April, 2021

Get to Know the Cloverdale City Council                                             

The city of Cloverdale has not yet adopted the individual City Districts that many California cities have adopted due to the California Voting Rights Act of 2001. This means that each City Council member does not represent a particular district of their city, but they represent the city as a whole. The Mayor and Vice Mayor are not voted on by the cities’ residents but are in fact appointed by the City Council as a whole. 

On December 9, 2020, Mayor Jason Turner was appointed City Mayor. He was promoted from Vice Mayor. Currently, Mayor Turner is registered as Decline to State. You can email Mayor Turner at

Marta Cruz was appointed to take over as Vice Mayor. As a council member, she chaired the City/School Relations Sub-Committee and the City Public Works Sub-Committee. She is registered as a Democrat. This seat will be up for election in 2022. You can email Vice Mayor Cruz at

Council member Gus Wolter is a fixture of Cloverdale. He was first elected to the City Council in November 2000 and served continuously for 12 years until 2012. He was re-elected in 2014 and again in 2019 for a four-year term, from 2019 to 2022. He has served as Mayor for five one-year terms; 2004, 2007, 2011, 2017 and 2020. He was instrumental in creating the City's first Urban Growth Boundary and helping Cloverdale receive a new Fire Station, History Center, Performing Arts Center, and a future Police Station. He is registered as a Democrat. This seat will be up for election in 2022. You can email Councilman Wolter at

Council member Melanie Bagby is a Sonoma County native and 17-year resident of Cloverdale. 
In 2016, Melanie was elected to the Cloverdale City Council and won re-election in 2020. Previously, she served on the Cloverdale Planning Commission from 2009-2015. She is active in environmental issues as she is an advocate for Sonoma Clean Power and the Northern Sonoma County Air Quality Control Board.She is registered as a Democrat. This seat will be up for election in 2024. You can email Councilwoman Bagby at

Council member Todd Lands is newly elected to the Cloverdale City Council. He was a contractor by trade with strong ties to law enforcement and a school board member of the Cloverdale Unified School District. Councilman Lands is registered as a Republican. This seat will be up for election in 2024. You can email him at

Regular meetings of the City Council are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 6 pm at the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center located at 209 North Cloverdale Boulevard. Alternate meeting dates are set as needed for those meetings that fall on a holiday. The public is welcome to attend and participate in all public sessions of the Council. Agendas are available approximately 72 hours in advance of City Council meetings. Agenda Packets are also available for most Council meetings. Minutes are available upon approval by the Council.



California State Legislature

2021–22 session

Description: Coat of arms or logo







President of the Senate/Lt. Gov.

Eleni Kounalakis (D) since January 7, 2019 

President Pro Tem of the Senate

Toni Atkins (D) since March 21, 2018 

Senate Minority Leader

Scott Wilk (R) since January 20, 2021 

Speaker of the Assembly

Anthony Rendon (D) since March 7, 2016 

Assembly Minority Leader

Marie Waldron (R) since November 8, 2018 



40 senators
80 assembly

Senate political groups

Assembly political groups


Senate last election

November 3, 2020 (20 seats)

Assembly last election

November 3, 2020

Senate next election

November 8, 2022 (20 seats)

Assembly next election

November 8, 2022

Meeting place


California State Capitol

California State Assembly chamber

California State Senate chamber

A few volumes of the journals of each house (Senate is red; Assembly [lower chamber] is green).

TheCalifornia State Legislatureis a bicameralstate legislature consisting of a lower house, the California State Assembly, with 80 members; and an upper house, the California State Senate, with 40 members.[1] Both houses of the Legislature convene at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The California State Legislature is one of just ten full-time state legislatures in the United States.[2]

The Democratic Party currently holds veto-proof supermajorities in both houses of the California State Legislature. [3] The Assembly consists of 60 Democrats and 19 Republicans, with one vacancy, while the Senate is composed of 30 Democrats and 9 Republicans, also with one vacancy. Except for a brief period from 1995 to 1996, the Assembly has been in Democratic hands since the 1970 election. The Senate has been under continuous Democratic control since 1970.


