October 16, 2021
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Meet the 2020 election candidates

  • Tim Nonn

  • Michelle Wing

  • Ben Ford

  • Susan Harvey

  • Brittany Murphy

  • Laura Sparks

  • Joe Callinan

  • Jackie Elward

  • Gerard Guidice

  • Willy Lenares

  • Jake Mackenzie

  • Dave Soldavini

October 2, 2020



Tim Nonn

Nonn is a current trustee running for a second term. Originally elected in 2016, he believes he helped make the district more transparent, respectful and collaborative. Involved in the hiring of current Superintendent Dr. Mayra Perez, he saw that as action to make these themes come to life. So, he’s running again because he believes he has the experience to keep the district moving forward in these challenging times.

His platform could be summed up as: Safety, equity and opportunity. The health and safety of students and staff during this pandemic is foremost to him. He keeps this firmly in mind as decisions are being made about when to resume school. He intends to continue making sure no students are left behind. He was extremely involved in revamping special education policies and programs during his first term and wants to make sure all students receive a quality education. He also wants to build on opportunities for them, whether they are going to college or entering a trade or career field.

Nonn said the board sets policy and to achieve his goals he wants policies to reflect the value of good communications, in both English and Spanish, to share critical information with all stakeholders and keep the community up-to-date on their schools. He stressed the process must adhere to a model of transparency, respect and collaboration. He wants to work with the trades to bring more apprenticeship programs to the district for those students not wanting to attend college. In summary, Nonn wants voters to know health and safety, involving everyone in the decision-making process and working together as a community in providing quality education for our children are his goals if re-elected.

Michelle Wing

Wing says it’s important for parents to be involved in their children’s learning; that we have parent voices on the board. That’s why she’s running. She’s been active for years in our schools. For example, the PTA and school site councils at Monte Vista and Lawrence Jones Middle School. She is currently the president of LJMS’s Expeditionary Learning Parents Association. She served on the Citizen Bond Oversite Committees for Measure B and D. She has firsthand knowledge of special education issues, having worked on her son’s IEP. She believes she can make a difference. 

Key goals revolve around fiscal responsibility, bringing students living in the city but attending schools elsewhere, back to the district, and ensuring students have equal access to materials they need to excel and reach their fullest potential. She said we are entering a period of the tightest budgets and deficits we’ve ever seen because of the pandemic. She wants to make sure the board “thinks outside the box” while keeping student achievement and staff support at the forefront. She said communications and marketing are the keys to making families excited to send their children to our schools.

If elected, she will work with all students and parents, not just those who raise their hand to volunteer. She will reach out to families in our community who may speak a different language or come from a different culture. That’s important to her. Also important is to involve other community stakeholders such as the city council, associations such as the Rotary and all the non-profits; working together to make our schools successful. She will celebrate student achievements and make sure the district does “right by them.” She wishes you to know that she has the background and foundation to make this happen. She supports high academic standards, will make sure student and parental voices are heard in an equal opportunity way, and bring a parent perspective to the board.

For more information access: or for Tim Nonn; and, or for Michelle Wing.


Cotati Council


Ben Ford

Cotati has been a great place to live and raise kids for our 17 years here and I believe it’s important to contribute to communities that matter to me. We’re facing serious challenges and changes. I believe in Cotati’s ability to respond to these challenges, through building community, creating fair policies and structures and living in ways that can sustain our town and families for many generations. My experience and skills can contribute to Cotati finding our responses to multiple challenges (climate change, Covid-19, racial injustice, economic inequality), even as we maintain the good things we have going (for example, a friendly small-town feel, a balanced-budget city government with excellent staff and good progress on infrastructure).

My platform:

• Building community in Cotati neighborhoods

• Sustainability and response to climate change 

• Ensuring that Cotati responds to calls for racial justice in productive ways

• Providing more affordable housing and responding compassionately to issues of homelessness

• Supporting local businesses and workers through Covid-19 economic disruptions

My priorities include building community in Cotati neighborhoods; sustainability and response to climate change; ensuring that Cotati responds to calls for racial justice in productive ways; providing more affordable housing and responding compassionately to issues of homelessness; and supporting local businesses and workers through Covid-19 economic disruptions.

With nearly a decade of service to Cotati, I understand our challenges and I know how change gets made. I’m a solution-finder: People who work with me say that I listen to different positions and voices, identify needs and come up with solutions that work. The current council has a strong track record of prudent fiscal management, which I will continue and the solutions I foresee are not expensive. I offer my commitment to community and sustainability, and to a Cotati in which all people feel welcome. 

