North County Candidates Speak

The Windsor/North County Democratic Club welcomed candidates endorsed by the Sonoma County Democratic Party to the club’s October 27th meeting. The candidates each gave a short presentation, followed by questions from the audience.

The county’s Democratic Party endorsed two candidates for the board of the Windsor Unified School District:

  • George Valenzuela is running for re-election, having served on the board since 2008. He has a long career in education as a teacher, attorney, and administrator. He is advocating for physical improvements to existing school facilities, but is fully aware of the challenges in securing funding. He also recognizes the need to provide support for students with English language deficiencies.
  • Esther Lemus, a Sonoma County Deputy District Attorney, was appointed to the board in 2015 and is running to be elected to the remainder of the term. Ms. Lemus was born in Santa Rosa and moved to Windsor during her high school years. She returned to the area after college and law school. She wants to increase student’s readiness for college and to close the achievement gap caused by differing socio-economic conditions.

The county party also endorsed two candidates for Healdsburg City Council who have differing views on Healdsburg Measure R, which would amend the current Growth Management Ordinance:

  • Tim Meinken, a small winery owner, is the only candidate for Council who opposes Measure R. He has previously unsuccessfully run for this office. He wants to find ways to increase inclusionary housing on city-owned parcels, if Measure R fails. Mr. Meinken favors the creation of a Latino Advisory Board.
  • Joe Naujokas, a software developer, is a newcomer to politics who favors Measure R, feeling that new growth regulations will provide more affordable housing. He wants to see more support for local businesses and the Latino community.

Two candidates were endorsed for the Windsor Town Council:

  • Incumbent Deb Fudge had a Windsor government meeting which prevented her from attending the October 27th meeting; she spoke to the club earlier in the year.
  • Julia Donoho, an architect and attorney who failed in a bid for this same office in 2006, favors the construction of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge across U.S. 101 connecting the east and west sides of Windsor and helping to reduce the town’s auto traffic snarls. She would like to see a movie theater constructed near the Town Green, which she envisions as a way to keep people in town, supporting local businesses with a dinner and a movie combination

The Windsor/ North County Club will meet on Saturday, November 19, at 1:30 p.m. at the Windsor Round Table Pizza, 8499 Old Redwood Highway. New officers will be elected for two-year terms and topics for the club’s 2017 meetings will be discussed. Over the last few years the club has become a forum for the exploration of issues of concern to the entire North County region. Speakers have included area elected officials and experts in areas of concern to the county. The community is invited to get involved and to attend this upcoming meeting.


— Barry Hirsch

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