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Political chasm separates Gorin, Sawyer

  • Susan Gorin, John Sawyer.

The political chasm separating Susan Gorin and John Sawyer, who are campaigning to become the next member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors from the 1st District, runs wide and deep.

The two Santa Rosa council members have been skirmishing for years over municipal issues and now are taking their disparate views on the role of local government to the voters of a district that extends from the east side of Santa Rosa through Sonoma Valley to San Pablo Bay. The election is Nov. 6.

Though their differences are well established, Gorin, 60, and Sawyer, 57, agree on some key issues, including support for county spending on initiatives to spur job creation and recruit and retain local businesses.

Both say they support the county's move to become a residential and commercial power supplier, though they have concerns about customer rates.

Both candidates also have recommended boosted spending to repair county roads.

Sawyer has proposed a short-term countywide sales tax measure to address the current repair backlog, estimated at $100 million annually.

Gorin has said that a tax measure may be needed but hasn't backed any concept. She gave Sawyer's plan little chance for success at the ballot box, noting that it would rely largely on city-fueled tax receipts to pay for county roads. Such a funding mechanism could be a long-shot with city leaders, she said.

Sawyer said his plan would offer benefits for transit, bicycle and pedestrian and park infrastructure.

“I believe people have shown their willingness to step up to the plate when there's a greater good at stake,” he said.

Both Sawyer and Gorin say they would look for funding within the county budget before advancing a tax proposal.

Gorin has said those funds may have to be found through cuts to other services. Which those would be, she doesn't yet know.

“I'm saying let's make road maintenance a priority. I'm saying let's make fiscal choices,” she said.

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