Joe Wildman: At Least Pray for a Hamburg Victory even if you won’t endorse

Potter Valley

I hear too much from voters in the 5th district who are unhappy about the choice for County Supervisor – Dan Hamburg or Wendy Roberts. But it would be foolish for anyone to sit this one out – or, worse – to vote for Ms. Roberts just because there’s something about Dan that’s hard to get over.

Whatever else Wendy Roberts may be, she is first and foremost a guided missile aimed straight at the most basic environmental protections that make Mendocino County a great place to live. She proudly represents herself as an enemy of planning rules that restrain developers’ ambitions. The most right-wing forces in Mendocino County have rallied enthusiastically to her cause and are showering her with campaign cash. That is not because there’s just something about Dan that’s hard for them to get over.

Real estate development interests dominate among Ms. Roberts’ donors, including Paul & Barbara Clark ($500), Kelley Property Associates ($500), and the California Real Estate PAC out of Sacramento ($500), which says it gives money to candidates to “help promote the cause of housing and private property rights.”

Other donors for Wendy Roberts include the chairman emeritus of Mendocino County’s right-wing, John Mayfield ($500). The current and former presidents of the Farm Bureau have given a total of $1,500. Timber-industry supplier Bailey’s of Laytonville gave $1,000. A front for big construction companies, “North Coast Citizens for a Better Economy,” gave $500. Jared Carter, the former lawyer for Pacific Lumber and many developers, hosted a fund-raiser for Ms. Roberts.

Of course these Republican interests support Ms. Roberts. They are not confused about who she is or what she will do on the Board of Supervisors. You shouldn’t be confused either.

Wendy Roberts earned this developer enthusiasm by her consistent and gratuitously nasty attacks on people who try to defend the Mendocino Coast. When developers from Atherton tried to get County approval in 2009 to throw out the current zoning of the Albion Headlands and carve it up into four lots for mansions, closing a well-established public trail, the Albion Residents Association and the Sierra Club rose in opposition, supported by dozens of coastal residents.

But Wendy Roberts sided with the developers, sending an email to the Supervisors denouncing the opponents for “abuse” and for “harassing land owners into simply not developing their property at all.” If you want a copy of Ms. Roberts’ e-mail, I can send it to you – it speaks for itself.

Fortunately, three members of the current Board of Supervisors disagreed with Ms. Roberts and voted to protect the Albion Headlands.

What’s at stake in this election is that slim 3 to 2 majority on the Board of Supervisors who will defend the General Plan against developer attacks. Developers know that with Ms. Roberts on the Board, it would be open season on Mendocino County’s environment.

So if you aren’t a big fan of Dan Hamburg because of anything he did or didn’t do in his four decades of public life in Mendocino County, get over it now. I no longer live in the 5th District so I can’t vote for Dan, and this letter isn’t a formal endorsement of him. But I pray this letter serves as a wake-up call to those who care about Mendocino County’s environment but are mistakenly considering Ms. Roberts as an alternative to Dan.

One Comment

Good job with the facts Joe. Will facts have any influence on this election? Not if the money interests have their way.