WatchSonoma Watch

Carpenter launches bid for west county supes seat



Ernie Carpenter, the ex-Sonoma County supervisor, is jumping into the race for his former west county seat, setting up a potentially stiff challenge to Supervisor Efren Carrillo, the first-term incumbent.

Erne Carpenter.

Carpenter, 69, of Occidental, who was first elected in 1980 and served 16 years on the Board of Supervisors, joins former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi in trying to unseat Carrillo from his 5th District office.

A strong environmental advocate, Carpenter said his move — made one day before the filing deadline — was partly based on discomfort with Carrillo’s record on land-use issues.

“I don’t trust him on land use going into the future,” Carpenter said, pointing to construction, real estate and development interests that continue to be some of Carrillo’s chief campaign donors.

Last month, Carrillo, 30, reported $101,748 in available campaign cash, a formidable war chest to defend his seat, which represents most of the west county, including west Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, the Russian River corridor and the coast from Bodega Bay to Mendocino County.

Carpenter acknowledged the fundraising edge, the last-minute timing of his decision and the waves it caused in the west county as news spread Thursday.

“Everyone is shocked, there’s no question about that,” he said.

Carpenter said he had been considering a run for at least six months and that his decision was prompted in part by the long odds many give Jacobi in unseating Carrillo.

“When nobody appeared on the scene that I thought could beat Carrillo, I went into a whole other analysis,” he said.

He cited Carrillo’s votes for several controversial projects, including the Dutra Materials asphalt plant south of Petaluma and, in the 5th District, the Best Family Winery. Over protests from opponents, it got unanimous board approval for a production facility, tasting room and vineyard on an apple orchard off Highway 116 and Occidental Road.

Also in question is Carrillo’s stance on Preservation Ranch, the forest-to-vineyard conversion project on nearly 20,000 acres outside of Annapolis.

Carrillo has refused to indicate his position on the controversial project, which is still under review. That uncertainty and the other development-related votes have led some in his district to push for his ouster.

Carrillo has defended his environmental record, citing his support for a large county purchase of open space on the Jenner Headlands, his backing of a proposed bid to form a county power agency to boost green energy development, and and his leadership on a fisheries restoration grant program.

“The record speaks for itself,” Carrillo said in an interview last month. “I believe I’m just as strong of an environmental advocate as most folks in this county.” He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

But Carpenter, who since his retirement from the board has worked as a consultant for local waste hauler North Bay Corp., called that record “lip service.”

Carpenter’s entrance into the race put west county political observers into overdrive Thursday. Some who have questioned Carrillo’s politics welcomed the move.

“With Jacobi in, we had a challenger. With Ernie in, we have a race,” said Dennis Rosatti, executive director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, the largest local environmental group. “

Rosatti said the group has interviewed Jacobi and Carrillo for an endorsement and now would make plans to interview Carpenter.

Jacobi, also a veteran environmentalist, expressed surprise at Carpenter’s decision but said it would not change her campaign plans.

“I’m excited about it actually,” she said. “I think Ernie is up to the task and I’m also up to the task.”

In a brief phone interview, Carpenter also cited declining road maintenance, the county’s fiscal challenges and concerns about maintaining strong land-use planning as playing into his decision to run.

“I’m very disturbed about the leadership in the county, particularly in the 5th District,” he said. “I think we can do a heck of a lot better. I know I have a lot of experience.”



20 Responses to “Carpenter launches bid for west county supes seat”

  1. Carpenter Nailed says:

    Waste hauler North Bay is a major player in Sonoma County. One of the partners, Dennis Hunter has created Ygrene, an investment pool, which stands to make huge money off the county’s PACE program, aka SCEIP, which seeks to force upgrades on buildings that will be financed by assessments added to property taxes. Ygrene’s partners, including Dennis Hunter (North Bay) and former tax auditor controller of Sonoma County Rod Dole will literally be on the dole when their loans get put into first place ahead of already existing first mortgages. They can’t lose with this arrangement. Who do you think set this up while Rod Dole was the Tax Collector?

    This arrangement that would violate contract law is tied up in litigation but the rule of law may fail as corrupt interests run rampant in wild pursuit of the green dream. The green bankers (oxymoron) have pinned all their hopes on the PACE program because when properties go into foreclosure, (more likely with expensive upogrades), these loans that were attached to the property taxes will get paid off first. So much for the first mortgage lender that thought they would be paid first with the exeption of about 1 percent property taxes. This will be a major game changer if PACE prevails.

