Mayor Foppoli discusses Windsor – August 2019

At the August 22, 2019, meeting of the Windsor Democratic Club, Mayor Dominic Foppoli spoke on his life in Windsor, his role as a Town council member and Mayor, and the Town’s accomplishments and challenges.

Foppoli grew up in Windsor. When it incorporated in 1992, he decided he wanted to become mayor. Now he’s looking forward to door-to-door campaigning in 2020 for the first town-wide election for mayor – he really enjoys talking to residents.

Fiscally, Windsor is in good shape, with the highest-rated roads in the county and the lowest crime rate. But very little housing has been built in the past ten years, affordable or otherwise. More than 1,000 units have been approved but not yet built because of rising construction costs.

The Town Council is working on affordable housing, using in lieu monies as leverage for government grants. Town money helped fund the new Veterans Village in Windsor (60 units), and the 16 units being built by Habitat for Humanity. The Town is now considering the Bluebird Center (old location of the Newsong Church), as well as other Town-owned sites, for affordable housing.

Windsor is also taking the lead in environmental issues. The largest floating solar field on West Coast is being built in Windsor. When completed, it will provide clean electrical power to all of the Town’s operations, particularly its wastewater facility, saving money, without any Town investment. And at the last council meeting, the Town became the first city to require that all future residential buildings, both single and multi-unit, be all-electric.

Foppoli said that there were a lot of amazing things that the Town could do, all costing money. He mentioned an aquatic complex ($15 million), a bike/pedestrian overpass for Route 101 (12 million), and a splash pad on the Town Green ($500,000 or more). But it’s not enough to just build these – for example, the aquatic complex would cost the town $500,000 annually to operate. Windsor has the lowest sales tax rate in the county; it’s up to residents to decide if they want to fund Town improvements with higher taxes.

Foppoli defended the plan for a deluxe hotel on the Town Green. He said that the lease of the Town-owned land, plus the transient occupancy tax ($60 per night per occupied room, if rooms go for $500 per night) could fund a new, larger library building, a new multi-jurisdiction administration building, a new location for the police department (with a secured vehicle lot), and a new recreation building in Keiser Park better suited for preschool care.

Foppoli said that being on Council was close to a full-time job. That the Council stipend is only a few hundred dollars per month means that it is rare for someone who works full-time to be on the Council. Foppoli said that if he didn’t have an income stream from his business, he wouldn’t be able to spend the needed time.

Foppoli concluded by saying that Windsor is greatest town in America, and that he wants to raise his (future) kids here.

Supervisor James Gore to speak at Town Hall in Windsor

On Monday night, September 23rd, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm, Supervisor James Gore will hold a town hall at the Windsor Grange #410, sponsored by the Windsor Democratic Club. Supervisor Gore will speak on several topics of major interest to Windsor and 4th District residents, including Sonoma County roads and wineries and wine events. Known for his passion and interesting stories about the issues he has dealt with in Sonoma County, Supervisor Gore will explain the problems that we all face and solutions that we must all involve ourselves in.

First elected in November 2014, Supervisor Gore is in his second term. He has been a moving force in dealing with the consequences of the fires which swept through our county in 2017. He organized neighborhoods in his district impacted by the fires into groups led by team captains, who have met to represent the victims and help them navigate their recovery. He has also been a strong proponent of much more housing being built in the county.

The Windsor Grange #410 is located at 9161 Starr Rd in Windsor. The event is free and open to the public. This town hall is in place of the regular (fourth Thursday) meeting of the Windsor Democratic Club.

Mayor Dominic Foppoli to speak to Windsor Dems on the “State of the Town”

On Thursday, Aug. 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Windsor Round Table Pizza restaurant, the Windsor Democratic Club will hear from Mayor Dominic Foppoli on the state of the Town of Windsor.

Foppoli was first elected to the town council in November 2014. His current Council term ends in 2022, but he has announced that he will run for mayor (a new, town-wide elected position) in November 2020.

Though his family’s roots run deep in the mountains of Italy and Nicaragua, Foppoli has dedicated his life to building his family’s legacy in Sonoma County. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and government from Dominican University, and an MBA in wine business from Sonoma State University.

Foppoli is co-founder and owner of Foppoli Wines, Benevolo Wines, and Windsor’s own Old Redwood Brewing Company. He is also co-owner of Christopher Creek Winery. Foppoli has been passionately involved in the Active 20-30 Club, a service organization benefiting local children and youth, for more than a decade. He is proud to serve as the youngest councilmember and mayor in the history of Windsor.

A question and answer period will follow the presentation.

As usual, the meeting is free and open to the public, and pizza will be served.

July 2019 meeting – cancelled

The club’s regular July meeting, scheduled for this coming Thursday, the 25th, is cancelled. Here are some alternatives:

* The Santa Rosa Democratic Club will hold its July meeting on Wednesday, the 24th. Details are here:

* The second set of Democratic presidential debates is on July 30th and 31st. More information is here:,_2019)

* The Sonoma County Fair runs from August 1st through the 11th. If you’re going to the fair, consider dropping by the Sonoma County Democratic Party booth, in Grace Pavilion, and saying hello to the volunteers who staff it. You can also take a selfie with (the full-size cutout of) Michelle Obama, or try the (free) game.

