Jun 10

Hispanic Leaders to Speak at the Windsor/North County Democratic Club

Jenny Chamberlain and Herman J. Hernandez, prominent leaders of the Sonoma County Hispanic community, will speak at the Windsor/North County Democratic Club on Thursday, June 22 at 7 p.m. at the Windsor Round Table Pizza, 8499 Old Redwood Hwy.

Ms. Chamberlain currently serves as the President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Sonoma County. The chamber was founded in 1988 with the mission supporting business and civic opportunities, while promoting the significance of the Hispanic community and its impact on our society. Ms. Chamberlain was formerly the Vice President of Los Cien – Latino Leaders Sonoma County. Additionally, she is the District Director for Fourth District County Supervisor James Gore.

Mr. Hernandez is the founder and chairman of Los Cien, Sonoma County’s largest Latino leadership organization, which promotes civic involvement and voter registration within the Latino community. Los Cien, started in 2009, works to empower Latino youth to become more active community leaders.

The presentation will focus on Latino community issues including education and economic disparity, immigration rights, civic engagement, voter registration, and collaborative efforts. The meeting is free and open to all. Pizza will be served.

May 31

Journalist Michael Levitin Speaks at Windsor/North County Democratic Club – May 25th

Journalist Michael Levitin shared his perspective on Donald Trump’s war against the media at the May 25th meeting. With mainstream media now being portrayed by Trump as the “enemy of the American people,” Levitin outlined three suggestions for journalists in the current, overcharged environment. He urged journalists to continue to report facts and the evidence of corruption, to report on the resistance to the administration, and to report on positive solutions and fresh ideas.

Mr. Levitin grew up in Forestville and is a 1994 graduate of El Molino High School, where he took classes in the (since closed) journalism department. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz, he went to Bolivia in 2000 as an English language instructor. While there, he began covering the Bolivian Water Wars, an attempt by an American corporation to privatize the Bolivian water system, for the LaPaz English language newspaper, The Bolivian Times. From 2005-2009, in Berlin, he covered politics, the environment and culture. During a 2011 visit to the U.S. he found himself in the midst of the Occupy Movement in New York City. The Occupy Movement shifted his perspective on mainstream journalism; he joined the protest and co-founded the Occupy Wall Street Journal, which reported with a political activist’s point of view, providing a voice for the 99%. He now feels that this type of advocacy journalism has largely been co-opted by the right, giving rise to platforms like Breitbart and even more extreme media outlets of the Alt-Right. But he feels that mainstream fixtures, led by The New York Times and the Washington Post, have again become more significant in defense of our democratic institutions.

Mr. Levitin now lives in Berkeley and is a contributing voice on KPFA radio’s Project Censored program. Additionally, he is active in the resistance organization Indivisible Berkeley. Violence at Berkeley civil demonstrations concerns him and, more generally, he sees few solutions for the partisan divisions in the U.S. He feels that politicians like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have adopted the platform of the Occupy Movement. This approach of reducing the wealth and influence of the American oligarchs, the 1%, is the key to returning power to the American people.

The next meeting of the Windsor Democratic Club will be on June 22 will focus on Hispanic issues with speakers Jenny Chamberlain and Herman G. Hernandez.

Barry Hirsch

May 28

Sustainability Advocate Lauren Lum Speaks to Windsor Democrats

At the April 27th meeting of the Windsor/North County Democratic Club, Sonoma County program specialist Lauren Lum described opportunities offered by the county to support energy efficiency upgrades to both residential and commercial properties. The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program offers a variety of options to save energy, lower utility bills, and to make a structure more comfortable.

County property owners can begin with an energy assessment done using strict diagnostic testing performed by a participating contractor who can be chosen from a list on the Energy Independence Office’s website, www.sonomacountyenergy.org. Ms. Lum suggested that efficiency upgrades can range from do-it-yourself installation of low flow showerheads to energy efficient replacement windows and furnaces, as well as rooftop solar panels. Improvements costing more than $2,500 may be eligible for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing through the county’s Energy Independence Program. Sonoma County will fund the upgrades for a loan term of 10 or 20 years at an interest rate of 7 per cent. Loan payments are included as part of the property tax assessment.

Ms. Lum came to Sonoma County as an Americorps CivicSpark fellow after her graduation from Regis University with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Peace and Justice Studies. As a CivicSpark fellow she worked in the Sonoma County Energy and Sustainability Division. At the end of her fellowship, she was hired as a fulltime program specialist in that division. In addition to this work she is very engaged as a volunteer with Daily Acts, a Sonoma County non-profit organization.