Susan Harvey

I have had the honor and privilege to serve our community for the last 11 years.  When I came on the council our country was going through terrible economic times.  Our council had to cut employees by 25 percent and those that stayed took a 15 percent pay cut.  Our community and staff stood strong and got through these difficult times.  Over the last six years, with the passage of Measure G, our community has become more self-reliant. We have been able to restore the essential services that our citizens desire and deserve, we have been able to improve our infrastructure and we have built a solid reserve for future disaster events.  Today we are all dealing with the pandemic and economic uncertainty.  I am running again to support our community through these difficult times using the experience I have gained during my time serving on the council.

My goals will be to: 

- Maintain essential services and infrastructure 

- Exercise prudent management of city finances 

- Support current business and bring new business to Cotati

- Keep our neighborhoods, walkways and bike routes safe

- Protect our natural resources and Cotati’s small-town character

- Open communication and listening to everyone

 As I have learned through my time on the council goals sometimes take many years to achieve.  First you need to have a plan and then you need to save funds to execute the plan.  For instance, we have a Pavement Improvement Plan, Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, Parks Master Plan and Vehicle Replacement Plan just to name a few. Every year you need to look at your goals and prioritize based upon available funding and staff resources. Plans often need to be executed incrementally and they can only be moved forward as funds are available.  Sometimes the funding comes from our revenues and sometimes we are able to get grants to move projects forward. Then there are of course unexpected things, like the pandemic, that divert resources from your plans.  You need to have a plan but be flexible enough to adjust to changing situations.

Brittany Murphy

When we moved to Cotati we fell in love with the community – the people, the walkability, the small-town charm. We knew this was where we would grow our family and call home, so naturally I wanted to get involved, contribute and help communicate the opportunities we want to see in our beautiful city. Now, I’m Vice Chair of the Cotati Planning Commission, where I have the privilege of working with the city staff on thoughtful, smart growth and development that helps us build a strong economy without sacrificing Cotati’s unique charm. I truly enjoy this role and I believe it provided me the experience necessary to be a strong advocate and city council member. 

I’ve committed the past 15 years of my professional career to media and government relations. I enjoy understanding other’s perspectives, listening to concerns and finding solutions. I thrive in an environment where I can moderate constructive conversation and find compromise and I would like to explore how I can use these skills as a city council member.

As a candidate for Cotati City Council, I am committed to listening and communicating in a transparent manner. I am committed to looking not just at one issue but to analyze issues comprehensively and determine an overarching strategic plan for our community. We are likely facing tough times ahead, and I believe I can drive smart, thoughtful, level-headed, inclusive conversation among our unique community to ensure we move forward in a direction that helps Cotati thrive. 

This is a strange time to run for city council, but then again, it’s a strange time for most things. My family and I are carefully distancing and opportunities to communicate face-to-face are limited. I am walking and dropping my materials and will begin placing signs throughout the community. I am also holding a “Meet and Greet” opportunity on Saturday, October 3 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in my front yard at 50 W. Cotati Ave. I will be available to talk from a distance and with a mask with residents walking by and hear what you are looking forward in a city council member.  

Laura Sparks

Our current challenges require that we demand more of ourselves and those who represent us. I will bring a fresh perspective and new energy to facing the issues head-on. We are facing multiple emergencies and crises one after another. I am running for city council because I want to bring my creativity, energy and skill to bear helping residents and businesses survive this year and the years to come. 

My main priorities are:

• Inclusive Government: The challenges we face can only be solved by including every voice. I will make sure the city council proactively seeks and relies on the advice of residents and stakeholders.

• Climate & Environment: We must reduce our emissions by reducing our reliance on automobiles. I will work to improve bicycle infrastructure and safety and encourage new development near transit.   We need to learn to live with the effects of climate change and invest in infrastructure and emergency preparedness to make us more resilient in the face of ongoing wildfires, drought and extreme weather events. 

• Affordable Housing: Affordable Housing must be integrated into all new developments and new housing must be within reach for average people. I will push for zoning reform and any other changes necessary to make it easier to build the homes we desperately need while preventing sprawl.

• Anti-Racism: We need to seek out the voices of people of color in our community and hear from them what it is like to live and work here. I will work to ensure that no one in Cotati feels unsafe or is subject to racial profiling.

• Helping Local Businesses: I want to continue and improve on the work the city is doing to reach out to local businesses and find ways to support them. 

