From leaf blowers in Sonoma, to a cannabis tax in Cloverdale, to loosening up Healdsburg’s strict growth-control ordinance, to deciding among challengers and known incumbents, there is no shortage of local ballot issues for Sonoma County voters in November.
In Cloverdale, voters will be asked whether to approve a tax of up to 10 percent on gross sales of marijuana businesses that could be allowed in the city in the future.
With medical marijuana becoming more regulated and the likelihood California voters will approve adult use of pot, Cloverdale is looking to capture some of that revenue.
If Cloverdale voters approve the tax, the city would look at ending its prohibition on dispensaries and other cannabis-related enterprises.
There are eight candidates running for the Cloverdale City Council, including incumbents Mary Ann Brigham and Bob Cox.
Challengers include Melanie Bagby, an information technology specialist; Sandi Crayford, a school account technician; retired Cloverdale Police Sgt. Charles “Keith” King; James Luchini, a winery manager; Jason Turner, an alternate planning commissioner; and Paula Wrenn, a freelance writer.
In Healdsburg, voters will decide whether to relax the city’s growth-control ordinance to allow more than double the 30 new market-rate homes per year allowed now.
Environmental groups have come out against it, but proponents see it as necessary to create more apartments and multifamily units.
In addition, Healdsburg voters are being asked whether to increase the city’s hotel room tax from the current 12 percent to 14 percent.
The extra revenue, an estimated $530,000 a year, would be directed to affordable housing programs and services. As a special tax, it requires two-thirds voter approval.
Healdsburg voters also will be asked whether to stop adding fluoride to the municipal water supply.
Voters upheld fluoridation two years ago, something that has been done since 1952 in Healdsburg as a tooth decay preventative measure and is widely supported by health organizations. But determined opponents see it as a form of mass medication with side effects.
Healdsburg City Council incumbents Gary Plass and Shaun McCaffery are both running for re-election, but Tom Chambers has decided not to. As a result, the Friday filing deadline for candidates was extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Candidates who have filed to run for Healdsburg City Council include business owners David Hagele and Tim Meinken, and Joe Naujokas, a software development manager.
In Sonoma, voters will be looking at three local ballot measures.
One is whether to uphold the ban on gas-powered leaf blowers that was approved by a divided City Council.
The controversial devices are seen as noisy and polluting by critics, but defenders say they are efficient and less time-consuming than raking, and getting rid of them will put landscape employees out of work.
Another ballot measure in Sonoma would extend by five years the half-cent sales tax that goes into the general fund to pay for city services.
Approved by voters in 2012, the sales tax is set to expire next year. It currently raises about $2.2 million per year, roughly 20 percent of the city’s general fund.
Sonoma voters also are being asked to replace the city’s 1992 smoking ordinance with tougher outdoor smoking restrictions.
Sonoma City Council incumbents David Cook and Laurie Gillian are running for two seats along with attorney Amy Harrington, and community organizer Jack Wagner.
In Windsor, incumbents Deb Fudge and Bruce Okrepkie will be on the ballot with Julia Donoho, an attorney and architect; Rosa Reynoza, a business manager; and Michael Wall, a health care consultant.