5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino (left) and 3rd District candidate Bob Field
Paul Wellman (file)

During lively Board of Supervisors meeting, 3rd district candidate Bob Field charged during public comment he was recently the victim of false “politically motivated” personal attacks from the conservative county supervisors.

To recap: Two weeks ago Supervisor Steve Lavagnino publicly blasted Field, all but calling him a hypocrite for appealing a 14,000-square-foot Santa Rosa Winery expansion project while promoting his own property on the market as a small winery. Field is known for crusading for the past 10 years against the proliferation of wine-tasting rooms and vacation rentals in the valley. Lavagnino emphasized the description of the “1930s farm house”: “The classic red barn offers multiple opportunities including … a small scale winery.”

This week, Field charged Lavagnino’s stunt besmirched his and his relator’s reputation, violated the democratic appeals process, and exposed his home address. “Citizens cannot attack its government but government can attack its citizen,” he said. Supervisors Doreen Farr and Janet Wolf both apologized, describing Lavagnino’s behavior as having a “chilling effect” on future applicants. “It’s really important for us to remember what we say out here goes out far and wide,” said Farr, whose district is where the winery is located. “Just because we can say something doesn’t mean we should say something.” Supervisors Lavagnino and Peter Adam did not respond to Field.

But COLAB (Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business) spokesperson Andy Caldwell stuck up for Lavagnino and dismissed Field as a “serial complainer.” He charged the county appeals process “ripe for abuse.” Since Field is running for supervisor — a fact a few people pointed out — the issue teetered on violating rules that prohibit discourse of political campaigning during weekly board meetings, according to county counsel. Caldwell objected. “I’m not talking about the supervisor race,” he said. Instead, he claimed, he was talking about “the monster this board created,” referring to the county’s appeals process.


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