WDC at the 2019 County Fair

Every year, the Sonoma County Democratic Party (SCDP) has a booth at the Sonoma County Fair. The booth is staffed by volunteers, and the Windsor Democratic Club has committed to finding volunteers for the first day of the fair, August 1st.

Three volunteers are needed for each of three shifts: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The SCDP handles setup and take-down, so shift volunteers can focus on interacting with voters (or potential voters; volunteering includes voter registration). 

This is a great chance to talk to lots of people who want to see big political changes in 2020. Also, volunteers get a free pass to the fair for the day; that’s an opportunity to check out the rest of the fair, before and/or after a shift.

If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Rick Massell at , or (707) 838-7107. And feel free to bring a friend as a volunteer, too.

Go Dems!


Assembly District 2 Pre-Endorsement Conference

The Windsor Democratic Club is entitled to send five representatives to the Assembly District 2 Pre-Endorsement Conference, to be held the weekend of October 5-6. This conference, and similar conferences in other Assembly districts, is the first step in the California Democratic Party’s endorsement process for 2020 election contests.  (The California state primary is on March 3, 2020.)

Candidates who receive at least 70% of valid votes cast during a Pre-Endorsing Conference will automatically be endorsed by the California Democratic Party, unless challenged. (Challenges require a fair number of signatures from party representatives.)

Representatives for Pre-Endorsement Conferences can vote by mail as well as in person.

(California Assembly District 2 runs for Santa Rosa [parts of] north to the Oregon border.)

The representatives from the Windsor Democratic Club  were  selected at the club’s meeting on Thursday, June 27th, following a call for nominations. The selection was uncontested – no one who wanted to be a delegate was turned away. The five that were voted to be representatives are John Broughton, Julia Donoho, Albert Handelman, Rick Massell, and Rosa Reynoza.

Debate-watching party, June 27th

On Thursday, June 27th, the Windsor Democratic Club will host a debate watch party for the second night of the first set of debates among Democratic presidential candidates. Among the ten candidates participating on the 27th will be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg. (The other six are Michael Bennet, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.)

The event will be at the Windsor Round Table Pizza restaurant, as usual, but will start at 6 p.m., when the debate begins. It’s free and open to everyone, and pizza and drinks will be served.

Part of our debate-watching party will be a panel of local political folks, who will participate in an after-debate discussion.  That discussion will begin around 8 p.m., and end around 9 p.m. The panel consists of (alphabetically):

* Esther Lemus, Councilmember, Town of Windsor, and a former member of the Board of the Windsor Unified School District
* Jason Liles, a former chief of staff for State Senator Mike McGuire, as well as a former Healdsburg City Council member
* Alan Ramey, President, Wine Country Young Democrats, and chair of the Fundraising committee of the Sonoma County Democratic Party

The format for the panel involves answering (written) questions from the audience, as well as general thoughts and comments that panel members want to share.

Report from the May 23rd meeting – universal health care


Health care is a human right and a public good, like public safety, schools, and roads, and should be paid for with public money, Maria Behan of Sonoma County for Single-Payer said Thursday, May 23, at the Windsor Democratic Club’s regular monthly meeting at the Windsor Round Table Pizza.

Currently health care is treated as a commodity, like cars, cosmetics, or other consumer goods. Access to treatment is rationed by an individual’s ability to pay.

About half of people in the U.S., 150 million, have private insurance through an employer. Another 50 million are covered by Medicare. Medicaid covers 70 million. Those who do not receive health insurance through their work or from Medicare or Medicaid, typically those who are fully self-employed, must buy individual insurance if they can afford it. About 17 million people receive government subsidized private insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but many people who do not have employer-paid insurance make too much to get any subsidies.

In 2017 an estimated 28.5 million people were uninsured. One major reason is that the cost of healthcare insurance has risen faster than wages and inflation for most of the past decades.

This patchwork of private and government-funded insurance is inefficient, wasteful, and cruel. Since 2016, the U.S. has been spending roughly 18% of its GDP on health care, the highest percentage in the world, by far. Despite this, an estimated 48,000 people die prematurely every year from preventable causes because they lack access to health care. And significant number of bankruptcies result from high medical expenses, even though many of those going bankrupt had health insurance.

The United States is the only major country in the world that does not have some form of government-mandated, tax-funded universal health care access.

Countries as diverse as the UK, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand, and Cuba have government-run healthcare systems. In the U.S., Veterans Administration and Indian Health doctors are employed directly by the government. Other countries have some combination of government and private insurance, coupled with government regulation of costs.

In a single-payer system the government is the insurer. Medical care remains private but is paid for by the government, eliminating the insurance industry as middleman between caregivers and patients. Canada, for example, has a single-payer system.

