Oak Leaf Editorial Board

State Senate


The Oak Leaf feels after a 30-minute interview with Noreen Evans and Lawrence Wiesner, Evans is the right choice. Evans was poised, respectful and likeable and has our endorsement.


Evans served three terms in the State Assembly, representing our district. She served on the Committees on Banking and Finance, Governmental Organization, Judiciary, and the subcommittees on Information Technology and Transportation. She was also on the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.  She has served on numerous other groups, including the Coastal Conservancy and the Commission on the Status of Women.


Prior to being elected to assembly, Evans served two terms on the Santa Rosa City Council and three years on the Santa Rosa Planning Commission. She lives in Santa Rosa, has children who attended Santa Rosa schools and has a vested interest in the welfare of Sonoma County.


Evans became involved in local politics because she thought that citizens did not have a voice in how the city was run. She believed the city should pursue slow, careful growth and avoid a rush to expand. After eight years on the city council, she moved up to state politics and served the maximum years in the state assembly.


Evans said she is running for state senate because Sacramento needs normal people who live in the communities and can represent what real people want.


She said education and job creation are her top priorities in her first term if elected. She believes that reinvesting in education is crucial to creating jobs. The biggest problem with Prop. 98 is that it doesn’t go far enough, she said. More money could be brought to the General Fund by taxing corporations who pay barely any property taxes on buildings such as the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, which Bank of America recently bought. The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest skyscraper in the city, but because of property tax laws only requiring reassessment after a change in ownership, a tax code “loophole,” allows the largest bank in the country to pay barely any taxes.


Evans also wants to focus on preserving and protecting coastline and agricultural lands, which she has worked on during her time in the assembly. She supports Prop. 21, which would set an $18 fee to each vehicle registration in California  and allow free accesss to state parks.


Evans supports Prop. 25, because of the required super majority, eight representatives could hold the entire process hostage, demanding concessions from the majority. Only two other states, Rhode Island and Alaska, require the super majority (two-thirds) to pass a state budget.


She opposes Prop. 23. Green technology not only provides a growing job market in California, but helps keep our air cleaner and our state attractive to the millions of tourists, she said.


Evans is clearly qualified and capable to serve in the state senate. Her stance on environmental issues and green technology is more preferable to her opponent’s. She has no plans on backing down on our state’s stance on protecting our air and environment to seduce companies back to our state, which we at the Oak Leaf appreciate. Although there needs to be growth in the job market, we should not abandon principles that we are known for and proud of to placate industries that want to poison our waters and keep us failing the American Lung Association’s tests. Not to mention, one of our best and oldest industries is tourism, and what tourist wants to look at smoggy, oily and polluted landscapes after traveling thousands of miles?



State Assembly


While the Oak Leaf would like to endorse a candidate in the state assembly race, we find neither one is fit to serve in the position they seek.


One of the qualifications we look for in a candidate is a desire to serve the needs of the state. Both candidates for the 7th assembly district seem to have chosen to serve the needs of special interests over the needs of state. Gentry looks to serve big business while dressing it up as creating jobs. Allen on the other hand seems more likely to serve an even smaller constituency: himself.


Gentry feels allowing companies free rain in environmental law is better for California then preserving our state parks. Like the other candidates, she also believes Prop 25 is the most important ballot measure. Her feelings that we should retain the 2/3 majority needed to pass a budget will only keep Sacramento focused on passing budgets rather then debating legislation.


Allen on the other hand supports legislation and ideals that will bring change to California but has used the power of his office to line his own pockets.


In 2007, Allen was awarded contracts worth a total of $95,000 to develop a master plan for the Sonoma County Water Agency’s property on West College Avenue in Santa Rosa and as pursue a change in the land use designation for the property. Then in 2009, Allen was appointed to the Planning Commission where he voted yes on the changes requested by the Water Agency as part of a general plan update on Aug. 13. Because of this conflict of interest and possible ethics violation, we cannot in good consciences give Allen our endorsement.



County Supervisor


David Rabbitt is the Oak Leaf’s choice for County Supervisor not because we disliked his opponent Pam Torliatt, but because we felt he would better represent the students’ interests in the county.


He is invested in our community and wants it to be a place where his children will live and work after college. Rabbitt owns an architectural firm in Petaluma, where he lives, his eldest daughter just started as a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, and his wife works as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Neuro-Oncology at UC San Francisco.


While he was coaching Little League, Rabbitt realized a serious under-funding of safe places for children to play in Petaluma. After the land on which they held games and practices was sold, he and other parents had difficulty finding new places to practice. After talking to his neighbors, and realizing parents needed a stronger voice in the Petaluma City Council, he decided to run for office. He is currently serving his first term on the city council, and served for over a year on the City of Petaluma’s Site Plan and Architectural Review Committee (SPARC) before that.


Before getting involved in local government, Rabbitt served two terms as president of the PTA, where he worked to improve the physical education program and the students’ nutrition. He co-founded SHAKE (Support Healthy Active Kids in Education), which still works to provide physical education and nutrition programs in the district’s elementary schools.


He currently is council liaison to the Airport Commission, the Animal Advisory Committee and the Sonoma County Health Action Council.


It’s clear his concern for his children’s welfare has always been a driving force for his involvement in local politics. He said that he never intended to be involved in any political office, but became involved to bring attention to the needs of children in the community. Due to lack of funding, many actions he hoped to take were delayed, but he clearly wants to improve the community.


Obviously, Torliatt also wants to help the community. The difference between the two is that Torliatt has less vested interest in education in Sonoma County, or in enticing college graduates back to the county. Rabbitt has one child in college whom he would like to have move back to Sonoma County after she graduates. He has two more children who may at some point become SRJC students. Of the two candidates, Rabbitt seemed the most interested in Sonoma County as his political aspiration, instead of eventual
ly aiming for Lynn Woolsey’s job.