    Ernie Carpenter would continue working in the interests of North Bay’s partners if elected. That’s why people should not vote for him.

  2. Money Grubber says:

    Anyone notice how the entire mainstream media across the country is discussing the intimidation attempt of a reporter by the Chief of Police of Berkeley?

    That Chief sent his goon, in civilian clothes and after midnight, to the residential front door of a news reporter and demanded that the reporter alter a news article covering the Chief.

    I might add another story that just broke in New York. A little girl there posted something on her PRIVATE facebook account about the school. The school staff then, ILLEGALLY, ordered that little girl to hand over her password to that PRIVATE account. The girl’s family is now properly suing the school.


  3. Money Grubber says:

    Sandy M. :

    Your post is scary and demonstrative of the reason why government is out of control. Were you sticking your tongue out, also, as you posted that?

  4. Sandy M says:

    Na-Na-Nah-Na, Na-Na-Nah-Na, Hey, Hey, Hey Goodbye!

    Supe Carrillo!

  5. The Oracle says:

    Looks like Jacobi’s announcement was more inspirational than I expected. Progressives know that it will get harder to defeat the Carillo machine each election. Jacobi’s incompetence and her inevitable defeat would (and still may if she doesn’t do the honorable thing and drop out) have lasting damage.

  6. Bill me says:

    @ef Hutton-careful what you ask for.

  7. Beef King says:

    Carrillo and Carpenter are both devils we know.
    Carrillo is more moderate than Carpenter, and is better for the county as a whole, but not necessarily for the district he represents.
    I will vote for the candidate that has the best plan to encourage economic recovery in the lower Russian River.

    A friendly note for E.F Hutton- before linking that name to your comments you might want to remember…
    the company was sold to their competitors in a cloud of embarrassment due to incompetent and criminal leadership.

  8. E.F. Hutton says:

    “Let’s carefully look into who is paying CARRILLO to run. Always, always, follow the money.”

  9. J L Anderson says:

    Once again, searching for the lesser of (left-wing) evils.

    Sad state of affairs.

  10. Irritated says:

    A bombastic in-your face style he employs is not productive and will not produce results. And what has he been up to the last 16 years that gives him insights to today’s realities?

  11. Money Grubber says:

    ANOTHER ” lifer ” politician who knows little except how to flap his lips and chatter away as if he knows something that the voters do not.

    What are his job skills aside from being a lifelong politician? Nothing.

    Vote “NO” on lifelong politicians who seek office for lack of anything else to do in their retirement years.

  12. cate says:

    Strangely I find myself agreeing with Harry. I say this because, as a conservative, Carrillo would not be my natural choice.
    However, I have to point out that, using the same logic liberals used against anyone opposing obama in 2008, the people trying to oust Carrillo must be racists.

  13. Hunter says:

    He could get a lof of votes in West County if he could credibly address road maintenance.

  14. Missy says:

    I like Efren in spite of him being for Dutra (BAD), the winery clearing (BAD) & the support of illegals (BAD). In spite of those 3 awful horrible things he is still pro-business, he’s pro-police department, he’s for small business & business in general.

  15. bill me says:

    Let’s carefully look into who is paying Carpenter to run. Always, always, follow the money. This race will be about “green” but not environmental green.

  16. MCS says:

    As a resident of Petaluma, I am pleased to see a candidate I can now help fund to unseat Carrillo. And yes, Carrillo’s record on the environment speaks for itself, volumes in fact, as his was the deciding vote to amend the Sonoma County General Plan and grant numerous exceptions to its policies to allow a big effin asphalt plant at the edge of a community whose residents and city leaders didn’t want it.

  17. You must be kidding? says:

    Ernie Carpenter was the first consultant on the Preservation Ranch project that he now claims to abhor. HYPOCRISY! As a former Supervisor, he should know that it is inappropriate to take a position on ANY project that does not have a certified final EIR…way too early in the public process. And he was the original lobbyist for this project to begin with…

    This is more about fattening his pension than the environment.

  18. The Hammer says:

    This is a joke, right?

  19. Harry Callahan says:

    The progressive west county snake pit has another leftist trying to claw his way to the top after a long absence from the din of what passes for politics out there.

    From the front porch, Carrillo is the only one running so far that is beginning to make a modicum of sense.

  20. bear says:

    Words fail me.