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Sonoma County Gazette
Lower Russian River MAC Legend

Local Governance in West County


Aug 1, 2018


Upcoming MAC events include: Lower Russian River MAC Town Hall 3 - Saturday, Aug. 18, 1-3pm

Please join Supervisor Lynda Hopkins to discuss district boundaries, the recruitment process and qualifications for MAC representatives at Guerneville Elementary School. 14630 Armstrong Woods Rd. Guerneville

By Amie Windsor, Field Representative, Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins

Let’s talk about MACs.

If you live in West County, chances are you’ve heard talk of “MACs.” A MAC, or a municipal advisory council, is a board of community representatives established by the county board of supervisors. The purpose of the MAC is to advise county government on issues affecting its community. Try as it might, county government is often unable to deliver a level of service equal to the service provided by a city to its constituents. Short of incorporating, which is both a long and expensive process, an unincorporated community can form MACs to help bring in funds needed for desired services.

In the Fifth District, Supervisor Lynda Hopkins is establishing two Municipal Advisory Councils, covering the Sonoma County Coastal and Lower Russian River areas.

The Coast MAC comprises the towns of Valley Ford, Bodega, Bodega Bay, Jenner, Timber Cove, Fort Ross, West Cazadero and the Sea Ranch. The River MAC includes Forestville, Rio Nido, Guerneville, Monte Rio and Duncans Mills (plus everything in between).

The boundaries we’ve established with Permit Sonoma and community input are set, but can be revisited once the MACs are up and running. The districts and communities from which representatives will be nominated or elected are still in draft form.


If you’d like to provide input on the draft districts or communities, please email Amie Windsor at

Lower Russian River MAC MAP

The formation of the MAC will create a new political voice in the community.MACs will possess a formal structure through which the county board of supervisors can receive and consider community views.

Unlike the chaotic form of community participation that is characteristic of many unincorporated areas (we’ve all been to those town hall meetings before), a MAC presents the board with a single recognized voice. The divergent views of the community can (and will) still be heard by a MAC, but a consensus will be carried to the Board. So, instead of judging local wishes by the loudest voices, the Board of Supervisors can leave the process of building a consensus to a MAC. Furthermore, the MAC’s unified voice will help amplify Supervisor Hopkins’ voice, which speaks for all of West County, when working with her colleagues on budget issues, land use concerns, permit applications and more. All in all, it’s pretty exciting.

The process for setting up the River and Coast MACs has, as government goes, been slower than originally thought, but the Fifth District office is plodding along with the goal to have both MACs conducting meetings in the first quarter (January through March) of 2019.

That said, there’s still a lot of work to do between now and then, including:

• Finalizing the districts and boundaries for the River MAC

• Finalizing communities and boundaries for the Coast MAC

• Opening up the recruitment, or representative selection, process for both MACs. The recruitment process for the River MAC will include a caucus and online election while the Coast MAC representatives will be nominated by coastal community members and boards.

• Setting a date for the River MAC’s caucus

• Receiving approval by the Board of Supervisors on the bylaws, policies and procedures for each MAC. Currently, our goal date is Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Once the bylaws, policies and procedures of the MAC are approved, we will be able to open up the recruitment processes. That means, for the River MAC, we will begin finalizing the caucus, enabling applicants to turn in statements of interest and resumes. For the Coast MAC, an open recruitment process means communities can officially nominate community members for the representative positions.

While the recruitment process won’t officially open until mid-September, it’s never too early to start thinking about participating in the MAC as a representative. Board membership is open to the public; any full-time resident who lives within the boundaries of each MAC can be a representative. Representatives should expect to dedicate five to 10 hours a month on the MAC, with roughly half of that time being consumed by meetings.

Considerations for serving as a MAC representative include:

• Willingness to represent community needs

• Ability to work well with others

• Having a good pulse of the community

• Promoting and encouraging public participation

• Be willing and able to communicate with the Board of Supervisors

• Ability to travel to and from community meetings

To stay abreast of what’s going on with each MAC, please sign up for the MAC newsletters by emailing Amie Windsor, Field Representative for Supervisor Hopkins at


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