The mission of Daily Acts is to create more self-reliant communities by transforming homes and landscapes into sustainable and resilient ecosystems. The organization provides the skills and resources to support people to plant a garden, harvest rainwater, install a greywater system, convert a lawn, and/or start a compost bin, as well as many other projects that help to make our community more environmentally friendly. The organization, headquartered in Petaluma, was founded in 2002 by Trathen Heckman, a former professional snowboarder. More information on Daily Acts and the annual Community Resilience Challenge can be found at www.dailyacts.org.

In addition to Lauren Lum, Windsor Town Councilman Sam Salmon was on hand to share updates on several Windsor issues. He addressed ongoing negotiations concerning a new contract for garbage collection services in Windsor. The awarding of a contract to current bidders has become complicated by the threat of CEQA-related litigation by one of the bidders. Mr. Salmon is hopeful that the services can be awarded to a company that can process the waste locally, reversing the environmental costs of shipping waste to locations outside the county. He also shared the progress on the ongoing project to improve infrastructure to better connect central Windsor on each side of US 101.

Alos, Val Campbell updated the group on the next planned meeting of the group Indivisible Windsor, and Betsy Mallace reported on a bill recently introduced in Congress by Representative Jeff Denham to require the U.S. government to take land west of Windsor into trust for the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians. The bill is not supported by our local Congressman, Jared Huffman.


Barry Hirsch

May 14

Journalist Michael Levitin to speak at May 25th meeting

Michael Levitin, a Forestville native and editor-in-chief of Occupy.com, will speak on “The Media Renaissance: Is Our Fake President Pushing Journalism into a New Truth-Telling Frontier?,” at the Windsor Democratic Club on Thursday, May 25, at 7 p.m.

Mr. Levitin worked as a Newsweek correspondent in Berlin for many years, covering European politics and culture, before returning to the Bay Area, where he reports on politics, climate and activist movements that are reshaping America. As a member of Indivisible Berkeley and a contributor to the KPFA Project Censored program, he will discuss ways that the anti-Trump protests have ignited a new politics of resistance, starting with the media.

Mr. Levitin will share his perspective regarding how a new generation of journalists have been energized to report the truth in an environment in which the current president regularly makes statements that are verifiably false. An atmosphere reminiscent of the Nixon Watergate scandals has motivated journalists to continue to report the truth of the administration’s involvement with Russia during the 2016 campaign.

The meeting is at the Windsor Round Table Pizza, 8499 Old Redwood Hwy. The program is free and open to all. Pizza will be served.

Apr 23

April 27th presentation: Saving energy, water, and money

Lauren Lum, the Program Specialist at the Energy and Sustainability Division of Sonoma County, will speak on Thursday, April 27th, about the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, and answer questions. She works with home owners and business owners as they make building improvements and behavior changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water, prevent pollution, and divert waste.

SCEIP includes financing to property owners for energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and water conservation upgrades, payable back to the County through the owner’s property tax bill, as well as other resources and tools. Lauren’s colleague Jose Landaverde, the Information and Communications Analyst in the Sonoma County Energy and Sustainability Division, will join her to co-present on SCEIP and the services offered by the division.

Lauren will also speak about the Sonoma County non-profit organization Daily Acts and its offerings, including the Community Resilience Challenge.

We’ll also hear brief presentations by representatives of State Senator Mike McGuire, County Supervisor James Gore, and the new organization Indivisible Windsor.

The meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., at the Windsor Round Table Pizza restaurant, 8499 Old Redwood Highway, is free and open to the public. Pizza will be served.

Mar 24

Deb Fudge Speaks to the Windsor/North County Democrats

At a March 23 meeting presided over by club president Rick Massell, Windsor Mayor Deb Fudge touched on a variety of topics during her presentation. She began by discussing the reaction to the United Community Resolution passed by the Town Council at its March 1 meeting. Similar in intent to a sanctuary city declaration, the resolution was cited on CSN News, an alt-right commentary website founded in 1998 by Brent Bozell III, whose motto is “the Right News. Right Now.” Following the story on CSN, numerous hate-filled e-mails were sent to Ms. Fudge, which surprised her; she now considers those to be a “sign of the times.”

Mayor Fudge discussed Windsor’s Urban Growth Boundary, which will be placed on this November’s ballot. The proposed boundaries will be generally unchanged from those in place for the past 20 years, with only an insignificant expansion. She also reported that the SMART train opening is quite close with the permitting and testing process nearing an end. Trains will be running on real-time schedules without passengers in the coming days as a final “dry run.” A parking lot of 42 spaces has been created at the airport station, although she conceded that station parking is a work in progress. Riders are encouraged to use bikes and services such as Uber to get to stations, or to just walk. The Bay Area Clipper card is the encouraged means of payment for SMART travelers; that card can be used on many Bay Area transit systems including BART and the Golden Gate ferry.

