"This is going to be an important election"
March 26th primary election fast approaching, four Sonoma County environmental organizations have formed an alliance to improve communication and jointly promote candidates.
At a press conference earlier today, the Sierra Club, Sonoma County Conservation Action (SCCA), Sebastopol Tomorrow, and Western Sonoma County Rural Alliance announced their endorsement for the upcoming elections.
"This is the first time the environmental groups have gotten together like this," said Elizabeth Anthony, Political Chair of the Sierra Club's Redwood Chapter. "This is going to be an important election."
"It could be very damaging to the environmental community if we worked against each other"
are most concerned about who will replace Ernie Carpenter as Fifth District Supervisor. Carpenter, who is stepping down this year, has long been regarded as an important environmental advocate in local politics.
Running for his seat are two candidates with strong environmental credentials, Eric Koenigshofer and Mike Reilly. "In the five years since we started SCCA, there's been no situation potentially as volatile as the Fifth District," said Executive Director Mark Green. "Both of them are good candidates, and it could be very damaging to the environmental community if we worked against each other. I suggested we call the groups together so that everyone could talk about their endorsements before we presented them to the public."
Three of the groups decided to offer a dual endorsement of both Koenigshofer and Reilly. "It's hard to make a choice when so many good candidates are running," Anthony said in the Sierra Club's press release. "Both Mike and Eric did equally well in our interview process, and we feel confident that either candidate will carry the environmental mandate of the Club." Rural Alliance chose to support only Koenigshofer.
The seat has traditionally been held by "green" activists, a legacy that was mentioned in short speeches made by both candidates. "The Fifth District has been the environmental voice in Sonoma County," Reilly said. "And that's the reflection of the grassroots sentiment of the area, not just the voice of one individual [Carpenter]."
Said Koenigshofer, "Whoever wins this term wil propel us to the end of the century and into the next millenium. [That person will provide] county, even regional leadership in environmental issues."
The Sierra Club also endorsed Napa lawyer Monica Marvin as candidate for the 1st Congressional District, currently held by Frank Riggs. "There's no greater priority than defeating Frank Riggs," Marvin said. "He has been an environmental disaster." She criticized Riggs' failure to provide long-term protection of coastline from off-shore drilling, his support of the "Dirty Water Act," and his Headwaters bill, which "preserves Charles Hurwitz' bank account" more than the forest.
The Sierra Club and SCCA also jointly supported Mike Cale as First District Supervisor.
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