New Mayor Logan Harvey is pedaling toward a better Sonoma
A peek at Logan Harvey’s LinkedIn profile reveals his full-time position as a “waste zero specialist” with an environmental services company, seemingly the perfect job for a man who has trouble tolerating waste of any kind, be it time, energy or natural resources.
Elected to the Sonoma City Council in 2018 and chosen by his fellow council members to serve as mayor in 2020, he’s a bike rider, public transportation cheerleader and obsessive recycler with a time schedule that rarely sees a free slot.
The only current councilmember raised in Sonoma, he has an ingrained love of the Valley where he grew up. His wife Lili loves to teasingly remind him that because he was born at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa he’s one day short of being a true native – albeit, she is.
Harvey, 32, attended Sassarini Elementary School, Altimira Middle School and Sonoma Valley High School, and even experienced a couple of years in the early days of Sonoma Charter School where he clearly remembers getting to help stucco the outside walls in second grade. It’s those deep roots, including the quintessential Valley experience of working at Mary’s Pizza Shack for four years during high school, that drive his commitment to keeping Sonoma “a wonderful place to live” -- although he laments that, for many, it is no longer affordable.
“Lack of affordable housing is killing us,” he said. “When I was growing up, working class people could afford to live here. It’s hard now for young families to stay in Sonoma. I’ve seen a lot of my friends leave.”
He left, too, for a while, living in San Francisco while earning an English/language arts degree at San Francisco State, originally intending to become a teacher. Then he was off to South Korea, where he was an English as a second language teacher at an elementary school followed by a three year stint as an English professor at Jinju National University.
While living in Korea he traveled extensively – Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines – and it was while he was abroad that he developed his appreciation for efficient public transportation, being particularly impressed with train service in South Korea and Japan.
When he returned to the Valley in 2016 he first worked in the wine industry, starting at the Pangloss tasting room on the Plaza and then as a wine sales manager for Repris. “I learned a lot about Sonoma Valley and its history working in the wine industry. They are very intertwined. And wineries provide some of the best jobs in the Valley,” he said. “I know about wine and about vineyards and climate change now in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t have.”
Trying to limit his carbon footprint, he shares a Subaru Impreza with Lili, whose job in hotel sales management requires her to drive to San Francisco a couple of times a week. Many days he rides Sonoma County Transit to Santa Rosa, taking his bike along for rides to his office and on outside business during the day. Admitting it is not the fastest way to get there, he said he gets a lot of work and reading done on the bus, and wishes more people would consider that extra time when they decide how to commute.
Sitting at Scandia Bakery, a short walk from his rental home, he said he is pleased about what he and the council accomplished during his first year, including raising the minimum wage, hiring a consultant to crack down on illegal vacation rentals, enacting bans on single-use plastic and Styrofoam and raising the hotel tax to help fund affordable housing projects.