WatchSonoma Watch

Carrillo, Carpenter wrangle over Preservation Ranch

The three candidates for the 5th District seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors debated Wednesday night: They are, left to right, Efren Carrillo, Ernie Carpenter and Veronica Jacobi. (Crista Jeremiason / PD)


Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo and former Supervisor Ernie Carpenter traded sharp jabs Wednesday night over a controversial timber-to-vineyard conversion project that is sure to become a key election issue in the race for the 5th District supervisorial seat.

The issue — and the intensity of the exchanges in a bid to win environmental votes in the west county district — took center stage in a candidates’ forum in Graton that included former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi.

Carrillo accused Carpenter of being a paid lobbyist for what he characterized as an early incarnation of the Preservation Ranch project, a forest-to-vineyard conversion proposal on 20,000 acres outside of Annapolis.

“Make no question about it. Mr. Carpenter was hired as a lobbyist by a vineyard developer,” said Carrillo, adding that he objected to questions about the issue coming from “The father of Preservation Ranch.”

Carpenter repeatedly called Carrillo’s claim a “prevarication,” pointing out that the consulting work he did in the late 1990s was not tied to Preservation Ranch, but rather to 80,000 acres of coastal forestlands.

“I never worked on Preservation Ranch. I worked on the Coastal Forestlands project of 80,000 acres of which now 40, 000 are owned by the Nature Conservancy and the other 20,000 are put into a bank for carbon mitigation,” he said.

“If he wants to call me a lobbyist that’s fine, I’ll call him the father of asphalt plants in biotic areas,” Carpenter said, referring to Carrillo’s key vote approving the Dutra Materials asphalt plant south of Petaluma.

Carpenter repeatedly said he was opposed to Preservation Ranch and directly asked Carrillo to state his position.

Carrillo, who refused to say how he would vote, insisted that taking a position on Preservation Ranch prior to the completion of the county environmental review process would be “irresponsible” given the “quasi-judicial” role of the Board of Supervisors in the process.

The barrage of attacks between Carpenter and Carrillo dominated the first part of the forum at the Graton Community Building hosted by the Sonoma County League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women.

Jacobi, who served one term on the Santa Rosa Council, tried to stay clear of the back and forth, while saying she opposed such timber-to-vineyard conversions such as Preservation Ranch.

After the first hour of debate, candidates were asked questions that ranged from what would do to create jobs and stabilize the economy to whether they supported medical marijuana.

Carrillo said that while he supported the use of medical marijuana, illegal growing operations were becoming a major safety and environmental degradation issue.

On creating jobs, Jacobi suggested focusing on turning the county into an incubator for green jobs. She also said she supported the union-backed “living wage,” as did the other candidates.

“When the conditions are right everybody can pay a living wage,” she said.

The candidates agreed on a number of issues, including the need to focus on local farming and bridging the gap between longtime traditional farmers and the county’s new breed of farmers.

Carpenter said that fostering the creation of “direct markets to consumers will help local growers.”

Carpenter, who left the board 16 years ago, jumped into the race the day before the March 9 filing deadline. His said he was running because Carrillo’s record on land-use issues troubled him and that he felt he had the best chance to beat Carrillo.

In the debate, Carrillo defended his environmental record and said he was a strong supporter of preserving open space as well as creating parks for the county’s low income communities.

The League of Women Voters is hosting other debates among candidates for supervisorial races.

Today, candidates for the 1st District seat will square off at 7:30 p.m. at the Sonoma Community Center.

Candidates for the 3rd district race will debate each other during a forum at 6 p.m. on May 2 at Rohnert Park City Hall.



16 Responses to “Carrillo, Carpenter wrangle over Preservation Ranch”

  1. Dont lose your rights says:

    The Government has been making massive “Land Grabs” in Sonoma County. The people are told this is being done to preserve our farm land. This is a lie! Our farm lands have been here since the beginning of time. The Government doesn’t need to “preserve” the land. Open Space Act is a guise for a much larger government program called Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is the feds way to take private property ownership away from the people. Eventually the Gov’t will own all the farmland and begin to lease back the land to the people. It is a way for the Gov’t to take more. In a private conversation during one of these “land grabs” with a Sonoma County official up for re-election, I told him that that there was a bigger picture and the bigger picture is that Gov’t is sticking a foot in the door to do what they want later down the road. He told me that’s exactly what we are doing. And ultimately there was nothing we could do about it. Wake up Sonoma County! You rights are being revoked faster than you think. NO FARMS = NO FOOD!

  2. StopBoscosCorruptCronies! says:

    Stop the New Dutra Asphalt Plant in Petaluma – DID YOU KNOW? The County of Board of Supervisors has tentatively approved a 38 acre asphalt production plant at the entrance to Petaluma! – WHAT CAN YOU DO?! SPREAD THE WORD!!

    Stop the New Dutra Asphalt Plant in Petaluma

    The County of Board of Supervisors has tentatively approved a 38 acre asphalt production plant at the entrance to Petaluma!


    SPREAD THE WORD!! Talk to people and help get signatures on a petition. Email this link to everyone you know! Download the flyers and distribute them!


