By Roz Rogoff
Harry Sachs' invitationUploaded: Jul 22, 2013
I received the following email from Harry Sachs on July 17th.
"Dear Friends :
As all of you know I made the decision earlier this year to become a candidate for San Ramon City Council. The election is November 5th.
Earlier this weekend I pulled my candidate papers. One of the requirements is that a candidate must be "nominated" by San Ramon residents who are registered to vote- the requirement is for each candidate to acquire a minimum of 20 signatures of registered voters who live in San Ramon.
I have started the process but because of time constraints cannot meet with so many of you individually!
I will be at Peet's Coffee at Crow Canyon shopping center Friday July 19th from 10am until 11:30am. I invite you to stop by, say hi and sign my nomination papers. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule and look forward to seeing you this Friday morning!
If you are unable to make it but would like to sign, please lmk and I would be happy to meet with you!
I told Harry I would stop by Peet's Friday morning, but I am not signing any of the candidates' papers. However, I plan to endorse one or more candidates once the Nomination period is closed.
I stopped at the Bollinger Canyon Vet Hospital on my way to the Crow Canyon Peet's. One of my cats was recently diagnosed with asthma (who knew cats got asthma?) and I had to make sure the inhaler medication I bought was the right dose. It cost three times as much as I expected. I was told it is correct and the high price included two refills so it would last a long time.
I arrived at Peet's at 10:30 Friday morning. Harry was sitting at a table outside, but nobody else was there. Even though he was by himself, he had already accumulated 21 signatures on his nomination form. Only 20 are required. However, the City Clerk recommended getting some extras to make sure that at least 20 are qualified.
While I was there, Harry and I chatted about the housing development planned for Ryan Industrial Court. Harry considers it a good plan for that location and voted as a Planning Commissioner to approve it with minor changes.
Mayor Clarkson feels it isn't a high quality project. At the City Council's Public Hearing on March 12, 2013 Clarkson stated that ". . . the City's role is to build neighborhoods not to build homes." He has huge reservations about the density and changing the zoning.
Mayor Clarkson and Councilmember Phil O'Loane opposed the rezoning at a later meeting and the developers withdrew their request for rezoning to High Density Residential. The property is zoned for Mixed Use; so it can still be developed as residential but with fewer units.
Despite disagreeing on this particular development, Mayor Clarkson and Harry Sachs are supporting each other's candidacy. In fact Clarkson came over from Panera Bread to chat with Harry.
Several other familiar faces came to sign Harry's papers including Shirley and David Ernest who are both well-known at the Senior Center, School Board member Ken Mintz, and Parks Commissioner Carol Lopez.
Much of the discussion turned to Abram Wilson's pulling papers to run again for Mayor. Wilson termed out in 2009 after serving four consecutive, two-year terms, which are the limits in the City's Charter set in Measure K.
Measure K was passed by an overwhelming 76% in 2001. This changed the Mayor's role from rotating annually among City Council members to an elected position. The measure amended Article III of City Charter as follows:
"The Mayor shall be elected by plurality at an election to be held every two years. No elected Mayor shall serve for more than four two year terms or eight years total. Duties of the elected mayor for the City of San Ramon shall remain the same as the duties as of January 1, 2001. Compensation for the elected mayor of San Ramon shall be one hundred dollars per month more than a city Councilmember."
Harry told me that he was on the committee formed to define the duties of the elected Mayor. This committee was appointed shortly after Abram Wilson was elected as the first elected Mayor in 2003. I remembered that past Mayors Mary Lou Oliver and Diane Schinnerer and Measure K sponsor Victor Petersen were on that committee, but I forgot that Harry Sachs was on it too.
So the elected Mayor has no more duties than the previously rotated Mayors and is term-limited to not more than eight years total. The Council put a measure on the ballot this year to allow a one-time-only term extension of one year for the Mayor to be able to switch to even year elections, but Mayor Wilson could not take advantage of that because he already maxed out on his terms.
It will be up to the City Attorney to decide if Mayor Wilson can run again for Mayor, but Mayor Clarkson believes that Wilson could not run for Mayor again without another Charter Amendment to extend or remove the term limits.
By the end of Harry's signature party, he had collected 29 signatures. He saved the 30th spot for Sandy Barclay who couldn't make it to Peet's that morning. Bill Clarkson said he has all of the signatures needed for his nomination.
I called the City Clerk's office at 4 pm on Friday to see if anyone had filed their papers yet but I did not receive a call back by the end of the day. I expect most of the papers will be filed this week. The last day to file is August 9th. If Councilmember Jim Livingstone hasn't submitted his nomination forms by then, the filing period will be extended to August 14th.