By Roz Rogoff
Not ready for endorsements yetUploaded: Aug 22, 2013
Now that we know who the candidates for City Council and Mayor are, I will be making my endorsements for City Council soon, but I'm not quite ready yet.
I will stick my neck out, but not very far, and endorse Bill Clarkson for Mayor. That's easy since he's the only one running and I endorsed him the last time he ran two years ago. I do not have any problem with his performance as Mayor under difficult economic circumstances.
He's been criticized for stopping the July 4th Fireworks and cutting other programs, none of which are Clarkson's sole responsibility. As I've pointed out in other comments, Mayor Clarkson has one vote just like the other four Councilmembers. Yet some residents, at least the 32 out of 72,000 who contacted Mayor Abram Wilson about running again, believe Clarkson is solely responsible for whatever they don't like.
I would endorse Bill even if Abram was able to run again for Mayor. Abram was a good Mayor in his first three terms when the economy was good and everything was running smoothly. We didn't have the State taking our RDA money. We didn't have anyone questioning the City Manager's salary.
When the economy tanked it was not so easy to justify Herb Moniz's salary and benefits. That's too bad because Moniz was a very good City Manager and probably deserved it, but it looked bad when other budget items had to be cut.
Remember San Ramon has a City Manager government, not a Strong Mayor government. Greg Rogers isn't paid anywhere near what Moniz was getting and he's doing a good job under difficult circumstances. The Mayor and City Council give direction to Staff, but the City Manager runs the City.
There are four candidates running for City Council and their campaigns are just starting up. Harry Sachs is holding a Campaign Kickoff at Boone Acres Park on Saturday, August 24th. I wrote an earlier blog on Sachs when he was the first to pull papers to run for City Council.
Dave Hudson has been on the City Council since 1997. He's very knowledgeable about regional transportation issues. He's been very good about bringing transportation money to San Ramon but that means playing by the rules of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, ABAG, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
While that has brought dollars into the city, it has also put the city into partnership so to speak with agencies that a faction of San Ramon residents doesn't like. Lately CCTA and MTC are under fire for the HOV lane proposals near Twin Creeks. So far Dave Hudson has not stated a public position on these.
I don't know Rene Matsumoto personally but I have read her biography and she has been very responsive getting back to me with to answer questions I wrote about in one of my blogs. I'm impressed with her responsiveness and finding out the facts before jumping to a decision. I would like to see another woman on the City Council again, but I am not ready to make an out and out endorsement of Rene's candidacy yet.
Thomas von Thury is a complete mystery to me. I met him at the first Orientation Session held by the City Clerk's Office on July 11th. He seemed like someone curious about the process, but I didn't think he was serious enough to file papers. Well he was and did, but so far except for announcing his opposition to high density housing developments and the planned City Center; I don't know what he supports or stands for.
The election is over two months away and I am pretty much in the same position as most voters in San Ramon, seeking more information to make an informed decision on which Candidates for City Council to endorse or support, and probably more important, to vote for.