John knows the lack of affordable housing in Santa Rosa has made it more and more difficult for young people, families and seniors on a fixed income to afford the cost of living here. He recognizes that increasing the supply of housing is the clear, sustainable solution to address this crisis. As a member of the City Council, he has voted to approve several housing projects to increase housing stock in the city, with a focus on infill and transit-oriented projects which provide a higher density of homes near major vehicular and public transit/rail corridors. John believes the Downtown core is the prime target for this type of density.


As Mayor of Santa Rosa, John made the annexation of Roseland a priority. After years of debate and discussion, he worked with county officials to reach a revenue-sharing agreement which ensures the county invests in the future of Roseland in perpetuity. This creative solution allowed the annexation to move forward giving thousands of Roseland residents political representation and services which their neighbors within city limits had enjoyed for decades. With the annexation complete, the city and county have been collaborating to revitalize the site of the long-abandoned Sebastopol Road Shopping Center (next door to the Dollar Tree) into a vibrant, mixed-use community including affordable housing, retail shops and a large community gathering place.


As a 35-year business owner of Sawyer’s News which opened in 1945 less than a block from the site of the original Courthouse, John has a deep understanding of the history of the bifurcation of Courthouse Square (which he remembers happening as a young man) and the long-held goal of reuniting it. Shortly after John was elected Mayor, he rolled up his sleeves to ensure the City could finally realize a decades-long vision to reunify the square and jump start efforts to create a more vibrant downtown. Instead of dwelling on a design that was considered opulent and unnecessarily costly, John supported a common-sense endeavor to simplify the design and build consensus around an affordable, pragmatic alternative to keep the project moving forward. Under John’s leadership, the City Council unanimously approved a scaled-down version of the Courthouse Square reunification plan. The new square was dedicated with great fanfare in April of last year. It now serves as our city’s central gathering place and marks the beginning of the transformation of our City’s “heart!” It is fast becoming the “place to be.”


With our ongoing housing crisis and the start of service on the SMART commuter rail line and a crackdown on encampments on the old rail corridor, Farmers Lane and the Joe Rodota Trail, the homelessness crisis has reached a flash point. John has been a major advocate for maintaining the City Council’s housing first policies. He supports connecting homeless residents & our most vulnerable citizens to important services and providing our neediest residents with opportunities to receive the important help they so desperately need.


John has collaborated with our firefighters and police officers to ensure they have the resources needed to keep our community safe and effectively do their jobs. John has enjoyed the support of local firefighters, who were on the front lines during the devastating October wildfires. He has also long had the support of the Santa Rosa Police Officers Association for his work with peace officers to protect our residents from the threat of crime & violence. In addition, John has been an avid supporter of the efforts of the Santa Rosa Violence Prevention Partnership, supporting our community’s youth and families.