Overall most developed countries spend about 9% of GDP on healthcare. We cannot afford not to have single-payer, Behan said.

In March, Pramila Jayapal [D-Wa] introduced HR 1384, to create a single-payer system, with 108 cosponsors including local congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson. Bernie Sanders [I-Vt] introduced the Senate version, SB 1129, with fourteen cosponsors, including presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker.

Medicare for All offers a detailed blueprint for government-funded single-payer health insurance. The government would provide universal health care coverage. Health care would remain privately operated and owned. Unlike current Medicare, M4A would cover dental, vision and long-term care.

Behan encouraged people to go to the Facebook page for Sonoma County for Single-Payer, or the websites of the National Nurses United or Physicians for National Health Program, to educate themselves and others about the financial and social benefits of Medicare for All.

We need to drown out the lobbyist’s voices, Behan said. Let our leaders know that we need equitable, universal-coverage healthcare. In the end, Behan said, single-payer is about more than money – it reflects the kind of society we want to be.

–Shirley Johnston

May 23rd Meeting: Is Universal Healthcare Imminent?

There’s a lot of talk about healthcare reform, but what would the Democrats’ bills in Congress—and the proposals being floated on the campaign trail—mean for you and your family? At the May 23rd meeting, writer Maria Behan will share her take on various reform proposals as well as some ideas for getting involved in the movement for universal healthcare.

Maria’s published work includes political columns, travel pieces, and fiction. Two years ago she founded the local grassroots group Sonoma County for Single-Payer, which does door-to-door and crowd canvasses, lobbies our state and federal representatives, and promotes single-payer healthcare reform at both the state and federal level. She’s also part of Indivisible Healdsburg’s leadership team and a proud veteran of the Sonoma County canvassing caravan that helped get Orange County’s Katie Porter elected to the U.S. House of Representatives last November.

To find out more, come to the Windsor Democratic Club meeting on Thursday May 23, 7-9 pm, at the Windsor Round Table Pizza restaurant. Free pizza! (The meeting is free and open to all.)


For more information on Sonoma County for Single Payer, go to their Facebook page: SonomaCounty4SinglePayer.

Report on the WDC meeting of April 25th – Green New Deal Forum

An overflow crowd of more than fifty people, including Town Council members Debora Fudge, Esther Lemus, and Sam Salmon, turned out to learn about the Green New Deal at a Windsor Democratic Club forum Thursday April 25 at the Windsor Round Table Pizza restaurant.

Doug Nunn, a retired Mendocino high school English teacher who recently finished a training program given by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, gave a presentation on the global warming crisis.

Since 1800 the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has risen from 280ppm to 405ppm. Global temperatures have increased 1.5 F from 1880 to 2018, the fourth hottest year on record. We cannot afford not to act.

In response to the crisis, the Green New Deal calls for a national mobilization to guarantee full employment at living wages through an upgrade and overhaul of infrastructure, transportation, manufacturing, and power generation, with the goal of 100% clean, renewable, zero-emission power. Representative Ocasio-Cortez introduced a non-binding resolution in support of this in Congress in February 2019.

Debora Fudge reported that she is working with Pete Gang of Petaluma, who was in the audience, on a countywide Green New Deal resolution. She mentioned the Town Council’s recent success in getting the developer of property between Old Redwood Hwy and Merner to agree to build 32 all-electric units. She encouraged people to replace old gas appliances with electric ones, and to sign up for Sonoma Clean Power’s EverGreen program, offering 100% of energy from renewable sources.

In the forum that followed, Mary Mariani of the Windsor Garden Club spoke about the health and ecological benefits of organic gardening. She invited the public to the Windsor Community Garden’s Saturday Work Party on May 11 at 10:30 am.

Justin Wilcox of Sonoma County Refuse and Recovery said that China, the major purchaser of recyclable waste, now insists on lower contamination levels; SCRR’s dual stream carts help meet this demand.

Les Proteau, co-director of North Bay TIP, spoke about their free 120-hour pre-internship program that prepares participants for five-year apprenticeships in one of 17 building trades, leading to lifelong union-wage jobs. Anyone is welcome as long as they are willing to learn and work. “We don’t just turn them out,” Proteau said. “We make a lifelong commitment to their success.” The first 40 hours of classes (“boot-camp”), covers basics, including workplace safety and math. Subsequent weeks focus on a specific trade. About 50% of participants go on to apprenticeships.

Proteau, rebuilding his Coffey Park home after the Tubbs fire, is having first-hand experience learning about new energy-efficient technologies, most recently a solar-generating window glass that uses the aluminum frame as the conduit.

Doug Nunn reported that the Mendocino Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to approve a Climate Action Advisory Committee. Sonoma County should consider doing the same.

Debora Fudge said that each jurisdiction is different. But the most important thing is for people to show up at public forums to support programs that combat global warming as well as promote social justice. Remember, she said, “The world is looking to California.”

–Shirley Johnston