s
s
Sections
Search
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Login

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

LoginSubscribe

Say this for Cloverdale, there’s no shortage of civic engagement.

Cloverdale, a town with a little more than 8,800 residents, has eight candidates for two City Council seats on Tuesday’s ballot, the largest field in any of the eight cities and 16 school districts holding elections in Sonoma County next week.

Quantity doesn’t guarantee quality.

In this contest, however, Cloverdale voters can choose from an impressive mix of skilled City Hall veterans and energetic newcomers, all of them focused on bolstering the local economy and improving basic public services.

The Press Democrat recommends incumbents Mary Ann Brigham and Bob Cox for re-election. But it’s too bad there aren’t seats for some of the other candidates, especially Planning Commissioner Melanie Bagby.

Brigham, 66, was first elected to the council in 1998 and returned in 2012 after a two-year hiatus. She subsequently sold her business, Ruth McGowan’s Brewpub, and signaled that she wouldn’t run for another term. But she says she has too many unfinished projects to step down now. Among them are persuading the county to open a satellite Health and Human Services office in Cloverdale; adding a walkway on the First Street Bridge, a busy pedestrian route for children going back and forth to school; and implementing Cloverdale’s recently enacted marijuana business ordinance.

Cox, 70, is retired from the auto parts business. He was appointed to a council vacancy in 2009 and elected three years later. Before joining the council, he cofounded the Cloverdale Alliance for Financial Education, which provides financial know-how and startup help for small businesses. “We were putting people in business in Cloverdale,” he said, citing examples ranging from a landscape maintenance company to a jewelry designer.

Cloverdale has persevered through the decline of the timber industry, construction of a Highway 101 bypass that routed traffic away from downtown and a painful recession. The city’s coffers are recovering, with help from a resuscitated business district with new restaurants, a theater and popular Friday evening concerts. There are still some vacancies to be filled, and opening City Hall for a fifth day would help. So the next council will need a continued focus on economic development.

That’s a goal shared by incumbents Brigham and Cox as well as the challengers in Tuesday’s election. They are Bagby; freelance writer Paul Wrenn; James Luchini, a Chamber of Commerce board member; Jason Turner, an alternate member of the Planning Commission; Keith King, a retired police officer; and Sandy Crayford, a retired school accounting technician.

Bagby, 38, co-owns an IT consulting business and worked on Cloverdale’s most recent general plan update and its urban growth boundary. She also has been a member of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and Climate Action 2020. Bagby understands land-use issues and recognizes the potential boost from filling vacant storefronts downtown. We’re confident she would be an outstanding council member and hope she runs again if she isn’t elected.

Luchini, who works for Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and Turner, who works in health care, also should stay involved. Luchini, 40, is a strong advocate for business and says the city should be more welcoming to new ventures, but he is a bit fuzzy about what that entails. Turner, 29, says he wants younger people to get more involved. He sets a good example, but we believe more time on the Planning Commission would better prepare him for elected office.

Wrenn, 64, has an insider’s knowledge of City Hall and local issues from her tenure as a reporter for the Cloverdale Reveille newspaper. She said she’s running more out of a desire to contribute to her hometown than any disagreement with the direction of the present council.

Crayford and King didn’t respond to invitations to meet with the Editorial Board.

With so many energetic candidates, Cloverdale has a bright future. For 2016, The Press Democrat recommends Mary Ann Brigham and Bob Cox for the Cloverdale City Council.

Show Comment