is “right wing”!

    Unbelievable that it has gotten to the point where someone who is not an extremist by any measure, someone firmly in the center, can be called “right wing.”

    Anyone who does not toe the “progressive” path is a “Tea Partier.”

    Kind of sad really.

  5. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    The WSC poll is useless as most of the visitors on this website are rightwing TPers. It doesn’t reflect Sonoma County at all.

    As for Sawyer, his business DID fold because of unfair business from competition from big corporate bookstores, namely Barnes and Nobles. I don’t like his to be dinged as a bad business man as he’s not. His business was 64 years old so get a clue. When I came to Santa Rosa Sawyers was here in 1969. I think he had a pretty good long run until recently and I continued to buy from him as long as he was in business. I would never vote for him because he is just too rightwing for me.

    I will be voting for Susan Gorin. As far as I’m concerned she’s proved her worth and I welcome her move into my district.

  6. Garry Baker says:

    Mark Bramfitt is smart and very knowledgeable, I believe he is an excellent choice to serve all of district one. Sonoma Valley is a politically unique environment and I believe that someone from Santa Rosa cannot and will not be an effective representative for the valley. I have served on the Sonoma Valley Advisory Commission with Mark for the last 8 years. I admire his ability to critically evaluate projects and to effectively express his opinions, as well as thoughtfully encourage debate. Vote for Mark Bramfitt for true district wide representation.

  7. first district watcher says:

    John Sawyer has what experience and background? He was a poor caretaker as his family’s business slid into oblivian. I’ve watched SR council meetings for quite some time, the next question he asks that gives an insight into financial or pension issues will be the first. He is a puppet of herb, and arrogant to boot!

  8. Grapevines says:

    The fact that the evil queen Brown is leaving is good. Now if only the sun will shine long enough in the 1st District to awaken the residents out of the stupor they have been in and have them vote in someone with their interests in mind. Because the only thing they have been getting is what Empress Brown considers could benefit her.

  9. truth in news says:

    That was easy! Now I know who NOT to vote for!

  10. Barbara Green says:

    This county does not need a Brown apostle to fill the county chair. Another very liberal candidate is not what the county needs for the next 4 years.

    Admittedly the choices are not great but in this field of North Bay toe tippers, Sawyer has the best background and experience to help straighten out the county budget and pension issues.

    Enough of Brown and her arrogant, condescending way of doing county business. We don’t need a clone.

  11. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Water district board?
    An ICLEI collaborator/operative endorsed by the a member of the National ICLEI Board. The legacy of oppression continues.
    Want to learn more about why everything is so screwed up?
    Come to City Hall @ 3:00 Tues. the 14th before the Council meeting.
    Get some more information.
    Learn why city councils across the Country are talhing about kicking ICLEI out…as should we.
    Time to ask: THE QUESTION.

  12. Sonoma Valley Patrician says:

    Of course Brown had to choose a SV candidate, we’re provincial out here and unlikely to change. Bramfitt, while as exciting as any human without a pulse actually can be, seems like a decent fellow who knows how to say the right things at the right time. Our other SV choice knows only how to alienate and say rude things about the other candidates. That may get one far in politics in other venues, but not here. Ms. Cuclis, short of a personality transplant, will soon enough, and thankfully enough, retreat to the oblivion from which she emerged.

    All I can say for sure is that this race will require me to increase my wine consumption in the coming months.

  13. Liz says:

    Can I vote none of the above in the poll ….that should be an option!