Election forums highlight races and ballot measures for Sonoma County voters

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Sonoma County voters can attend several election forums and debates over the next couple weeks to help weigh choices for elected office and ballot measures in the March 3 election.

Three Sonoma County supervisor seats are up for election this year, with supervisors Shirlee Zane, Susan Gorin and Lynda Hopkins each facing challengers. Former Santa Rosa mayor Chris Coursey is running to unseat Zane, Sonoma City Councilman David Cook is challenging Gorin and political newcomer Michael Hilber has mounted a low-key, long-shot campaign to oust Hopkins.

Two tax measures are also on the ballot this year. Measure G is a half-cent countywide sales tax that would raise about $51 million a year for fire service and prevention. Measure I asks voters for an early, 30-year extension of SMART’s quarter-cent sales tax.

The League of Women Voters of Sonoma County is hosting three forums this month, all at the Santa Rosa City Council Chambers at 100 Santa Rosa Ave. The first event, from 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, will discuss the pros and cons of the two ballot measures.

Gorin and Cook will square off in the league’s next forum Jan. 27. The event, cosponsored by the Sonoma Index Tribune, will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Zane and Coursey will square off from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 29 in a debate that’s cosponsored by the Sonoma County Hospitality Association.

The Santa Rosa Democratic Club will also host a debate featuring Zane and Coursey at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building at 1351 Maple Ave.

As yet, no head-to-head forum is scheduled for Hopkins and Hilber.

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