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By Roz Rogoff

Not doing what everyone expects

Uploaded: Jan 26, 2011

Part I – Where's the hat?

This column was supposed to be about Councilmember Dave Hudson not running for Mayor, and I will get to that in Part II, but this part is about me not going to the City Council Meeting this week. I've attended almost every City Council meeting over the last ten years, but this week if you look for my hat on the video, it won't be there.

I missed one meeting ten years ago and it turned out to be a humdinger (more on that in Part II). I tried to be at every meeting since October, 2000, but this time I thought, why do I have to go? I'm not covering the meetings anymore. Glenn Wohltmann is doing that. I'm not planning to make a speech in Public Comment, but even if I do, I can go later since Mayor Abram Wilson moved the time for Public Comment from the beginning to the end of the meeting.

I know my absence will disappoint City Clerk Pat Edwards, because the City Council Chambers will empty out after the parents of the essay contest winners and the Building Bridges volunteers leave, but I needed to take a break, a holiday, a vacation. I will be back in February, so look for the hat at the next City Council meeting.

Part II – Why isn't Dave Hudson running for Mayor?

Now what about Councilmember Dave Hudson? Why did he choose to back out of the election so easily? It's no secret that Hudson wanted to be Mayor for a long time. Hudson was elected to the City Council in 1997. The last time he was Mayor was 10 years ago.

Back then the position of Mayor in San Ramon was rotated among members of the City Council. Curt Kinney was Mayor and Ron Raab was Vice-Mayor. Traditionally the Vice-Mayor was appointed Mayor for the following year, but a series of events concerning Contra Costa County's move of the Urban Grown Boundary from Tassajara Valley resulted in Ron Raab storming out of the October 10, 2000 City Council Meeting, the one I missed. That meeting had long lasting repercussions that resulted in Abram Wilson becoming San Ramon's first elected Mayor.

After Raab walked off the dais in 2000, Kinney, Hudson, and Wilson voted to sue the County over the Urban Limit Line (Councilmember Nancy Tatarka abstained). The court threw the law suit out, but Raab attacked Wilson for voting with Hudson and Kinney. Whatever was said, Wilson soured on Raab and voted for Hudson for Mayor, even though it was Raab's turn as Vice-Mayor to be rotated into the Mayoral position.

After Raab was prevented from being Mayor, several of his supporters, mainly Victor Petersen and Jerry Cambra, circulated petitions to put an Elected Mayor initiative on the 2001 ballot. That measure passed by a wide margin, which resulted in Abram Wilson running for and winning the position in 2003.

Hudson was appointed Vice-Mayor in 2003, but since the Mayor would be elected from then on, being Vice-Mayor wasn't an automatic step to being Mayor anymore. Hudson waited until Abram Wilson termed out as Mayor to run for the job.

When Bill Clarkson told Hudson he was planning to run for Mayor, Hudson told Clarkson not to run. Everyone knew Hudson was planning to run this year.

Hudson worked with, or for, Bill Clarkson, as a broker in Clarkson's ERA realty business. I asked Hudson about that. Hudson didn't criticize Bill directly, but he criticized the San Ramon Valley Unified School District's lack of foresight in planning enough schools for Dougherty Valley. He said the temporary elementary school they are planning now is too little too late.

Still I was surprised that Hudson backed off for Councilmember Carol Rowley when he would not for Bill Clarkson.

Hudson told me in a phone conversation on January 20th that he wouldn't run for Mayor against Carol Rowley or Byron Athan. "These are two special people. She's just like Byron Athan."

Byron Athan, who had been City Attorney, was elected to the City Council in 1995. By was appointed Vice-Mayor in late 1996 and as Mayor in 1997 to serve in 1998. Hudson was elected to the City Council in November 1997. He wasn't in the running for Mayor in 1998, so I don't get the comparison.

Hudson went on to say, "Carol is absolutely perfect for San Ramon at this time. I feel like I'm in the right place at the right time. I can keep doing what I'm doing and we've got somebody who can keep moving the ship forward."

Well the ship will have to navigate around left over Measure W icebergs and likely a No on Measure W candidate. Whoever he or she might be could sail right between Carol and Bill into the Mayor's seat.