One day after former Sonoma County Supervisor Ernie Carpenter shocked many local residents by announcing his bid for his old west county seat, Efren Carrillo — who holds that seat — said he is undaunted and will campaign hard for a second term.
On Friday afternoon, Carrillo stopped by the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office to finalize his election paperwork, submit his statement of qualification and pay his filing fee of $1,340.97. Friday was filing deadline for the June primary election.
Carpenter, an environmental advocate who also filed his elections documents Friday, said the day before that he was compelled to run because of his dissatisfaction with Carrillo's record on land-use issues. Carpenter said construction, real estate and development interests are some of Carrillo's biggest donors.
But Carrillo defended his environmental record.
"In my tenure here on the board, we have preserved forever the Jenner headlands, the 5,600-acre crown jewel of Sonoma County's coastline," Carrillo said.
Carrillo also said he's been a strong supporter of fish habitat in the Russian River and related streams and creeks, supported the development of local, affordable, sustainable food and championed the local water agency's goal of being carbon-free by 2015.
But Carrillo has supported several controversial projects, most notably the Dutra Materials asphalt plant south of Petaluma. That key vote — as well as his refusal to oppose the proposed Preservation Ranch forest-to-vineyard conversion project on 20,000 acres outside of Annapolis — have many Sonoma County environmentalists thinking twice about letting Carrillo have a second term.
Carrillo insists taking a position on Preservation Ranch prior to the completion of the state environmental review process would be "irresponsible," given the "quasi-judicial" role of the Board of Supervisors in the process.
"I can compare it to asking a judge to weigh in on a trial before the hearing," he said. "Are there environmental concerns that need to be addressed with a project of this magnitude? Absolutely."
On Friday, former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi, also an environmentalist, finalized her election paperwork for the same supervisorial seat. Jacobi, Carrillo and Carpenter were among a number of local candidates for local and state elected office who beat the 5 p.m. deadline for filing election documents.