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Yamada, Munn court North Bay voters in new Assembly district

Mariko Yamada, left, and John Munn


Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada and her challenger, John Munn, have five more months to introduce themselves to Sonoma County voters.

Under the state’s new open primary system, Yamada and Munn — the only candidates in the race — will face off not only June 5 but also in November’s general election.

The two, both from Davis, are competing for the new 4th District Assembly seat, which, on its western edge, takes in a small chunk of Sonoma County that includes parts of Rohnert Park and the Sonoma Valley.

The district spans six counties, including all of Lake and Napa counties and a sliver of the North Bay district currently represented by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat who is running for Congress.

The open primary gives North Bay voters more time to become familiar with the Democratic assemblywoman and her Republican rival, said Andy Merrifield, a Sonoma State University political scientist.

“This runoff election will give them an opportunity to take some time to look at the candidates,” Merrifield said. “Because of the redistricting the incumbent is unknown, so people may well be more interested.”

Both candidates have worked in government for many years.

Yamada, 61, running for a third and final term, is a social worker by training. She started in government in 1975 as a staff member to a Los Angeles County supervisor. She was a Yolo County supervisor before winning her 8th District Assembly seat in 2008.

Munn, 63, retired in 2010 from the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as a scientist specializing in erosion water quality. He headed the Yolo County Taxpayers Association until April and is making his fourth bid for an Assembly seat.

The two take a similar stance on the ratification of a state gambling agreement for the Indian tribe planning to open a casino outside Rohnert Park. Yamada voted against ratification and Munn said he probably would have too.

“Social workers in general are not real encouraging of more smoking, drinking and gambling,” Yamada said.

Munn said, “I’m not generally favorable toward increasing the number of casinos. I would have to be convinced there was a darn good reason.”

The two differ on another issue, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal for a sales tax increase and an income tax on top-earners.

Yamada termed Brown’s $6 billion tax package “a balanced approach to getting California out of this economic hole.”

Munn disagrees. “In the long run, it’s much wiser to grow the economy to increase revenues with the objective of balancing the budget,” he said.

Munn has staked his campaign largely on reviving the economy by reducing regulations on business. He proposes applying a sunset clause to existing regulations that govern business activity. Under his plan, their “practicality or feasibility” would have to then be proved before they were extended.

“I’m not talking about drastic reductions in the protections some of these regulations require,” he said. “I’m talking about reevaluating regulations that result in very small improvements in protection for immense costs.”

Yamada says government has a place in “encouraging” and “jumpstarting” economic growth, especially in new technologies, but its chief charge is education, public safety and public health.

5 Responses to “Yamada, Munn court North Bay voters in new Assembly district”

  1. Kirstin says:

    I agree, Clay. Not voting is not the answer. Voting for the “right” people is, even if they would seem to have little chance of winning. The more people put aside their apathy and VOTE, the better.

    In this area, I can’t think of a single incumbent running in the June election whom I would want to support. I urge voters to turn these insiders out and vote in fresh faces who exhibit fiscal responsibility and who support less government interference in all our lives.

    I’m not in this particular assembly district, but I did recommend Mr. Munn to someone who is.

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  2. Clay Mitchell says:

    I’ve met John Munn, and I like him. I feel that he has integrity and believes in fiscal responsibility, which is needed now more than ever in Sacramento. I’ve never met Ms. Yamada, though with the way things have been going in Sacramento, I’m skeptical of most incumbents right off the bat.

    While Yamada is the “incumbent,” the newly drawn district is over 60% “new” to her, which means that it should be a better race where both candidates have to work to become known and connect with the voters.

    So while this race may be a dry run for November, it’s still worth voting. The turnout is expected to be pretty low, which means the relative value of each vote that is cast is greater.

    The problem with withdrawing from the system or checking out is that it makes it difficult to effect real change. Take the SMART Re-vote initiative- many people who had opposed the SMART project decided to sit it out and not get involved…. which made it harder to gather the signatures that were required. SMART would have you believe that only a small fringe group opposed the project- which is ridiculous. The reality is that there were just a small group that was willing to work to make a change, and there was a much larger group who had been stricken by apathy. At one point, we were quite close to a 50-50 split on support for a re-vote…. but the establishment wouldn’t admit it, and individual disengagement doesn’t help.

    Are you not going to vote in the Supervisorial contest? That is one that will affect you substantially.

    I’m sorry, but I never see not voting as the answer.

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  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Steve K-the more you rightwingers say that you aren’t voting the gladder my heart. Thanks for making it easier for the progressives to get things done.

    Please, stay home.

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  4. Thank you for Voting! The CA State Assembly should be about vision, goals and putting the people first above parties or groups. If anyone has any questions on the 10th CA State Assembly race contact me at drgunderson@hotmail.com. Thank you

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  5. Steve Klausner says:

    Another good reason not to vote.

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