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September 23, 2022

Two-Year Council Candidates Answer Our Questions

Candidates for one 2-year Seat complicates the math

The race for three city council seats in Healdsburg continues following a candidates’ forum, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Healdsburg 2040, at Coyote Sonoma on Sept. 14. 

Last week (Sept. 15) we presented answers to a set of questions from the Tribune by all four candidates for the full-term, four-year council seat. With this issue, the Healdsburg Tribune gives the three candidates for the partial two-year term the chance to respond to the same questions. The candidates are presented alphabetically, and their comments have only been edited for technical reasons (spelling, etc.).

“Election Day” is Nov. 8; mail-in ballots will be accepted beginning Oct. 10 at the Registrar of Voters Office (435 Fiscal Dr., Santa Rosa) and the next day at official Ballot Drop Box locations. 

Matias Lopez Jr.

What are the most important reasons you’re running for a city council seat?

City council is a volunteer position, so the stipend for the role is low. Because of this, the people who are able to serve on the council are folks who are fortunate to have flexible work schedules and significant savings. As a result of this barrier, people on city council don’t necessarily represent the residents that live in Healdsburg.  

What experience or specific qualifications will you bring to the city council?

Every year, the speed that ideas, technology and culture spreads keeps increasing. I was born in Healdsburg in 1999 and grew up accustomed to this age of unprecedented progress. I graduated college in a pandemic, which seemed typical to me. Having a mindful young voice on the council will provide insight for future projects.

How do you think the council can better represent its constituents?

Transparency, and elevating the voices of constituents that don’t have as much opportunity to participate.

What do you think that visitors should know about Healdsburg? 

Please be respectful of our small town. This is a great place to be… but you should probably bring a water bottle from home. Stay hydrated.

Campaign website: www.matiascitycouncil.com.

Ron Edwards

What are the most important reasons you’re running for a city council seat?

I’m running for Healdsburg City Council to advocate for our residents, address the inadequacies in government-community communication and create a solutions-oriented environment in our elected offices. This will allow me to focus on long-term water solutions, affordable housing shortfall, getting the L&M project running to address the need of our unhoused and work with social justice partners to address racial and social inequities.

What experience or specific qualifications will you bring to the city council?

I bring the experience of a grandmother who picked cotton and the son of two Ph.D. educators. Growing up in the Bay Area, I have seen the ever-increasing difficulties in affordable housing. In running a catering company for 25 years, I understand the difficulty in finding and retaining employees due to the high cost of living. My experience advocating policy from the city, county to state level required building coalitions to get things done. These experiences will help me work with fellow council members to get results for the residents of Healdsburg.

How do you think the council can better represent its constituents?

I believe there is always room for improving the openness and transparency of government. I believe the current council does its best to outreach to a wide range of residents, but we need to do better to get our working families and seniors involved in the projects and issues facing our community.

What do you think that visitors should know about Healdsburg? 

Visitors miss the backbone of our attractiveness, our traditional events like the Street Dance or Beer and Sausage event. Front and center, tourists see the results of the hard workers in the fields who produce our produce and vineyard workers, whom without these hard workers we would not be a world-class destination. Yet these hard-working residents are hidden away. The farming history of Healdsburg and its working residents should be highlighted.

Campaign website: ronedwards2022.com

Brigette A. Mansell

What are the most important reasons you’re running for a city council seat?

Healdsburg needs an experienced person in this two-year seat. This is a critical time for a “Healdsburg-Residents-First” agenda, and I bring recent, vital council experience and knowledge as well as a neighborhood, middle-class view. I have no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

The council must focus on Healdsburg’s water security. I will insist on government transparency and I will protect our small town quality of life. I am running for this two-year seat to focus on: our neighborhoods and our streets, to promote climate resiliency work, and to support local: Latino population, our youth, our local-serving businesses and artist community. 

What experience or specific qualifications will you bring to the city council?

Elected to the Healdsburg City Council in 2014, I served from 2015-2018, and was mayor in 2018. I bring valuable knowledge of the city’s infrastructure, complex budget and the vital 2018 SDAT visiting report. As a 39-year Santa Rosa City high school English teacher and a substitute teacher in Healdsburg’s public schools, I value engaging youth and demonstrating effective communication skills. My boy-girl twins, Taylor and Savannah Berry, attended our public schools and graduated from Healdsburg High School in 2011. I will bring a balanced perspective for policy decisions regarding local workforce housing creation and future economic diversification in our town. 

How do you think the council can better represent its constituents?

Latinos make up around one third of our population. We have seen advances in representation in recent years. I will work to make this the norm and not the exception.

I have deep connections to the community, and I have a record of promoting and safeguarding transparency, improving outreach and listening carefully to the concerns of my neighbors. Let’s put a prominent link to city council meetings on the front page of the city website, so participation is only one click away.

What do you think that visitors should know about Healdsburg? 

Healdsburg is a charming, small town because of its working class legacy; our agricultural roots, our hardworking, generous, community-oriented people. A precious river runs through our town. Healdsburg is a town, not a brand. In 1857, our Plaza Park began as a generous, inclusive gesture from Harmon Heald to create a community gathering place. Healdsburg’s Latino population and artist community make this town interesting and enjoyable to visit.

Campaign website: www.mansellbrigette.wixsite.com/mansellforhealdsburg  

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