Rohnert Park mayor to be named to Sonoma County seat on Golden Gate Bridge District
Rohnert Park Mayor Gerard Giudice is poised to represent Sonoma County on the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, three months after former Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli was stripped of the position.
Nominated by the Sonoma County Mayors and Councilmembers’ Association, Giudice was Foppoli’s chief rival for the post at the time. The Board of Supervisors is set to affirm his selection in a Tuesday vote.
The board made the same, largely ceremonial decision in favor of Foppoli’s appointment on April 6 and then came under immediate scrutiny following the San Francisco Chronicle’s April 8 report on sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Foppoli.
Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick opened a criminal investigation into Foppoli and several supervisors signaled they would seek to rescind Foppoli’s appointment as one of three representatives sent by Sonoma County to sit on the 19-member bridge district board.
The mayors and council members group rebooted their selection process and wound up with Giudice as their top choice.
The Golden Gate Bridge District is responsible for overseeing the iconic toll bridge as well as the Bay Area’s ferry and bus service.
“It’s not just the bridge, it’s the transit; the buses and the ferry system as well that are really important and crucial to the constituents here in Rohnert Park,” Giudice said. “As such I wanted to be able to represent not only my city but my county.”
Giudice is poised to join Supervisor David Rabbitt and Chris Snyder, a longtime local union official, in representing Sonoma County on the district board.
Elected officials must fill two of the three Sonoma County seats. Typically those seats go to one supervisor and one nominee from the mayors and council members group, according to Rabbitt. The third seat is reserved for a non-elected, public member.
Giudice, who was elected to the Rohnert Park council and appointed mayor in 2020, also sits on the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and Regional Climate Protection Authority.
Equitable access to public transportation will be a priority, Giudice said.
“There needs to be affordable and accessible alternatives to cars,” said Giudice.
Giudice’s term on the Golden Gate Bridge District will expire in January 2023.
Supervisors' experience with Foppoli’s appointment has prompted the board to consider how it handles such selections, Rabbitt said.
“There was some discussion from the dais, about vetting individuals and background checks,” said Rabbitt. “I think we’re all trying to grapple with how do you do that efficiently.”
Another point of scrutiny for the board is how it widens its pool of applicants for open seats. Recent pushback from residents demanding better representation on the county’s redistricting commission has added weight to the conversation.
It can take a while for a new Golden Gate District member to get settled in the seat, Rabbitt said. Though the seat has been vacant since Foppoli’s removal, the district has not had a vote requiring the third Sonoma County voice, according to Rabbitt.
“Obviously you want to have a full board of directors,” Rabbitt said.
You can reach Staff Writer Emma Murphy at 707-521-5228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MurphReports.