Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman takes his seat Thursday in the 113th Congress, facing big issues — budget cutbacks, the national debt limit and gun control — with a remarkably diverse freshman class and, he believes, a will to get things done.
Imagine a Republican county supervisor from Crescent City winning the North Coast seat in Congress and holding onto it for 20 years. That’s what happened when Don Clausen, a World War II veteran, won the 1962 election in a district that stretched — as it does now, with some variations — from Marin County to Oregon. But that area of rugged coastline and liberal-leaning voters now has no Republicans in Congress or the Legislature, nor does any GOP candidate have a shouting chance of success in today’s election.
Having already spent nearly a quarter million dollars between them, the candidates for the 1st District county supervisorial seat headed into the fall election with diminished bank accounts. Predictions — and election history — suggest a long, costly contest encompassing east Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley. And indications are that what has so far been a hard-fought race will again veer into hostile tactics.
Like many Sonoma County cities over the past several years, Petaluma has dramatically cut spending as revenues slid and costs climbed. City workers make do with reduced supplies, older equipment and fewer coworkers. They have taken pay cuts, given up raises and seen entire departments outsourced. City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee said the time has come to stop simply cutting, cutting, cutting.
Sonoma County voters on Tuesday will begin the process of replacing retiring Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey and filling a heavily contested Assembly seat, likely creating first-ever runoffs between two Democrats. In addition, with new district boundaries in force for the first time, voters will have a say in four other races for Congress, the Assembly and state Senate. Tuesday’s election, the first statewide vote under California’s top two primary system, is expected to set up three November run-offs between two Democrats instead of a Democrat and a Republican.
A group of Petalumans has launched an effort to place a parcel tax on the November ballot that would pay for improvements to city recreational facilities, from walking trails to the community pool to athletic fields at local parks. The ballot initiative would create a $52 annual parcel tax for 15 years, which organizers say will raise $12 million over that time.
Are public sector pensions Ponzi schemes propped up by taxpayers? That’s the opinion of political consultant Brian Sobel and SSU economist Robert Eyler, who used the term Thursday to describe the pension system for government workers. Officials with the county’s pension system and largest union took issue with the description. See what created all the buzz at SSU’s annual Economic Outlook Conference.