As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition cannot endorse candidates for public office, but we are able to share information so that you can arrive at your own conclusion. Below are Cloverdale City Council candidates’ responses to our questionnaire on bicycling in Sonoma County. We have made no content changes. Thanks to the candidates for their time and thoughtful answers!
NOTE: None of the Cloverdale candidates are members of SCBC.
“WALKER” JAMES T. RUGINO
Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city? I used to ride all the time when I lived in Santa Rosa; when I did, the Joe Rodota Trail was safe and open for easy access. This was during the period of transition into the 3-foot driver distance rule was established. Since 2014, I have largely been a driver not a cyclist, but find it both respectful and safer to give cyclists room they need – and I always check my rearview mirror after passing a cyclist, to reassure myself of their safety.
What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development? Groups of cyclists consider Cloverdale a great spot to rest up on their journeys. Cloverdale seems very cycle-friendly and very safe.
If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety? My first subcommittee assignment just before COVID hit in 2020 was to be on the Climate Action subcommittee. My commitment remains strong; mitigating climate change has to be our greatest priority. Cycling and use of public transportation are vital to encouraging the development of habits that aid and rebuild our environment instead of polluting it.
Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities? Providing and encouraging options first and foremost for forms of travel that are less burdensome to the environment. The switch from combustion engines to electrical engines is going to have huge ramifications on all forms of transportation; the types of low-impact, non-polluting transport must be both encouraged and facilitated, and charging station infrastructure has already been demonstrably vital to the widening availability of electric vehicles. Personally, when I lived between 101 and the railroad tracks below College Avenue in Santa Rosa when I was biking, I was and remain grateful for every mile of bicycle path the County and the State have developed so far. One aspect of the issue I hope to address (solving it is another matter entirely) is bicycle theft; it was bad when I lived in Santa Rosa, worse further south in the County, but the level of bicycle theft in Cloverdale and the surrounding area astonishes and grieves me.
AUGUSTINE “GUS” WOLTER