AUGUST  2023



“A good listener is not only popular everywhere but after a while he gets to know something.” 

                Wilson Mizner


Sonoma County GOP Presidential Poll

On Saturday, August 26th the Sonoma County Republican Party held a straw poll of the 14 declared Republican candidates for the President of the United States. It was held during the 2023 Sonoma County GOP Convention. Here are the results:


Trump 80%
DeSantis 11%
Hailey   5%
Ramaswamy   4%

Tax Wars

The battle for property tax fairness has raged for many years in California.  Homeowners had a victory in 1978 when Proposition 13 was passed.  Proposition 13 limited property taxes on homeowners.  Prior to 1978 many homeowners in California lost their homes because they could not afford the property taxes which continued to increase beyond the property owner’s ability to pay.  Groups in California such as public employee unions are constantly dueling with anti-tax groups such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.                                                                           Next year’s ballot will probably include another aspect of the tax war.  A measure sponsored by the California Business Roundtable and other anti-tax groups would require any new state or local tax to be approved by voters. This measure would counteract the state Supreme Court’s 2020 refusal to overturn an appellate court ruling declaring that citizens’ initiative tax proposals do not have to meet the two-thirds vote requirement that local government ballot measures face.                                                                                    It has been assumed for many years that the two-thirds vote applied to all special tax measures.  In 2017, a 5-2 majority opinion in the state supreme court declared: “Multiple provisions of the state constitution explicitly constrain the power of local governments to raise taxes.  But we will not lightly apply such restrictions on local governments to voter initiatives.”                                                           The decision touched off a flurry of cases which culminated in the Supreme Court’s refusal in 2020 to overturn an appellate court’s flat declaration that local taxes placed before voters via initiative needed only simple majority approval.                                                                                                                  Since the state Supreme Court opened the door to easier passage of local tax increase initiatives pro-tax forces have shifted to going to court.

Emergency Director

Jeff DuVall, who has been serving as the interim Sonoma County Director of Emergency Management, was named permanent Director on August 15th.  The Department has 15 employees and a $7.9 million operating budget.  Mr. DuVall’s starting salary is $185,461.  This department leads the county’s responses to wildfires, floods, droughts and other emergencies. 


“Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness.”

Louis D. Brandeis 


Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Angie Sanchez is the new Executive Director of the Sonoma County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber is a 30+ year organization that supports and promotes the economic growth of Latino-owned businesses through a network of Latino and non-Latino professionals, entrepreneurs, business people and leaders.  Ms. Sanchez is only the second executive director appointed by the Chamber since its founding in the late 1980’s.  She is working hard to ensure the organization’s long-term financial stability. In 2021, Ms. Sanchez started VIDA Cultural Arts which is an organization with the goal of empowering Latino contributions to arts, culture and community.  Ms. Sanchez has also held roles with Corazon Healdsburg and the Sonoma Community Center.

“Rank does not confer privilege or give power.  It imposes responsibility.”       Peter Drucker.


Completed terminal at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

The completed $40 Million terminal improvement and modernization project at the Sonoma County Airport opened on August 23rd.  7,000 square feet have been renovated along with the addition of 33,000 square feet which increases the terminal’s size to approximately 56,000 square feet. Airport Manager Jon Stout reported that there are ongoing discussions with the airport’s three commercial carriers; Alaska Airlines, Avelo Airlines and American Airlines. The goal is for Alaska Airlines to expand to new markets in Southern California and Austin, Texas.  The talks with Avelo include adding markets such as Boise, Idaho.  Talks continue with American Airlines to encourage the company to make seasonal flights to Dallas year-round.  Airport management is constantly working to add other airport destinations.   Numbers for July show that 55,025 people traveled through Sonoma County which is down 8.5% from the previous year. 