I moved to Sonoma County in 2009 to teach astronomy at Santa Rosa Junior College. I have gained valuable experience and skills through my work with the SRJC Academic Senate and as a department chair at the college that will translate well to local government My husband and I were able to move to Cotati in 2016. We are in love with its small-town feel, walkable paths and trails and amazing small businesses and restaurants. So many incredible, inspiring people live in Cotati and I am proud to have you as my neighbors. 


Rohnert Park Council


Joe Callinan

As your Mayor, I know Rohnert Park must have a balanced budget and enough savings set aside for emergencies. Our city budget is just like your family budget: we have income and expenses. I will continue to insist that we balance our budget by only spending what we earn.

I began calling for a balanced budget when I served as mayor in 2014. I am running for re-election to the Rohnert Park City Council to ensure we have a balanced budget so we can continue to provide our residents with green parks, safe roads, clean water and public safety services. 

Recent wildfires and COVID-19 have become major concerns for everyone. The safety and health of our residents is my number one priority. As your mayor, I have collaborated with Rohnert Park business owners to bring forth ideas to keep our businesses open and their employees employed. I understand the impact COVID and wildfires have had on our community and will continue looking for solutions to help our community as we recover financially while protecting our health.

You may have noticed several new pickleball courts at Sunrise park, a new fire station under construction on the west side of Rohnert Park and other capital improvement projects all around town. We can provide these essential amenities because, as a council, we are fiscally responsible. I will use the skills I have learned as the owner of a successful construction business to be a wise steward of our tax dollars.

As the first mayor to convene an ad hoc homeless committee, I am proud to say that we have budgeted nearly a million dollars over the past two years to help our most vulnerable population with the Rohnert Park Rapid Rehousing program.

One of my city council service highlights was joining our public safety officers during the ongoing Shelter in Place to collect food for Neighbors Organized Against Hunger. The Easter Bunny, carried by one of our fire trucks, drove through every street in Rohnert Park, waving at families and collecting canned food. I got goosebumps as I joined the Easter Bunny and we watched excited little children and smiling senior citizens give to those in need.

I ask for your vote so we can continue to make Rohnert Park a place we all love!

Jackie Elward

In the past year, I saw how the current city council was not listening to the public. When they were presented with the opportunity to create equitable districts, they decided not to listen to the people but rather to protect themselves. Community members reached out urging me to run again. We need representation on our city council. A council that is run as a dynasty can become insular and care more about their own interests rather than those of the community. Rohnert Park is in need of new voices. I promise to be accessible to those in the community and to listen to their input. I have shown that despite differences I can bring people together. It is time for change.

My campaign is fighting for affordable housing, the unhoused, updating the general plan to protect us from natural disasters caused by climate change and community oversight for our Public Safety Department. We need to make sure that people and small businesses can thrive here. We need to have a plan for our unhoused rather than pushing them out of town or expecting a third party to assist them. With chaos from wildfires and the pandemic, we need to make changes to the general plan to make sure our community is safe. We also need community oversight of RPDPS. This is an opportunity for us to build a bridge of trust and transparency with our community. By working together, we can bring change. There are also parts of our community that have been neglected. District 1 is in dire need of infrastructure.

Since we have started this campaign, we have had over 60 different individuals, many from our district, donate with funds ranging from $3 to $500. With over 15 different endorsements and counting, we expect more funding this next round. We have more than enough signs, literature and volunteers. We feel that it is important to run a campaign where people can donate and be a part of what we are doing. Our campaign signed the Green New Deal pledge saying we would not take funds from groups that exploit our environment but rather those that prioritize the health of our families, climate and democracy. At this point in the race, we are doing very well financially.

Gerard Guidice

I jumped into this race because our community is having a crisis of confidence in our leadership… it doesn’t feel as though all of councilmembers act first, in consideration of the good of whole—what’s best for our families, and what’s best for our collective future.

This moment requires steady, experienced leadership, willing to listen and earnestly engage in respectful dialogue, and who will prioritize the health and welfare of every Rohnert Park family and neighborhood—without leaving anyone behind! There are serious challenges ahead. More than ever we need councilmembers who will engage with our community, and are committed to collaborative, thoughtful, sustainable, long-term, planning.

I believe trust in leadership is earned. It’s how I’ve run our business, and I promise to take the commitment seriously as a Councilmember.

Our people are incredible. Our city leaders should reflect our values, act with unquestionable integrity, plan long-term and support every single member of our community.

More than ever, we’re at a point in our history that demands steady, experienced, thoughtful and compassionate leadership. And we need city councilmember’s who put the health and welfare of Rohnert Park families and neighborhoods first! It’s not enough to stand at a dais; city leaders need to be hands-on in the community, learning from what they hear, making sure the city is responsive to the needs and protecting our community—everyone in our community.

