By Roz Rogoff
My endorsements: One no, one yes, one not quiteUploaded: Oct 2, 2011
After I emailed an acquaintance my guess on a local issue that turned out to be wrong, my correspondent shot back with "I thought you had the scoop on SR." I know a lot about San Ramon, but I don't get everything right all the time. For example, I didn't expect the election this year to be such a snoozer.
After their big victory defeating Measure W, I was expecting the No on W crowd to run a slate of candidates for the three open seats on the City Council. I expected Phil O'Loane to run. He ran ten years ago but dropped out for business reasons. I was sure two other candidates would run with Phil under the same banner. I thought there would be a lot of attack ads and mudslinging. Fortunately that prediction hasn't happened, at least not yet.
I was at meeting earlier this year where Carol Rowley and Scott Perkins said they planned to run for reelection and Bill Clarkson said he planned to run for Mayor. That's the line-up I expected, but everyone wondered what Abram Wilson would do about being termed out.
I was told by Dave Hudson at that time, in no uncertain terms, that Wilson was planning to run for State Assembly again in 2012. So I supposed that meant he would sit out the 2011 election and support the incumbents. Dave Hudson has had his eye on the Mayor's chair ever since he was appointed Mayor, somewhat controversially over Vice Mayor Ron Raab, in 2001.
Wilson lost the State Assembly election in 2010 because he avoided or didn't take seriously the issue of Herb Moniz's salary and pension. Wilson told me it was because his opponent outspent him. He said it was the most ever spent on an Assembly race in California. Wilson is still avoiding his own responsibility in losing, and he's still avoiding the term limits put on him as the elected Mayor.
Wilson justified his run for City Council by comparing himself to Marshall Kamena, who is running for City Council in Livermore after being termed out as Mayor. That's not exactly a great comparison. I'm not sure how popular Kamena is in Livermore, but I suspect people there are getting tired of him too.
Jimmy Durante used to sing a song, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY-zmJ1VCQI "Did you ever have the feeling you wanted to go but still have the feeling you wanted to stay?" That seems to be Wilson's theme song. After all if he won the Assembly seat last year, he'd be gone. If he wins the election this year but runs for State Assembly again next year, what does that say?
When I interviewed Abram about running for City Council, he said "This is no time for amateurs." I was tempted to ask him if he's admitting he's a professional politician now, but I didn't. I knew he meant this isn't the time to elect candidates without City Council experience.
Even so, I wouldn't call Bill Clarkson, with 12 years of experience on the School Board, an amateur. Phil O'Loane hasn't served on the City Council, but he has four years of experience on the Economic Development Advisory Committee and another four years on the Planning Commission. These are the right stepping stones to City Council. Phil has experience on how City government works and what the City Council does. He might be a newbie but he isn't an amateur.
So if I am not endorsing Abram Wilson, am I endorsing Scott and Phil? Well, yes and no. I'm endorsing Scott Perkins for City Council. I'm not endorsing Phil but I'm not opposing him either.
Some people I know plan to bullet vote. That means they plan to vote for only one of the three candidates. That's an option for those of you who feel only one of the three is worthy of your vote. I plan to vote for two candidates for City Council, but I feel only one of them is worthy of my endorsement and that's Scott Perkins.