Jobs, Education, GMO Labeling Top Local Voter Concerns

What do you think about the results of Tuesday's election? Angry? Relieved? We want to hear your thoughts!

The economy, funding for schools and better labeling of genetically-modified foods were on the minds of many Petaluma residents who went to the polls Tuesday.

“I’m concerned about schools, but it’s difficult to decide between the two propositions,” said Petaluma resident Sharon Johnson, 53. “They both make good points, so who do you believe?”

Proposition 30 was passed by 54 percent of voters and will increase sales and personal income tax to generate funding for schools. Proposition 38, also known as “the Munger Initiative”, which aimed to do the same, but on a sliding scale was defeated, with 74 percent voting against the measure.

Another Petaluma voter, who would only identify himself as Bill, said that besides education, jobs were on the forefront of his mind.

“I want to make sure we have the right infrastructure that will create jobs in Petaluma,” he said. “Our food and beverage sector is strong, so how can we expand it?”

For local filmmaker Beaux Bouverat, a father of two, Proposition 37, which would require all genetically-altered foods to be clearly labeled, was a top issue.

Although supported by more than 60 percent of Sonoma County voters, the measure was defeated 53-47 percent statewide after an onslaught of ads warning consumers that it would result in higher food prices.

“To hear that there has been such a powerful push in the media against the proposition, funded by Monsanto and other agribusiness, is disheartening,” said the 41-year-old Petaluma resident.

Over at Lucchesi Community Center, 21-year-old Ashley St. Juste, born in Haiti and now a student at Santa Rosa Junior College, was voting in her first election.

She voted for Barack Obama.

“It’s about more than just race for me,” said St. Juste, who is Black. “Obama has a lot of ideals and helps low-income people achieve the American Dream. He has the best interest of all people at heart, not just the very rich.”

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