Last Wednesday’s column delved into the “horse race” aspect of campaigns to fill the soon-to-be-vacant State Assembly seat of Marc Levine of Greenbrae. This column examines the problems of the race.
Four Democrats are running in the former 10th Assembly District and after redistricting is now Marin-Sonoma’s 12th District. The file remains open. The list includes supervisor Damon Connolly; coastal commissioner and resident of Kentfield, Sara Aminzadeh; Steve Schwartz of Sebastopol, founder of the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative; and Ida Times-Green, school board administrator for the city of Sausalito-Marin.
I interviewed three of the candidates and asked them what they considered to be compelling questions. Comments from Times-Green, the latest candidate to declare themselves, will be in Wednesday’s column.
We’ll cover single-payer health insurance, the disposition of California’s $45.7 billion budget surplus, and West Marin agriculture in subsequent columns.
• Connolly suggests, “The overriding theme of my campaign is that I got results as a supervisor. I can go to Sacramento and deliver for Marin and Sonoma.
As founder of MCE (formerly Marin Clean Energy), a decarbonized energy strategy will be one of his top priorities. The former assistant attorney general for the state Department of Justice will push for a statewide green power grid and act faster to facilitate electric vehicles.
Like all candidates, Connolly is committed to providing more affordable housing in North Bay. “It’s not one size fits all. Communities in the suburbs of North Bay have difficult constraints due to wildfires, the need for mass evacuation and lack of water resources. It emphasizes housing opportunities arising from looming vacancies at “large commercial sites and Fireman’s Fund (a vacant Novato complex)”.
He suggests: “Stop the revolving door (of the chronically homeless) moving from mobile street to shelter, then back to street.” Connolly also supports the expansion of “housing choice vouchers”. It’s similar to the federal Section 8 program where low-income people receive rent subsidies in private properties.
• Aminzadeh says she is “the candidate for change. The old incremental approach is no longer sufficient to meet today’s challenges.
When it comes to water shortages, “we need a diverse science-based water portfolio”. His new water sources included “increasing reservoir capacity and facilitating water recycling.” The North Bay needs to capture rainwater from the “atmospheric rivers” that accompany our changing climate.
“Leadership on housing needs to come at the local level, but we need the California government as a partner working with locals to fund projects so they actually get built. Now it’s all command and control. Aminzadeh criticized the state for issuing housing construction mandates without meaningful consultation with localities on how those numbers were compiled.
She calls for “transformative investment” in wildfire prevention, including “vegetation management and staffing 3.0 in fire zones”. The latter includes three firefighters per truck instead of the now common two-person crews.
• Schwartz, a former board member of Sonoma’s Gravenstein Union School District, calls for “a tax incentive for those who rent or lease homes to essential workers.” For Schwartz, the “essential” list begins with educators. He advocates asset-building loans for first-time home buyers that will match the buyer’s available cash or help with a second mortgage.
“I’m a good listener,” says the Sonoman. “When I hear a good idea, I stick with it.”
He worked on site with a church in Livermore to build 18 small houses for the chronically homeless. “We cannot expect governments to do everything. Use state funds by partnering with faith-based and secular affordable housing advocates. »
Food politics is Schwartz’s passion. He is on the steering committee of the Marin Food Policy Council. The council was founded “to address issues related to food production, access, distribution and nutritional health” for low-income communities. It supports statewide efforts to achieve this goal. He is the only candidate for the 12th District Assembly with personal farming experience. Schwartz harvested food for sale and sold his bounty at North Bay Farmers’ Markets.