Ms. Fudge spoke about her work as a Climate Reality leader with the Climate Reality Project, founded in 2006 by former Vice President Al Gore, with the mission of “moving the climate revolution forward with action.” She introduced Sonoma County Democratic Chair and former Sonoma City Councilperson, Laurie Gallian, who recently completed training as a Climate Reality leader at the organization’s Denver leadership training in early March. Mayor Fudge continued with the environmental theme by discussing a Windsor area business, BamCore, which has developed a unique building system using naturally sustainable bamboo as the key component for its hollow wall system. The system was invented by BamCore founder William McDonald as an environmentally-friendly replacement for traditional lumber.


In addition to Mayor Fudge’s presentation, club member Denise Dixon reported on a “Know Your Rights” seminar on March 22, which was co-sponsored by the Town of Windsor, Fourth District Supervisor James Gore, and the Sonoma County Public Defender’s Office. The seminar, held at the Furth center in Windsor, was intended to get the word out that everyone has rights, including our undocumented community. Instructions were shared on how to deal with an encounter with representatives of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (A full explanation of these rights is on the National Immigration Law Center’s website at www.nilc.org ).

Barry Hirsch

Mar 15

Mayor Fudge to Address Windsor/North County Democratic Club

Windsor Mayor Debora Fudge will address the Windsor/North County Democratic Club on Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at the Windsor Round Table Pizza, 8499 Old Redwood Highway. One topic will be the resolution adopted by the Windsor Town Council at its March 1 meeting, declaring Windsor a “united community that values its diversity and the contributions of all residents, and supports the civil rights, safety and dignity of all Windsor residents.” The resolution is similar in tone to a sanctuary city declaration, as the town will continue the policy of not enforcing existing punitive immigration laws.

Mayor Fudge will describe numerous negative responses that she has received since the adoption of the “united community” resolution, which have included hate filled rhetoric. She will also discuss the implications of the resolution for the community.

Newly-elected as the Chair of the Board of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART), Ms. Fudge will discuss the extension of the rail line from San Rafael to Larkspur Landing. Funding for the extension is in place, with a $22.5 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration plus $20 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Despite the funding, some in San Rafael are resistant to the project due to downtown traffic concerns and impacts on the city’s Transit Center.

The March 23rd meeting is free and open to the public. Pizza will be served.


— Barry Hirsch

Feb 24

Report: Sam Salmon Speaks to the Windsor/North County Democratic Club

Windsor Town Councilmember Sam Salmon spoke at the February 23 meeting of the Windsor/North County Democratic Club. Mr. Salmon described what he termed “the trials and tribulations” of representing a minority position on the Council for the past three years. Often the lone dissenter on issues related to town development and growth, he shared his strategies for navigating that political reality.

Having served on the Council since 1994, Mr. Salmon has chosen to vote his conscience while advocating for his position in a collegial way. He has consistently opposed recent housing developments and is concerned that related traffic issues have not been adequately addressed. The removal of oak trees on the Oliver’s Market and Windsor Oaks projects played a significant part of his opposition to these projects adjacent to the Town Green.

Political contributions to the campaign of candidates in the 2016 Town Council election cycle is another concern of this long-serving council member. Mr. Salmon cited contributions from development interests to the campaigns of Deb Fudge and Bruce Okrepkie as further evidence of the problems of money in politics. Additionally, Mr. Salmon sees no real upside for growth in Windsor. He contends that Windsor offers few employment opportunities and that growth should happen in larger Bay Area cities where more jobs are generated and available.

Mr. Salmon addressed the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians’ proposed tribal homeland on 564 acres located west of Starr Road, east of Eastside Road, and south of Windsor River Road. A bill (HR 2538) introduced by Congressman Jered Huffman in May 2015 to create the homeland by an act of Congress, rather than an administrative act by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was not voted on by the end of the legislative session in January 2017. A new, similar bill has been introduced by Republican Congressman Jeff Denham of Modesto. Mr. Salmon is unclear as to what actions will be taken by the new administration, but feels that the Town of Windsor was given misleading advice regarding the inevitability of the creation of the Lytton homeland by either the Congress or the BIA. In retrospect he feels that the Town, when counseled that the outcome was not in doubt, rushed to make the best possible deal with the Lytton Band. He now concludes that the federal government may not approve the proposal.