The Legislative Process in the Assembly

This is a broad summary of the legislative process in the Assembly.  The process is the same in the Senate.  There are many details in the process that can affect a bill since the Legislature makes its own rules and can amend or suspend them.

Bill Introduction

  • Upon suggestions received from Agencies, Citizens, Governor and Lobbyists a bill is prepared by the Legislative Counsel.  It is then introduced by the member, given a number, read out loud and printed.
  • The Rules Committee then assigns the bill to a committee (there are 29 standing committees). The bill may not be heard by the committee until the 31stday after it has been introduced.


The Committee Hearing

  • At this point there is testimony from the chair, members, the bill author, citizens, experts and lobbyists.  After this process, if the bill is held in committee it is with very few exemptions, dead.  If the committee makes recommendations and passes the bill out of committee it then goes to a second Assembly reading.  (The second reading is just that:  the clerk actually reads the bill out loud).
  • Bills with monetary implications must be re-referred to the proper fiscal committee in each House before they are sent to the second reading.
  • There is then a third Assembly reading, debate and a vote.  If passage is refused, the bill dies.


Passage in the Assembly


  • When a bill passes in the Assembly it goes to the Senate for a first Senate reading.  The Senate Rules Committee then assigns the bill to a committee.  The committee hearing process then follows he same procedure as the Assembly regarding testimony.
  • After the bill is heard in the Senate and it if is held in committee it is for all practical purposes, dead.  If the committee passes the bill with recommendations the bill goes for a second Senate reading.  Bills with monetary implications must re-referred to the proper Senate fiscal committee before the second reading.
  • At this point the bill goes for a third Senate reading. If passage is refused the bill dies. If there are amendments then there is a revised reading and a vote.
  • If the bill is passed with Senate amendments then the bill is returned to the Assembly floor for a vote in concurrence.
  • If the Assembly agrees the bill goes directly to the Governor.


Conference Committee


  • If the Assembly does not agree the bill goes to a Conference Committee which consists of three Assembly members and three Senate members.  A conference report is issued.
  • If the Assembly and the Senate adopt the Conference report the bill goes to the Governor.  If the Conference Committee does not adopt the report and the issues cannot be resolved the bill does not go to the Governor.
  • If the Governor vetoes the bill, the Legislature has 60 days (not including joint recesses) to override the veto with a 2/3 vote from each house.


The Best Time for Citizen Action


It is as the point when the bill is assigned to the Rules Committee that it becomes very important for citizens concerned about the bill to learn what committee it has been assigned to and the names of committee members. This is the first time that contacts should be made to legislators regarding the bill.  Letters and phone calls from individual constituents and interested groups do affect how members vote.  Members should be contacted during debate periods and in fact throughout the process.  

An excellent web site to help in researching the various bills and the legislators who are introducing them is It is a fairly easy site to navigate and makes it very simple to monitor the bills that your representative is introducing.

There are three ways to effectively contact legislators: mailed letters, e-mails without attachments (write your letter directly in the e-mail) and phone calls to local legislative offices.  

Here is the contact information for legislators who represent Sonoma County.


Cecilia Aguiar-Curry- 4thAssembly District - Covers Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, Glen Ellen.                   

(916) 319-2004                                   Fax: (916) 319-2104                           Room 5144


Jim Wood– 2ndAssembly District - Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt, Mendocino and Northwest Sonoma County  

(916) 319-2002                                   Fax: (916) 319-2102                           Room 6005


Mark Levine– 10thAssembly District - Covers southern part of Sonoma County

(916) 319-2010                                   Fax: (916) 319-2110                           Room 5135


Mike McGuire – Senate District 2 - Covers Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma County

(916) 651-4002                                                                                               Room 5061


The Articles of the US Constitution

The Constitution was well thought out and set up in order to not give power to one entity. The Founders were very conscious of the one ruler law that they escaped from in under King George III of England. They used the history of other nations and examined philosophers with the intent of creating a document written by the people and for the people. Through philosophy they understood the evil of man and that they would one day want more power. The way the Constitution was written was to prevent just that, so they came up with a system of checks and balances for government function.

