Former Santa Rosa Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi plans to challenge Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo for his west county seat in June's election.
Jacobi, 53, a mechanical engineer and energy management consultant, served a single four-year term on the City Council before being ousted in the 2010 election when a slate of pro-business candidates shifted the council majority.
She ran unsuccessfully in 2004 and 2008 for the Board of Supervisors 3rd District seat, which includes central Santa Rosa and much of Rohnert Park.
Several weeks ago, she moved into a Roseland-area home she bought in 2010, which put her into Carrillo's 5th Supervisorial District, which takes in most of the west county, including west Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, the Russian River corridor and the coast from Bodega Bay to Mendocino County.
She said her move was motivated by her interest in challenging Carrillo, who was elected in 2008. Jacobi becomes Carrillo's only challenger so far in the contest, which has a March 9 filing deadline.
Jacobi has taken out nominating papers and filed a form declaring her intent to run.
A staunch supporter of environmental causes, Jacobi said she intends to take aim at Carrillo's voting record on land-use issues.
Carrillo, 30, has backed several controversial projects, including a large Russian River gravel mine outside of Geyserville and the Dutra Materials asphalt plant south of Petaluma.
Both projects have been tied up in lawsuits, part of a wave of legal challenges prompted by county decisions two years ago that led some advocates and constituents to question Carrillo's environmental values.
"We need to protect the beauty that we have here and the quality of life we have here," Jacobi said Friday. "I think the things he is pursuing, some of them will hurt us in the long term."
Carrillo said he welcomed the competition and the opportunity to defend his record, including votes and work on environmental issues. He has framed his most controversial land-use decisions as votes in favor of economic development and job creation.
"We have a vast diversity of needs in the 5th District, including environmental protection and economic development," he said. "I believe I balance those well."
In the other county races this year, the contest for retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown's 1st District seat has produced a crowded field of six candidates. The district includes eastern Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley
Supervisor Shirlee Zane faces no challengers in her bid for re-election in the 3rd District.
In campaign finance reports this month, Carrillo showed $101,748 in the bank, a formidable amount in any county race. Jacobi acknowledged she long has struggled in fundraising, relying largely on personal donations to finance past campaigns.
Carrillo's near-constant presence at community events and ties to a variety of causes give him another edge in the race, said Mike Reilly, his predecessor in the 5th District office.
"Efren has worked the district really hard in the last three years," Reilly said. "If Veronica decides to take him on, it's going to be a long shot."
Reilly, a longtime member of the state Coastal Commission and ally of environmental groups, retired at the end of 2008 after 12 years on the county board.
The same year, Carrillo, a government relations manager for Redwood Credit Union, claimed the seat in a close victory over Rue Furch, a veteran county planning commissioner.