First-term District 4 Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore spoke at the Windsor/North County Democratic Club on July 27. Speaking informality, the 39-year-old Gore, who will become chair of the board of supervisors in January, offered insights to a broad range of issues he faces daily. Gore said that he enjoys the challenges of his position, whether those are complaints about potholes, meetings with constituents, passing the current county budget, or otherwise.
Gore noted that the recently-passed county budget provides more funding for road improvements than any other county in the state. He expressed hope that the twelve-cent-per-gallon state gas tax increase, which takes effect on November 1st, will provide additional funding to accelerate the rebuilding of deteriorating county roads.
Gore is considering proposing a measure to require a six-month per year residency requirement for homes in the county, to counteract the increase in vacation homes. He sees such a measure as a possible partial solution to the housing dilemma facing the county and the entire state.
Gore discussed the development of the Chanate Road property in Santa Rosa, calling the project approved by the supervisors as “imperfect”, but noting that 69 of the 85 acre site will be preserved as green space. Lessons learned from the Chanate process will taken into account as the board begins the development process for the former Sonoma County Water Agency parcel on West College Avenue, which the county now owns. Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins is leading leads the exploration of uses for this property, which is within her district. Gore said that a workforce housing component, possibly for area teachers, is receiving serious consideration.
On the political front, Gore continues to encourage people to get involved and to consider running for elective office. He hopes to see more women and Latinos running for office, and is open to meeting and mentoring potential candidates. He hopes that the trend of younger candidates continues, though he noted the challenge of serving on city councils or school boards: the workload and involvement is great, with a very low salary, making it necessary to have other employment, unless someone is retired or is independently wealthy.
Supervisor Gore said that he hopes to bring together the many non-profit organizations who are doing great work on numerous significant county problems, notably homelessness and the environment, theme he has touched on in previous visits with the club. In particular, he hopes to facilitate increased communication and coordination between organizations working in parallel in these areas. He termed this an effort to move into a world of greater “collective impact.”
— Barry Hirsch