Sonoma’s City Council has been in a rather confused state of late, and now has a majority of members either appointed or placed in office unopposed during the last election. Three resignations in less than one year, all unexpected, created an unprecedented situation. We appreciate the service of appointees Kelso Barnett and Robert Felder, both experienced Planning Commission members, but we look forward to seeing the current council vacancy filled by someone who has been elected.
This November, Sandra Lowe, James Cribb and Michael Nugent will be on the ballot. All three candidates have served the public before, Lowe as a Sonoma Valley School District Trustee, Cribb as a planning commissioner, and Nugent as a Sonoma Valley Hospital Board member; that’s good. We need people on the council who understand and can commit to fulfilling the demands of public service.
James Cribb’s time on the Planning Commission provides a window into how he thinks and what he supports. Overall, Cribb repeatedly indicated support of large commercial development applications, such as putting a hotel on First Street East across from Arnold field. He also voted in favor of an application to build three massive homes on Shocken Hill. Both projects came under withering public opposition. He did support the creation of the new, affordable housing project on Broadway across from Train Town, and we applaud that. He currently suggests expanding the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), this despite 78 percent of Sonoma’s voters (and The Sun) rejecting that option.
Mike Nugent generously served on the local hospital board for many years. Unfortunately, he also supported the idea of building an entirely new hospital on pasture land outside the UGB that would have required invoking eminent domain to procure it. That idea was soundly rejected by hospital district voters, and the successful expansion of our hospital at its current location, an idea Nugent had rejected, is instructive. Now a city resident, Nugent is a staunchly free-market, business-oriented conservative, and like Cribb, we think his views are generally out-of-step with this liberal community.
Sandra Lowe has lived in the City of Sonoma for 30 years; her experience as an educator has made her a skilled communicator and she believes the city must improve the way it communicates with our community. Lowe’s eight years on the Board of Trustees of the School District Board showed her to be a strong supporter of teachers and their efforts to improve our local schools. She’s been active in politics as a consultant for the California Democratic Party, and her contacts at the state level will be a great asset to this community. She has a record of fighting poverty, advocating for injured patients, and is a strong union supporter. Lowe’s in tune with the residents of Sonoma, and we are pleased to endorse her candidacy for Sonoma City Council.
— Sun Editorial Board