As the co-owner of a popular local event center/restaurant, I understand the challenges faced by both Rohnert Park families and businesses right now. Through no-quit tenacity, and motivated by our core commitment, we have kept our employees working. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been (and will continue to be) our first priority.

We know a lot of attention, rightfully, will be paid to the presidential race. But the truth is that local races are where decisions are made that impact our day-to-day lives. I’m running because our people deserve better.

First, we need to listen more and better respond to concerns. Seems like basic decency, but it’s missing and that’s wrong. 

Next, we really need to set priorities based on what supports our community. Making sure our residents have what they need to keep food on the table and keep them safe. This needs to be done in a proactive way, not reactive. A long-range plan that addresses our shared goals with a system of metrics is the best way to engage and empower all of our residents. 

As a local businessman, RP Chamber Board member, and engaged community advocate, I am active in our local non-profit and business communities. I see opportunities to attract, retain and assist local businesses create better jobs paying living wages. I see opportunities to engage and plan with our local school board. Our children are our greatest asset.

Willy Lenares

My decision to run for Rohnert Park City Council is simple- Representation matters.  I see immense opportunity for our voices to be heard now more than ever with our newly formed District 1. Beyond that, there are pressing issues facing our diverse community and I want to ensure that we as a city challenge the status quo and drive change. We need new ideas and a new perspective to make sure that our city works for everyone.

 Specific to sections A&B 

• Create programs that assist small business owners revitalize the Southwest Blvd. Shopping Plaza (Adrian and Southwest Blvd). It is in dire need of an update. The plaza does not represent the hard-working people that live in this community. 

• Modernize the Southwest Blvd. sound wall. In many areas, the walls are leaning and dilapidated. They need to be replaced to improve appearance, safety and privacy.

• Renovate the parks and infrastructure in sections A & B to meet the same standards of other parts of Rohnert Park

 We undoubtedly are facing budget shortfalls due to the current unprecedented pandemic. The city remains in good financial shape. I believe we can prioritize certain projects that have been overlooked for many years while still ensuring financial stability.

Jake Mackenzie

I’m running because I have a track record of getting things done for this city.  I’ve been an active member of a city council that has weathered the financial storms of 10 years ago and guided us to the financial stability we now enjoy. I have a record of leadership and the experience to face the difficult times ahead.

My platform is:

Continued financial stability for our city.

Put in place a 2040 General Plan with a strong Climate Change element.

-Implement the “My Brother’s Keeper Alliance “pledge.

 Achieving these goals:

- Financial stability is achieved through establishing clear budget priorities and maintaining a close working relationship with our city manager and staff to implement them.  I’ve been recognized as a fiscal conservative since my early days on the council and we collectively have created a sustainable, well-run city.

Funding is already in place for General Plan update. The need is for political will to deal directly with the very real crises engendered by climate change. I have that will and firm intention! 

To implement the pledge required a review of current practices (completed), listening sessions (completed), reporting to the community (in progress) and finally, actions by based on recommendations in the community report (awaiting Community Report recommendations). Cost will depend on the nature of actions taken.  The current staff work on a Police/ Mental Health collaboration approach is yet to be costed out.

Dave Soldavini

I am running to serve as the first elected member of the Rohnert Park City Council because qualifications matter. I grew up on Baron Drive, and my wife, Kimberley, and I raised our children on Alta Avenue. As a 54 year resident of Rohnert Park, I swam in our pools, played in our parks, and graduated from our schools. I am uniquely qualified to represent Historic A&B sections. 

As the newest member of the city council, I will focus on three things. First, collaborate with property owners to bring a grocery store, shops, and businesses to the underutilized shopping center in Rohnert Park’s original downtown. Second, invite Public Safety to enhance their familiarity with our residents by bringing crime prevention and education resources to our neighborhoods. And third, engage public works to improve areas in need of attention, such as the sound wall along Southwest Boulevard. 

As a longtime member of our community, I've had an opportunity to work closely with our mayor and other members of the city council. I will work closely with these elected leaders and city staff to balance our budget while continuing to set aside savings for times of need, such as we have now. 

Upon being sworn in, I will immediately begin reaching out to those who own property on the west end of Southwest Boulevard. 

As the economy improves and revenues increase, I will ask that city funds are budgeted to improve long-neglected areas of A&B section. Engaging our police department to meet people in our neighborhoods will not add to the budget.