Sweeping changes across the North Coast’s political landscape will present major challenges this election year both for voters and for candidates in state races, with one possible outcome being an almost entirely new and untested slate of leaders handling local problems in Sacramento.
Assemblyman Michael Allen says pension reform is “a work in progress,” with additional steps potentially including a hybrid system that shifts some of the risk for investment losses from taxpayers to public employees.
The state’s decision to grab local redevelopment funds will have a big impact in Santa Rosa, according to City Manager Kathleen Millison and Economic Development Director David Gouin. They say the city will lose more than 2,800 construction jobs and $84 million it had planned to invest in projects, programs and services. They want residents to contact the Legislature and urge lawmakers to postpone the Feb. 1 deadline.
Local government officials express horror, warning of ‘carnage’ to budgets, delays for critical community projects and setbacks for economic recovery efforts.
School officials are encouraged, expecting to enjoy a larger slice of the property-tax pie.
Assemblyman Michael Allen has been appointed to a high-profile state committee that will address a crisis with public employee pensions. But the choice is drawing concern from critics, given the Santa Rosa Democrat’s long history of advocating on behalf of unions.
H. Christian Gunderson, a Petaluma chiropractor and counselor, is running for an open seat in the state Assembly representing Marin County and a segment of Sonoma County including about half of Santa Rosa. “California needs healing,” Gunderson said, asserting that “doctors would make better politicians.”