SGA reviews candidates for endorsement


Beatriz Verneaux, Staff Writer

Members of the Santa Rosa Junior College Student Government Assembly delayed a motion Aug. 29 to endorse one of the Fifth District Supervisor candidates, agreeing that there needs to be communication between the student body and the SGA before doing so.

“I believe in 100 percent transparency,” said SGA member of Disabilities Affairs Robert Martinez. “We are here to make sure students’ voices get heard.”

Candidates Noreen Evans and Lynda Hopkins addressed students and alumni for 10 minutes before a Q&A session Aug. 29.

Opening Statements

Hopkins addressed hateful name calling, which she called a misogynistic response to her candidacy. Still, she hopes to lead a positive campaign. “When we run a campaign based in fear it damages our society,” Hopkins said. She believes her opponent has been “spreading lies.”

Hopkins intends to “bring new ideas and inspire people to engage in politics,” and ensure work is done together with the public. She clarified her goal is not to become a politician but to change local politics. She assured students that despite her lack of government work, she has five years of experience as a journalist covering the county’s government.

Evans’ initial speech addressed the historical importance of the meeting. This is the first time supervisor candidates spoke to SRJC’s student government, the first time both opponent candidates are women and the first time the majority of the board is composed of women.

Evans emphasized that our community is extremely diverse, and with her 21 years of government experience she can help address some of the complex needs such as homelessness and rural healthcare.

Union pledges

Hopkins doesn’t believe in exchanging pledge signatures for endorsement. She believes endorsers should do it because they support her ideals and that she wants to keep independence as a candidate.

Evans signed the pledge, highlighting the importance of workers’ rights and fair treatment of the working class. She said, “People in unions have fought and died for unions.”


When questioned about relations with the Latino community, Hopkins said, “Our government doesn’t look like our community,” and expressed regret that there are currently no Latino supervisors. She believes the current government is toxic and keeps people from actively participating in politics. She brought up age diversity, the LGBTQ community, the need for more Latino employees in office and the need to pay elected officers.

Evans believes old paradigms aren’t gone and Latinos need representation top to bottom. She mentioned her experience in the California Senate, in which the Women’s Caucus and the Latino Caucus came together to bring more representatives into office. She said she consistently voted in favor of LGBTQ causes and is pro-gay marriage.

When asked about the undocumented community, Hopkins said she has spent a lot of time in Roseland and brought up that neither she nor Evans are fluent in Spanish. She acknowledged immigrants’ fear of speaking up. Unable to vote, community members are left disempowered and hesitant. She hopes to reach out and work with leaders who could bridge the gap between government and community members.

Evans spoke of her history challenging federal and state governments during her experience in the state senate. When the idea of private contractors being brought to California in order to imprison undocumented immigrants, she reported being one of four senators who voted against it.

Presented with the issue of bringing ethnic studies to Sonoma’s secondary schools, both candidates made a point to remind members of the audience that supervisors do not have authority over county curriculum. However, both acknowledged the need of prioritizing ethnic studies.


Both candidates had strong opinions on homelessness, and both emphasized the need to open public areas for people to sleep. The candidates also discussed the need for more low income housing for students. Hopkins mentioned Palms Inn, Catholic Charities and incentives for tiny house construction. Evans emphasized her active participation in the rent control discussion.


Hopkins, an organic farmer, mentioned the business of cannabis and residency requirements for cannabis-related businesses.

Evans said, “A budget is a moral value.” She mentioned her own experience during the 2008 recession fighting against cuts to social programs, such as Every Woman Counts.

Public transportation

Discussing transportation, Hopkins, whose master’s thesis in public transportation provides her an outlook on country-wide systems, remarked on the need for better tracking of bus schedules and the creation of programs that support seniors and students.

Evans, an experienced legislator, used examples of her own work to help bring bike lanes to Sonoma County. She believes students and veterans should ride the bus for free.

Concluding remarks

Hopkins ended her portion saying, “taking all ideas grants roots to change” and that she hopes her candidacy “shakes things up.” She said she doesn’t fear taking risks and offering drastic ideas.

Hopkins said, “I am the only candidate who has refused to sign pledges in order to receive endorsements or campaign contributions.”

She claimed that by earning support from farms to environmentalists, unions to business owners means she will have “a diverse coalition of support.” She ends by saying her supporters all believe in “transparency and community engagement.”

Evans’ final thoughts focused on the challenges and complications inherent in the job of supervisor. She brought up needs of new taxes for businesses, such as in the cannabis industry, where there hasn’t been a new tax law since 1978.

In her opinion, these funds can and should be used to better the community.

Evans attempted to highlight differences in the funding supporting the candidates.

“[Hopkins] is supported by wineries, and I am supported by working families,” she said. “She is supported by the same supporters as the current supervisors,” and that “not only do I bring new ideas; I also bring new experiences to get them implemented.”