New Funds Approved for Highway 37

The California Transportation Commission announced a $155 Million funding from the $1.2 Trillion U.S. Infrastructure Law of 2021 to assist in the rebuilding of State Route 37.  A $4 Billion project is planned for the whole corridor.  The state transportation commission approved $180 Million to raise the roadway by 30 feet over Novato Creek by 2029.  Caltrans needs to fill in the remaining $25 Million necessary to complete the western section of the whole $4 Billion project which includes the installation of a viaduct.                               Representative Mike Thompson stated that he used his earmarks to obtain the funding. 

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.”

Alexandra K. Trenfor


Interim Health Officer Appointed

Dr. Karen Smith has been appointed as interim public health chief for Sonoma County until a permanent replacement is appointed.  Dr. Smith has run a public health lab in Marrakesh, led public health teams in Santa Clara and Napa counties and has been the Public Health Chief for California.  Dr. Smith completed her internal medicine residency and an infectious disease fellowship at Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Smith has also been California’s Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health.                                                                                               Dr. Smith is committed to maintaining a “core infrastructure that isn’t dependent on a disease du jour-stream of funding,” She stated that public health staff, such as epidemiologists shouldn’t be waiting around for the next pandemic.  “You have to train those people, but then you have to employ them and you have to keep them employed in the system.  “We lose a lot of expertise every time these surges in funding go away.


Honor for Vietnam Veterans

Michael Vigil who served in the Vietnam War was one of five veterans from across the Bay Area who were honored in Santa Rosa by the Quilts of Valor Foundation and the Vietnam Veterans of America.  Quilts of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003 and taps teams of volunteers to make handmade quilts that are awarded to service members or veterans who have been “touched by war” according to its website.  It is a way to honor the veterans.                   Sgt. Vigil stated that when he returned from Vietnam he was not treated well and also had to deal with post-traumatic stress.  Sgt. Vigil did spend time in the hospital.  He states that his wife, his hobbies and his family helped him work through his trauma.  Santa Rosa residents Ronald Mulheren and Robert Broaddus were also honored with a quilt.


Athena House Reopened

On August 15th, Athena House which is a low-cost residential treatment program for women dealing with substance abuse was officially resurrected. The good news will be celebrated at Athena House on September 7th with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.  15 months ago the parent company of Athena House announced that it would be shuttering the 34 year old program which served between 120 and 180 women per year.  Some problems were inadequate reimbursement rates and galloping inflation.  Also scheduled for closure was the sister facility, Hope Village which was a sober-living community where many Athena House alumna went to once they had completed their drug treatment.  Athena House was saved because Bill and Cindy Gallaher, local developers, paid $2.1 Million for the Hope Village property in Rincon Valley. The Gallahers have since spent an additional $3 Million on the project and are committed to invest another $3 Million.  Athena House will be managed by Buckelew Programs.  After leaving Athena House, clients can transition to Hope Village which is on the other side of the property.  Hope Village is the sober living facility.


Convention Center

Claudia Vecchio, president and CEO of Sonoma County Tourism, reported that a feasibility study has been prepared regarding a convention center for Sonoma County.  The tourism agency presented the study to the board of directors.  The proposal includes an exploratory advisory council which will be working on a feasibility study.  The actual building of a convention center is a five year project. 


“Love of Fame is the last thing even learned men can bear to be parted from.” 

George Washington


 Sonoma County Republican Convention     2023

The Sonoma County Republican Party held its third Republican Convention on Saturday, August 26 at Saralee & Richards Barn at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.  Over 175 happy Republicans welcomed candidates for various offices.  The two United States Senatorial candidates who spoke to the attendees were Eric Early and Denice Gary-Pandol.  The two candidates running against Congressman Jared Huffman are Tief Gibbs and Chris Coulombe and they both spoke to the enthusiastic crowd.  Andrew Podshadley who is running for Assembly District 12 spoke.  John Dennis, GOP Party Chair for San Francisco also addressed the crowd.  The Sonoma County Republican Party is prepared to assist local candidates including school board, city council and supervisorial hopefuls.

“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.”     Teodore Roosevelt




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