By Robin Rainwater
Recently, I was a part of controversy when local activist Maria Grijalva announced on the Woodland social media pages that I was a write-in candidate for the Woodland City Council in District 1 and that Woodland had the opportunity to vote in a strong female representative by supporting me with their vote in the upcoming election. Although her unsolicited endorsement of me is flattering and appreciated, it has brought up concerns by community members who do not know me as an individual, where I came from, or the policy directions I stand for. I have addressed as much as I can through the social media questions, comments on my campaign Facebook site, and through private messages. I want to expand my reach and I thank The Vanguard for allowing me the opportunity to help the community make an informed decision when considering me for their write in vote.
When a fellow candidate stated that my intentions were obvious because I was running as a write in, I was unable to share what my intentions actually were due to that candidate’s poor political practice of blocking me before I could respond. My intentions to run for City Council are multifold, but in brief, the decision to run was based on a real desire for meaningful change in Woodland. In the last several months, I have become more involved in local politics because of the seemingly exponential growth in our homeless population. I began advocating for the City Council as they were attempting to address the issue. People mistakenly view me as being an advocate for tent city, because of my open advocacy for the housing first model. The tent city idea was short-sighted and what I was supportive of was legally addressing the issue and I lauded the efforts of the current Council to address the issue at all, when there had been so much inaction. But I also chastised the Council for not communicating with the community at large and explaining their direction, adding to the dissension of the citizenry. I offered to help as someone who has an education in both the model they were leading towards and a change maker with a proven history of system transformation.
When it came time to look at the candidates for District 1, I was underwhelmed by the commitment to make change. Woodland needs change. Having returned to Woodland nearly 5 years ago, I have watched a degradation of our Community in a direction I don’t want to see it go. I want people to feel safer in taking their kids to the parks. I worry about our public health, safety, and sanitation. I do care about people and try to carefully weigh the balance between being fiscally responsible and meeting the needs of the society at large. I am opposed to criminalizing homeless people for simply having nowhere to be. I have spent a significant amount of time in discussion about the recent Martin vs. Boise decision that is often cited as allowing camping in public spaces. I believe it to be an overreach of the actual decision and it does not mean that we cannot protect the public health and safety and sanitation of our Community. We just need to craft our ordinance carefully. I want Woodland to be clean, safe, and a warm place for all of us. I don’t want to see Hepatitis outbreaks caused by sanitation issues. I don’t want to see death of anyone in our community when it could have been preventable through better practices, laws, and policies.
I currently view the local world through a lens that factors in how everything affects the bottom line for people in our community. Everything pulls back to this for me. Woodland needs to increase development of affordable housing to all income brackets, but which will especially protect and encourage development for the lower to middle income brackets. We need to protect people who are already marginalized in our community and we need to build to the populous at large – not merely to those who can afford $400,000 homes. We need more housing built that is affordable to people well below that level. We need zoning that enables development of homes that can be used for infill housing and not just large developments. We MUST build. And build carefully so as to not encroach on our vital farmland and to not encourage urban sprawl.
The strength of my candidacy is not the direction itself, but it is in the WAY that I approach politics. I am not a politician. I am a policy expert. I’ve worked in government at the state level and managed to avoid becoming the ultimate bureaucrat because I worked in change and system transformation. I have carefully navigated through the tight spaces of the intersections between policy, psychology, and the law. In 2009, I presented a poster at the American Psychological Association annual conference called A Call for Evidence Based Public Policy: California Examples. Even then I was driven by a desire to enact change. I have become an expert on both individual and social change through education, practice, and work. I am empirically driven and have long been leading a call for public policy guided by research and devoid of the political rhetoric and ideology of our current national climate. I want to help Woodland in its change by engaging in policy discussion with the community at large as people and not as factions. The majority of us are not in factions- we are neighbors- and I will not contribute to the divide. I unite. I lead. I will make change for the betterment of society and for all of us as Woodlanders.
Feel free to drop me a message… an idea… a policy question. I will thoughtfully consider it. After consideration, write in my name when it comes time to mark your ballot for District 1.
Robin Rainwater (RainwaterLeads2018.com)