February Editorial- Election Season

Written By: President Jeff Carlton
Published: February 7, 2020

Next month on March 3, Sonoma County and the rest of California will head to the polls to take part in this seemingly perpetual election cycle we are in. As soon as one ends, the next one begins. So, if it seems extra early to you, you’re right. California, in its infinite wisdom, has bumped up our primary election in an effort to become more relevant in a Presidential election. Will it have an effect? That remains to be seen, however, I don’t think it will surprise anyone, which direction California will head. Sonoma County as well must decide some supervisorial races and several ballot measures. 

In the 3rd Supervisorial District race, Sonoma County Farm Bureau has proudly endorsed Shirlee Zane. In my opinion, Shirlee is one of the biggest supporters of agriculture in Sonoma County. Shirlee has worked and advocated with us on numerous issues and truly values our insight and support. To help ensure the agricultural legacy and backbone of Sonoma County I hope you will join us in support of Supervisor Zane and that those living in the 3rd District will vote for her. In the 5th Supervisorial District race, Sonoma County Farm Bureau has proudly endorsed Lynda Hopkins. As a farmer herself, Lynda puts agriculture first and is always happy to hear our opinion on the multitude of issues facing us here in Sonoma County. For those of you who reside in the 5th District, vote Lynda Hopkins for Supervisor. 

Among the many measures on the ballot, Sonoma County Farm Bureau is opposed to Measure I, which is the extension of the SMART Train sales tax. Since its inception, the Farm Bureau has opposed this tax. I don’t claim to be a soothsayer, but I have continually stated that as soon as the SMART Train began its service, it would be back for more money in 5 years or less and here we are. As I believe anyone can attest to, it has not relieved traffic congestion on our highways and has not maintained the ridership which was promised in the beginning. If continued, the SMART Train will cost agriculture hundreds of thousands of dollars in railway crossings as it potentially moves to the northern part of the county and could impact our daily operations. Also, be aware of the fake Prop 13 measure in California. Make no mistake, it is just a first step to attempt to eliminate Prop 13 altogether in California. 

Sonoma County Farm Bureau has worked hard to cultivate relationships with our elected officials so when we endorse a candidate, we do not do it lightly. We must stay involved and engaged to ensure that agriculture continues to be the backbone of Sonoma County now and in the future. We are also on the verge of hitting an 11% sales tax here soon. I like to say, “Oppose all taxes at all times”, even though I know that they are necessary, but you can go too far. Will Sonoma County and California ever get tax fatigue?! I hope someday. Although, I always say Californians have never met a tax or bond they didn’t like. After all, it’s someone else’s money, right?!

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