LISTEN WHILE YOU WORK
From The Windsor Times
Rosa Reynoza has lived in Windsor since 1979, long before it was officially incorporated. She moved here with family from Fortuna. Other than a few other stints around the state for her education, it’s been home ever since. Reynoza now runs her own data-entry company from home and is raising her three kids Emi (18), Dylan (15) and Mikey (13) with her partner Matt.
Reynoza ran for Windsor Town Council in 2016 and finished fourth with 19.3 percent of the vote (two percentage points behind current mayor Bruce Okrepkie). But she isn’t put off by the previous election and is using it to propel her forward.
“I’m not ready to give up on the town,” she said. “(I ran in) the 2016 elections, because it was a really important time. They were just starting to wrap up the general plan and that was really important and I really wanted to win so I could have some impact on that. But, there are still a lot of things I can do help the town of Windsor grow at a good pace.”
Reynoza inhabits an activist political zone by being both a Windsor insider and a political outsider. She attends almost every town council meeting and is often seen at other civic meetings and commissions.
The fact that she does it as a citizen is important to her. “What I want (people to know) is I’m just an average resident. I’m here, raising children, trying to make a living, and I just feel like I connect with them in that sense. I want them to know that I’ve struggled, had my ups and down just like anyone else. I want to get across that I have no special interests, I’m doing this to serve our community. I’ve always been really active in giving back, and this is something really big I can do to give back.”
Reynoza is particularly concerned about how Windsor residents are kept informed of civic activities and how they can have their voice heard. She feels that the average citizen has a hard time accessing information on town projects and plans, and that people don’t feel like their voices are heard.
She would like any development discussion to include “big-picture” discussions of other planned changes, developments or zoning alterations in surrounding areas. She is against the demolition of Heurta Gym, for example, in part because she believes the majority of citizens don’t want it replaced by a hotel and in part because she is concerned a proposed new facility in Keiser Park will be out of reach financially for rental by lower income residents for things like birthday parties and quinceañeras. She is also staunchly against approving housing in-lieu fees from developers and believes they should be required to build mixed neighborhoods of both market, middle and low income priced homes.
She believes that in 2016, she got tagged with the label of being anti-growth, an allegation she denies. “I’m for controlled, smart growth,” she said, firmly.
Another issue from 2016 that she is careful to discuss was her endorsement at the time by Citizens for Windsor, a group opposed to the Lytton Tribe’s plans to put their land into trust.
“I had a problem with the process that was taken there when it started,” she said, adding she also believes the town council did not do enough to explain to state and tribe representatives the degree of opposition to the plans.
“I don’t have a problem with anyone that owns property, and they have owned it for many years, building homes or utilizing it for their community. I am concerned about the winery and the hotel, but that could be any development out on that west side; that large of a scale that would concern me. It’s not just them.”
She thinks her biggest challenge in an election that could see her facing as many as three incumbents will be name recognition. “A lot of people remember me from 2016, but I don’t expect to have a lot of campaign contributions. That’s not what I’m about. The people I want to vote for me are the working class people of Windsor,” she said.
“That will be one of my biggest challenges, I have to figure out how to get to those communities. You can’t go to mobile home properties and go door to door, and at the Burbank developments you can’t go door to door. I have to be creative in how I reach out to those communities.”
But most of all, Reynoza wants people to know her goals come from a deep sense of service and volunteerism installed when she was very young. “I was raised by a mother who gave back to the community and I was always by her side,” she said. “At a very young age I knew how important it was to give back to your community and that’s my reason for running.
“Hearing people — and I’ve been attending meetings for years, asking people to join the process — and hearing them say ‘nobody listens anyways, my voice doesn’t matter’ is upsetting. I hope to turn that around, I want them to say ‘Rosa is listening, Rosa is there for us, Rosa is available.’”
This article was initially posted online on Jul 30, 2018.