Here's a glimpse at what people were talking about last week on Watch Sonoma County, an online hub created by ?????? The Press Democrat for news and conversation about local politics. For more, visit

There's no shortage of people who will tell you which candidate to vote for in November.

Organizations from the Sonoma County Democratic Party to the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce to The Press Democrat Editorial Board are issuing endorsements. Soon, campaign mailers will start showing up in your mailbox with instructions to vote for slates of favored candidates. But if you want to make up your own mind, where do you go for information?

Watch Sonoma County is here to help.

This year, we are giving local candidates space to speak with you directly, unfiltered, in their own words.

It is a chance for you to compare candidates' answers to common questions on issues that are shaping our communities -- and discuss their responses with other voters.

We hope you will use this as a resource to learn more about the candidates who will make decisions that have far-reaching impacts on our schools, our cities, our county, our state and our nation.

It's no small undertaking. We've sent out invitations to 129 candidates in 31 contested races, ranging from local school board and city council contests to legislative and congressional races. So far, we've received responses from about a quarter of the candidates and more are coming in every day.

(Note to candidates: Voters start casting ballots by mail on Oct. 4, barely two weeks from now. If you haven't returned your WSC questionnaire, hop on it fast).

We've created an individual page on WSC for each local race -- we call it "Meet the Candidates" -- where you can find links to their answers and discuss the contest with other voters in your town.

To find them, visit WatchSonoma And spend a little time getting to know the people who aspire to represent you.

-- Ted Appel