Ben Boyce


The race for Sonoma City Council

Posted on October 18, 2018 by Ben Boyce

The Sonoma Valley has a lively local political culture. We are blessed to have a large contingent of highly educated and accomplished professionals and a growing cadre of younger Democratic Party activists who have season tickets for the City Council meetings. I respect the difficult, time-consuming and largely uncompensated work that City Council members do for all of us.

City government has important items on its agenda. Reviewing the Urban Growth Boundary, pension funding, improving infrastructure, regulating development, establishing housing policy, managing tourism… the stakes are high.  

Running for three seats on the City Council are: current Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti, former Planning Commission chair James Cribb, Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission member Jack Ding, Logan Harvey, current councilmember Rachel Hundley, Chris Petlock, and Jack Wagner.

I have no personal connections with any of the candidates. My knowledge base is reading every print issue of the local papers; listening to every episode of ‘This Week in Politics’ with Dr. Ron Willis on ITunes or in the KSVY archives, which has interviews with all the candidates; and attending the recent debate sponsored by the Sonoma Valley Climate Coalition.

My $5 worth: vote for the most coherent progressive. Plan B, vote against the worst candidate.

My fantasy league picks for Sonoma City Council would be Madolyn Agrimonti and Logan Harvey.

Madolyn is a fundamentally decent human who enjoys being a public official. She is a liberal with a good temperament who usually votes correctly and brings useful experience to the council.

Logan is a smart and kind young man who has shown leadership capacity and some drive.  He is deeply connected to the countywide Democratic Party leadership; he has progressive values and seems like a team player that will improve the atmosphere on the council.

As for all the rest, I have not heard and read enough to develop a clear preference. James Cribb seems accomplished, but I’m not clear what it is he wants to do with that skill set. Jury’s still out.  Jack Ding is a delightful man, with excellent Confucian values about public harmony. I still don’t understand his platform. Jack Wagner ran a few years ago and was a little green but showed promise. He doesn’t seem to have read or evolved much since his last run. Rachel Hundley is far and away the best natural politician on the stage. She reminds me a little bit of Pam Torliatt, former Mayor of Petaluma. She is so skilled that I have not been able to decipher her actual ideological loyalties. Chris Petlock puzzles me because a critical mass of influential progressives supports him, but I have never heard him say anything remotely progressive. His entire message is about a heated prosecution of alleged official malfeasance. He has given me no reason to vote for him.

I did a totally unscientific Progressive Majority Coalition poll for this election special for the Sun and requested a comment from my friend Praxis Peace Institute Executive Director Georgia Kelly. Her statement: “I am supporting Logan Harvey and Madolyn Agrimonti for Sonoma City Council because they are both strong supporters of environmental concerns, affordable housing, and protecting our city from over-development. They are both good listeners, and I believe that they will work well together in aligning the city staff with council directives. Mayor Agrimonti has proven her environmental bona fides while on the council and Logan, as a lifelong resident of Sonoma, has a deep understanding of what is best for this town.”

 There you have it. The money is on the table.

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