MAC members named for Sonoma’s Springs neighborhoods

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The Springs finally has its MAC, and now residents know who to speak with about their neighborhood issues. The Springs Municipal Advisory Council has been set up to provide a direct forum for communication between community members in the Springs and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

There were 21 applicants for the Springs MAC, and late last week a selection committee composed of 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin, along with community members Rich Lee, Cathy Wade Shepherd and Gary Saperstein, met to evaluate the applications and narrow them down to seven council members and two alternates.

The committee members were asked to cast nine votes each – one for each applicant to be selected. After the first round of voting the choice was clear: seven candidates received four votes each, making them unanimous selections.

The seven council members, the area they represent and the duration of their terms, are: Maite Iturri, representing schools and El Verano (2 year seat); Ryan Lely, representing Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission and Boyes Hot Springs (2 year seat); Omar Paz, representing businesses/nonprofits and Boyes Hot Springs (3 year seat); Ellen Conlan, at large representing Fetters/Agua Caliente (3 year seat); Avram Goldman, at-large representing Fetters/Agua Caliente (3 year seat); Iris Lombard, at-large representing Boyes Hot Springs (2 year seat); and Raymond Willett, at-large representing Fetters/Agua Caliente (3 year seat).

The two alternates selected were Robyn Anderson, representing Fetters/Agua Caliente (3 year seat); and John Wheatley, representing El Verano (2 year seat). The role of the alternates will be the same as with the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission: they will be allowed to participate and ask questions but can only vote if an at-large council member is absent.

“Each and every candidate was uniquely qualified,” said Gorin in a statement. “Our hope is that those not selected to serve formally on the Springs MAC will stay engaged and serve on a subcommittee of the Springs MAC.”

Gorin has named Ryan Lely to serve as chair of the Springs MAC and Maite Iturri to serve as vice chair of the Springs MAC for its first year. The Springs MAC will elect the officers from its membership in successive years.

The nominees will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors, where a majority vote of the board is required to approve a member. Following appointment, members will receive training in their roles and in government ethics, and begin regular meetings in early spring.

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