Current Edition

Past Editions

Who's Next
Mike Reilly Endorses Rue Furch
By Vesta Copestakes

I've stayed away from reporting on endorsements because it just takes up too much room on these pages. The reason I invited the supervisor candidates to write for us is because of my personal conviction that voters need to get to know who these people are who want this job. It's beyond my understanding why they want that much responsibility - and it's HUGE - then get the pleasure of people giving them a hard time about their decisions. But it's their choice. Our choice is who gets to fill that seat and cast the votes that influence the direction our home takes in the years to come.

When Mike Reilly announced that he is endorsing Rue Furch, I decided that this stands out above other endorsements and qualifies as news, because it's his job for which the candidates are competing against each other. Mike has had this job for 12 years. He fought hard to get it and it matters a lot to him who is going to follow in his footsteps. 12 years is a large investment of a person's life. It's long enough to set a direction and feel a powerful commitment to wanting the heritage he passes along to go to someone who will respect the path he has trodden.

For us voters out here, we look at the candidates and see very intelligent, committed individuals who all have a good environmental record, respect for our home, skills that apply to the job and passion for being the person who leads us into the future. It's not an easy decision to choose one over another. Does it matter who Mike endorses? Is his choice more important or influential than other endorsements? Not necessarily more important, but definitely significant.

Mike has been a popular supervisor because he's gone up against some pretty powerful people to maintain what we in the 5th District consider our ideals. We tend to think differently from other districts, for whatever reason, and even in the times when it's been a 4 to 1 vote with Mike holding the only "No" vote, his vote has changed the direction of events. He brought up details that can't be ignored. The technicality of that "No" vote is that the justification for opposition has to be addressed. It doesn't just go away. Once examined, nothing stays the same.

Mike Reilly has worked closely with Rue Furch the entire 12 years he's been in office. She was originally appointed to the Planning Commission by Ernie Carpenter 16 years ago to represent the 5th District. When Mike took over, he decided that Rue was doing a good job and didn't need to be replaced. It's rare for Mike to agree with Ernie on anything, but they agreed on Rue. In fact, BOTH Ernie and Mike have endorsed Rue so that's two times they agreed in 16 years!

The Planning Commission is largely volunteer, they get paid $75 a meeting and involves a tremendous amount of "homework", and has a great deal of influence on county decisions. Rue was on the team of people who set the standards for the Aggregate Resources Management (ARM) Plan and has been working on the General Plan 2020 for the last several years. She also sat on a lot of specific ordinances and/or plans; such as the Housing Ordinance (now a model for the state), the Telecommunication Ordinance (towers and antennas for cell phones and emergency services), the timber conversion plan, the standards for wind generating towers and others. She knows this county inside and out and has consistently been a vote for high environmental standards all along.

The Planning Commission is the first hurdle growth and resource developers encounter on their way to the Board of Supervisors. This group dissects and examines every detail before passing their recommendation on to the board. Each Planning Commissioner is appointed by a Supervisor, so it's like a Junior Board of Supervisors.

When you sit at their meetings, you can see that the appointees have the same value systems as the Board members they represent. When they dissect a plan, they examine what's important to them, then try to convince the other members to see it their way. Rue does the same thing Mike does, she brings up all kinds of facts and figures that ultimately change the way things are done and many times, change the other appointees perspective as well. That influences their votes and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

What this means is that Mike Reilly sees Rue as being someone who has 16 years of experience heading into this job and has demonstrated her value system over that time. "Rue is the one candidate who most strongly reflects the values of the 5th district," Reilly said." Her environmental track record is by far the most impressive of the candidates as is her longstanding advocacy on health care, rural infrastructure, water issues and services to our most vulnerable populations - children and seniors. Rue understands the district and is the one person most able to represent this district from day one on the Board of Supervisors. I have met with all the candidates, some of whom are friends for many years. All are decent people with the best intentions, but we need a strong, smart champion to get us through the difficult county issues of the next several years. Rue stands out as that person."

When I asked Mike what impresses him most about Rue, he said, "She does her homework. She has a superior knowledge of county government and has been incredibly effective getting a progressive stance adopted on land use, zoning... the General Plan. She reads every document down the finest details then asks the hard questions. But she's not confrontational. She listens and people listen to her because she takes her job seriously." You decide if Mike Reilly's endorsement is important to you and will influence your vote. It's important to Mike. "There is no Plan B in this race. If we are to continue to have a progressive voice for Sonoma County on the Board of Supervisors, then we must elect Rue Furch as the next 5th District Supervisor."

For in-depth information on Rue Furch - and to give her your feedback - log on the

Sonoma County Gaz Extra Sonoma County News