    Defeat 1% Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carillo wholly engineered by people like Bosco and 1% former Fifth District Supervisor Eric Koenigshofer, an attorney and long-standing member in good faith of the Bosco Boys.

    Supes OK tasting room on Sonoma coast

    Carrillo it seems is in the developer’s pocket, but shame on you Shirley. … For those of you who didn’t attend the hearing Doug Bosco is the vineyards lawyer! … Money continues to talk – shame on you Efren & Shirley.

    Doug Bosco & His Phantom Railroad

    An entirely greater level of political interference is manifestly run on behalf of Bosco and allied financial interests by many members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. As only one example, the precocious political career of present Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carillo was wholly engineered by people like Bosco and former Fifth District Supervisor Eric Koenigshofer, an attorney and long-standing member in good faith of the Bosco Boys. In the final weeks of the race, Carillo’s campaign received a virtually unheard-of campaign donation of $23,500 from none other than Bosco’s Northwestern Pacific Railroad business partner, Skip Berg, by way of his company Berg Holdings. Syar, the gravel mining company, gave over $8,000. Bosco himself chipped in $5,000. Carillo’s opponent, long-time Sonoma County public servant Rue Furch, ran on a platform opposing many of the Bosco Boys’ pet projects.

    Doug Bosco & His Phantom Railroad

    To be clear, much of what is notable about the plan to restart freight service via Bosco, Berg, Evergreen Natural Resources, and their NWP Co., then, is that it is based not on any existing cargo that would benefit from access to markets that the rail line would be uniquely suited to provide, but rather depends on such cargo being generated whereas it does not presently exist. Both the gravel mining and trash hauling schemes are emerging in this context.

    Fast-tracking all of the aforementioned proposals through the political and legal systems, meanwhile, requires friends in high places, which Bosco and company have in abundance. One fast-track route comes by way of Bosco’s wife, retired Sonoma County Superior Court judge Gayle Guynup. There are strong rumors that Guynup is even on the verge of un-retirement. She has reportedly gone back to school to become certified as a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) attorney. She may soon be appointed as a Sonoma County CEQA judge, meaning many of the legal challenges brought against extractive industries would be routed to her courtroom. The Sonoma County judge who will preside over the lawsuit against Syar’s gravel mining proposal, meanwhile, is a fellow named Elliot Daum who has close ties with Guynup.

    Bosco: The Curse That Keeps On Giving

    Bosco also married well. His wife, retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gayle Guynup, is the daughter of one of the North Coast’s most successful homespun entrepreneurs, Victor Guynup, whose business interests have ranged from raw log export (i.e., killing hundreds of millworker jobs) to gravel mining to ranching. Bosco and Guynup were financial partners even during Bosco’s Congressional tenure, when Bosco was ostensibly supposed to be helping regulate the man whose fortune Bosco’s wife is heir to.

    Be that as it may, Bosco’s relevance to local politics has not faded. This past December, California Governor Jerry Brown, who was then California Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, held a conference with California legislators for an initial discussion regarding his plans to carry out fiscal austerity measures. Earlier in the week, Brown had reportedly conducted a conference call with 10 top advisers to prep him for the session. One person among this extremely select group was Doug Bosco.

  3. Dont lose your rights says:

    DO NOT TRUST EFREN! He is everything you hate about the government and much more!

  4. RICHARD says:

    Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo is on a redevelopment oversight board. At that boards first meeting he was going to approve all redevelopment project without given any of them due consideration.

    That board was given the info package at the start of the meeting, they had not seen it before the meeting. Still he was going to approve all the projects without even looking at the list.

    One member of that board insisted they at least look at the list. That is what they did: look at the list, a cursory look.

    All of the projects were approved. A monkey with a rubber approval stamp could have done that at far lesser cost.

  5. Strike Three says:

    Stop the democrat march to the leftist paradise. Do not and I repeat do not, vote for any democrat. The end result will be a national democrat united front to consolidate their socialist dream.

    This country is in trouble. We don’t need a more oppressive national government and we need to turn the leftist drift locally if we are going to fix the economy, create jobs and restart the rise in our standard of living.

    We need a country devoted to developing, not constantly complaining about false perceptions of injustice, unfairness and inequities.

  6. Skippy says:

    I pine for the days when Progressives didn’t have such an inflated view of their self-importance.
    I long for the days when Liberals didn’t believe they could raise and lower the oceans by making people get onto smelly, crowded, expensive and perpetually unreliable 19th century trains.
    I pine for the days when Big Govt left law-abiding farmers alone ‘cuz they understood that’s where the food comes from.
    As for the new vineyards, I don’t think we have near enough. They pay the bills around here and the more the merrier.

  7. Canthisbe says:

    It turns out that those “green jobs” are only green for the politicians doling out the taxpayer money and their cronies who are receiving the taxpayer money. Not so good for creating real jobs.

