.Lynda Hopkins: SoCo Supervisor reminisces

In the immediate run-up to her uncontested re-election this spring, I had the pleasure-privilege of an extended interview with Supervisor Lynda Hopkins in a casual setting. To her credit, this former journalist put no limits on my questions.

Lynda, as she had me call her, leads Sonoma County as part of the five-member executive, legislative and quasi-judicial Board of Supervisors. Her District 5 corresponds to West County and includes most of the coast.

CH: Lynda, you were an activist for progressive policy before you were a politician. What surprised you most about becoming a powerful officeholder?

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LH: Sometimes politics is far more personality driven than it is policy driven. Sometimes you see “odd” alignments, say around someone perceived as the most progressive person on the board and the most conservative person on the board because they actually think and approach problems in a similar way.

CH: Then how would you characterize your personality in a political sense?

LH: Maybe even more than my political predilections or policy perspectives, I am willing to take risks. I am willing to try things that haven’t been tried before just to see if they work, because the status quo is so broken.

We have to make leaps forward. Just making small improvements around the edges is not going to fix the challenges we have today—rampant homelessness, rampant income inequality, our clear threats from climate change in Sonoma County. Being bold means being willing to accept failure, sometimes humiliating failure in order to move forward.

CH: What else surprised you about taking office?

LH: For most of the past seven years, we have been caught up in a cycle of disaster, response, recovery, and that has been a huge focus that I didn’t anticipate. I am hoping that we can get a few years without disasters so we can really get to think about those big picture policies and longer-term investments.

I’m excited to move a bit past that exhaustion into a more hopeful phase. There are signs. I am seeing all these small towns in West County come together around community space. Graton wants a downtown plaza, Guernville wants a community building and Occidental wants to redo their center.

Hear more. This interview is taken from a longer audio interview in which Lynda talks about what chance good policy has of surviving the political process and legislating for West County. Interview available at ‘Sonoma County : A Community Portrait’ on Apple, Google and Spotify podcasts. linktr.ee/cincinnatushibbard.


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