Finally, Mr. Salmon looks forward to the adoption of a new Windsor General Plan in 2018. After that is done, he will consider his future on the Council before deciding whether to run for reelection in November 2018.


Also at the meeting: the Windsor Indivisible group, organizing around the principles outlined in the Indivisible Guide, to resist the Trump agenda, announced that their kickoff meeting will be on Tuesday, March 14, at 7 p.m. at the Windsor Round Table Pizza. For more information e-mail to windsorindivisible@gmail.com or follow Windsor Indivisible on Facebook.

And also at the meeting: Denise Dixon provided information about what is happening with the immigrant community she is in touch with at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Windsor. She said there are two non-threatening (to immigrants) ways that the rest of us can get involved: work at one of the food distribution centers, and volunteer with Catholic Charities for one or more of the immigrant-related services provided by that organization.


— Barry Hirsch

Feb 19

Sam Salmon to speak at February 23rd meeting

Sam Salmon, a local attorney and longtime Windsor Town Council member, will speak at the Windsor/North County Democratic Club meeting at 7 p.m. on February 23.

Salmon, first elected to the Council in 1994, has found himself in the minority on some recently debated town issues. Most notably, he was the lone dissenting vote as the Council approved the Vintage Oaks project last May. He opposed that large housing project, on the former Windsorland Mobile Home Park site, due to the removal of large numbers of oak trees, as well as the project’s failure to include low-cost housing.

Salmon will discuss the challenge of expressing a consistent dissenting view while maintaining a collegial relationship with the other members of the council. His perspective on positive and constructive opposition in the context of governing, at the local level, may be applicable to the current situation for the Democratic Party on the federal level.

Note: There will also a short presentation by the Indivisible Windsor group that has just been set up. (The first meeting of that group is on Tuesday, March 14, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Windsor Round Table.)

The W/NCDC meeting, at the Windsor Round Table Pizza, 8499 Old Redwood Highway in Windsor, is free and open to the community. Pizza will be served.

— Barry Hirsch

Jan 27

Large Turnout for Club Meeting on January 26th

At the Windsor /North County Democratic Club meeting on January 26, an array of speakers representing a variety of political organizations informed the more than 60 people in attendance of actions that can be taken to resist the proposed policies of the new Trump administration. Many of those in the standing-room only crowd had attended Women’s Marches in Santa Rosa and elsewhere in the Bay Area and were looking for ways to continue to voice disapproval of the new government’s agenda.

Indivisible is a new national organization created by former congressional staffers who saw first-hand how the Tea Party faction of the GOP obstructed the Obama presidency. Tea Party tactics were the starting point from which these volunteers created a handbook for resisting Trump, available online at www.indivisibleguide.com. Local chapters of Indivisible are springing up throughout Sonoma County. Val Campbell from Healdsburg, Sandy McCracken from Santa Rosa, and Sandy Dobbins from Windsor all spoke and described the work of the organization. Calls to local members of Congress are being made, asking them to oppose cabinet nominees. Visits to the offices of elected officials are also being planned.

Healdsburg resident Tessa Kraft discussed the work of Organizing for Action, which grew from the Obama for America campaign organization. Since the 2012 re-election campaign of President Obama, OFA has focused on issue advocacy. They are now phoning California congressional districts represented by Republicans, asking Democrats there to express support for the Affordable Care Act to their representative.

Long-time Petaluma activist Dale Axelrod was on hand to inform the audience about Our Revolution, an outgrowth of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Axelrod presented a laundry list of issues of concern to him, ranging from money in politics to the integrity of the voting process. More information can be found at www.ourrevolution.com. The group is currently urging people to ask their California Assembly member to support SB 54, the California Values Act, which will create safe spaces and expand protections for undocumented immigrants.

Janet Reynolds and Val Hinshaw from the Political Organizing Committee of the Sonoma County Democratic Party talked about the activities of that group. POC’s major focus is the election of candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party. Voter registration is also ongoing, and the group will be working to preserve rent control in Santa Rosa, which will be decided by a June 6 ballot measure.

Gail Jonas, a retired Healdsburg attorney and dedicated political activist, shared with the group how grassroots organizing defeated Healdsburg Measure R in November’s election. The measure proposed lifting the existing growth management ordinance and expanding new housing. Jonas, along with some dedicated friends, organized precinct walks throughout the community. The measure was defeated in spite of support from the city council and city administrators. Gail suggests keeping advocacy fun and respectful; David can still defeat Goliath.

— Barry Hirsch