Many argue that the Constitution should be a living and breathing Constitution. Basically, it means that the interpretation of the Constitution should change with the times and be interpretated differently by judges as they see fit. 

This is dangerous because it gives the power to one person, a judge, to change the Constitution. At the time of the writing of the Constitution, George Washington said it best, 

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution, which at any time exists, ‘till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. … If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”

This statement allows the Constitution to be changed only by Amendments and by the whole of the people, not one judge, one President nor a single branch of Government. It was created to be a sacred document. 

Let us look at a brief summary of the seven Articles of the Constitution. Simply click on the link of each Article to see it written in its entirety.  

Article I – The Legislative Branch - All of the powers to make laws is given to the Legislative Branch, also called Congress. The Congress is divided into two parts—the House of Representatives and the Senate. Their job is to create all the laws, and to control the money, write laws to raise taxes, declare war and raise a military. It also has the power to check and balance the other two federal branches.

This Article determines the numbers of Representatives and Senators for each state, age qualifications and length of their terms as well as the role that the Vice President has in the Senate. It discusses the Rules for Impeachment and the roles that Congress, and the Senate play in these proceedings. Guidelines are set for the procedure of voting and what constitutes putting a law into place.

Article II – The Executive Branch - This branch of the government manages the day-to-day operations of government through various federal departments and agencies. At the head of this branch is the nationally elected President of the United States. The President swears an oath to ‘faithfully execute’ the responsibilities as President and to ‘preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States’ and enforce laws passed by Congress. Its’ powers include making treaties with other nations, appointing federal judges, department heads and Ambassadors He is also the Commander in Chief presiding over the United States Armed Forces. This Article also lays out how the Electoral College is selected and who qualifies for those positions. 

Article III – The Judicial Branch - The Judicial Branch consists of the Supreme Court and all the lower federal courts. Their job is to decide if the laws and actions of citizens and the government are in harmony with the Constitution. The Constitution set up the Supreme Court and gave Congress the power to determine the size and scope of those courts below it. All judges are appointed for life unless they resign or removed due to bad behavior. Those facing charges are to be tried and judged by a jury of their peers.

Article IV – The States - This article defines the relationship between the states and the federal government. It guarantees a republican form of government in each state that is individually controlled by their own governments. The federal government guarantees to protect the nation as a whole and protect the people from foreign or domestic violence. It also suggests that all the states are equal to each other and should respect each other’s laws and the judicial decisions made by other state court systems. It also states how Congress can determine having new states join the Union.

Article V – Amendment - Future generations can amend the Constitution if the society so requires it. Both the states and Congress have the power to initiate the amendment process. The Framers wanted the eternal principles of freedom to remain intact and immune from being accidentally or intentionally amended away. A two thirds vote of both houses are necessary to propose an Amendment and a three fourths vote of both houses is necessary to ratify an Amendment. They made the process intentionally cumbersome because proposed changes should be heavily scrutinized, and never adopted recklessly. 

Article VI – Debts, Supremacy, Oaths - Article VI determines that the US Constitution, and all laws made from it are the ‘Supreme Law of the Land’, and all officials, whether members of the State Legislatures, Congress, Judiciary, or the Executive Branches must swear an oath to the Constitution. The Framers wrote frequently about the need for honesty in all levels of government, and among the people themselves was a necessary ingredient for self-government and lasting freedom.

Article VII – Ratification - This article details all those people who signed the Constitution, representing the original thirteen states. It declares that nine of the thirteen states would be sufficient to ratify the new Constitution.


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