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Alonso looks to bring ‘fresh perspective’ if elected to Petaluma City Council

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Scott Alonso has only been on the planning commission for a little over a year, but he’s optimistic his track record advocating for vital development projects and his push for better transparency will help him win over Petaluma voters this fall.

Alonso, 32, is the youngest of seven candidates pursuing three spots on the city council this November. He believes a fresh perspective, a commitment to accountability and a message focused on the issues Petaluma cares about most will be the defining traits of his campaign.

“I really want to look at how we can craft public policy that does the greatest good for everybody,” he said. “That’s how I approach a lot of things, and that’s something I’d certainly do if I was elected.”

Alonso is the public information officer for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. Previously, he was the PIO for the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and a senior aide for Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael.

He has also been on the board of directors for the Sonoma County Library Foundation for almost three years. Alonso earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaii and a master’s in public affairs from the University of San Francisco.

Alonso, who rents an east side home with roommates, moved to Petaluma four years ago. After working more intimately with the city since his planning commission appointment in June 2017, he said he’s ready to be involved at a higher level, and pursue progress on key issues – the most important being housing.

The vice chair of the planning commission pointed to his voting record, specifically his support of Brody Ranch, which has inclusionary affordable housing units, the North River Apartments, a market-rate project, and his opposition to the Safeway gas station.

He also helped craft the inclusionary housing ordinance that’s set to be finalized by the city council next week and will help bring more affordable residences to the city.

“We need employees that want to work in Petaluma to be able to stay in Petaluma,” Alonso said.

Aside from housing, he wants to see the city rethink how it serves the community, and find better means of reaching the public, including a redesign of the city’s “outdated” website, and utilizing more digital and social media.

To accommodate the varying needs and time limitations that often hinder residents from being engaged with their local government, Alonso said he would host town halls and hold office hours at different locations around the city.

That way, when it comes to campaigning for future tax increases to assist Petaluma’s cash-strapped coffers, residents might be more inclined to support increasing the police staff, assisting with road repaving, or funding upgrades of municipal buildings, he said.

“People need to trust and believe that local government can be a force for good and look out for everyone,” Alonso said. “That’s something I want to work on – being that voice. So when we go to voters for a tax increase, they can trust where their money goes.”

Alonso is an appointed state delegate for the California Democratic Party and has been endorsed by the Sonoma County Democratic Party, but is adamant he is running a non-partisan campaign.

He is advocating for several public health issues, too, including stronger regulations on tobacco use, responsible medicine disposal and finding ways to support lower-income families that can’t afford early toddler care or preschool.

“Eighty percent of a child’s brain is developed by the time they’re 3 years old,” he said. “We need to be involved in discussions on how we can support families with young babies.”

(Contact News Editor Yousef Baig at yousef.baig@arguscourier.com or 776-8461, and on Twitter @YousefBaig.)