    “As California Collapses, Obama Follows Its Lead
    Obama regularly asserts that green jobs will play a crucial role in the future of the American economy, but California, a trend-setter in the field, has yet to reap such benefits. Green jobs, broadly defined, make up only about 2 percent of jobs in the state—about the same proportion as in Texas. In Silicon Valley, the number of green jobs actually declined between 2003 and 2010. Meanwhile, California’s unemployment rate of 10.9 percent is the nation’s third highest, behind only Nevada and Rhode Island.
    When Governor Jerry Brown predicted a half-million green jobs by the end of the decade, even The New York Times deemed it “a pipe dream.”

    But California’s politicians, living in what’s become essentially a one-party state, have doubled down on green orthodoxy. As the president at least tries to cover his flank by claiming to support an “all-in” energy policy, California has simply refused to exploit much of its massive oil and gas resources.
    Does this matter? Well, Texas has created 200,000 oil and gas jobs over the past decade; California has barely added 20,000. The state’s remaining energy producers have been slowing down as the regulatory environment becomes ever more hostile even as producers elsewhere, including in rustbelt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, ramp up. The oil and gas jobs the Golden State political class shuns pay around $100,000 a year on average.
    Instead, California has forged ahead with ever-more extreme renewable energy mandates that have resulted in energy costs roughly 50 percent above the national average and expected to rise substantially from there. This tends to drive out manufacturing and other largely blue-collar energy users”.


  8. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    “carbon mitigation” Am I crazy or what? Carbon credits from our beautiful coastal forrests given to corporate polluters so they can continue to pollute unabated.

    It’s like stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

    As for the new vineyards, I think we have enough. The wine industry pretty much controls this county. I hate to see the coastal communities and the coast be turned into vineyards. I’m beginning to see vineyards as eyesores like empty lots filled with garbage and weeds. I pine for the walnut, apple, pear, prune and citrus orchards of old. I pine for the lost vernal pools, oak forests, rock formations lost to vineyards.

  9. Jim Bennett says:

    John Q. Public is describing a

    Sometimes if you squint or read fast it almost seems like genuine political process.

    ‘I’m more green’.
    No, ‘I’m more green’.

    We’re being played.


    I’d like to see a ‘wrangle’ over who’s more Constitutional.

    That’s where progressives get… regressive.

  10. Camino Alto says:

    “Carrillo, who refused to say how he would vote, insisted that taking a position on Preservation Ranch prior to the completion of the county environmental review process would be “irresponsible” given the “quasi-judicial” role of the Board of Supervisors in the process.”

    Translation: “I’m not going to tell you that I am all for this project because the majority of my constituents are against it.”

    The truth hurts, doesn’t it.

  11. Thomas Morabito says:

    Since Efren is unable to clarify his relationship with the big corporate wineries that own 80% of the vineyards in Sonoma County, let me try to do so. He loves them. He worships the ground they walk on. He kisses their feet. They say jump, he says how high. Hopefully this clears up any confusion concerning Supervisor Chainsaw Carrillo’s “quasi-position” on Preservation Ranch.

  12. Canthisbe says:

    I had no idea that meaningless platitudes enjoyed such strong local support.

  13. John Q. Public says:

    What a load of socialist garbage. Living wage, green economy, power to the people. All of this is being tried right here in Sonoma County right now and look at he result. Sky high unemployment, house prices falling faster that a speeding liberal in a 65 MPH zone, excessive taxes and ever growing taxes, failing schools, local governments that are fiscally in the tank and public pension liabilities so large there is no known solution to solvency. To cap it off, we have the land grabs by these so called environmental apparatchiks calling it a “Preservation Ranch.”

    All of this was played out in the old Soviet system and Cuba where it broke both economies. But the bright lights of Sonoma County politics keep the eternal flame of socialism alive here in the land of marijuana and local government that believes in taking from all of us for the cause.

  14. bear says:

    Ernie Carpenter has anger management issues. He’s in bed with vineyard developers. He’s not a nice guy.

    Vote for somebody else.

  15. GAJ says:

    Pie in the sky idiots who’ve never run a business in their lives.

    People make their wage a living wage as they climb the ladder through frugality and something perhaps these loons have never heard of.


  16. Canthisbe says:

    “On creating jobs, Jacobi suggested focusing on turning the county into an incubator for green jobs. She also said she supported the union-backed “living wage,” as did the other candidates.

    See “How the “Living Wage” Sneaks Socialism into Cities”

    “Over the last decade, a savvy left-wing political movement, supported by radical economic groups, liberal foundations, and urban activists, has lobbied for a government-guaranteed “living wage” for low-income workers, considerably higher than the current minimum wage. ***

    This is bad news for cities. The living wage poses a big threat to their economic health, because the costs and restrictions it imposes on the private sector will destroy jobs—especially low-wage jobs—and send businesses fleeing to other locales”.


    “When the conditions are right everybody can pay a living wage,” she said.”

    Lots of people can afford to pay $10 for a loaf of bread. Does that make a loaf of bread worth $10?

    Instead of meaningless platitudes, tell us what conditions need to exist so that every worker is worth a living wage and exactly what you will do as county commissioner to bring about those conditions in Sonoma County.