Seven candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three seats on the Danville Town Council. Terms are up for incumbents Mike Doyle and current Mayor Newell Arnerich and both are seeking re-election while former Mayor Candace Andersen vacated the third seat when she took office as District 2 supervisor in June.
Danville is lucky to have a handful of qualified candidates in the race, which has many residents divided on whether to re-elect experienced Council members or add new blood to the mix. Arnerich and Doyle have each served as mayor multiple times and eight-year Planning Commissioner Renee Morgan is serving her third term on the School Site Council. Long-time resident Bob Nealis is a member of the Contra Costa Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team while distribution business owner Jim Jelincic is an active member of his homeowners association. Deanna Sullivan is a lifelong resident and active community volunteer and Lori Hock, also a lifelong resident, is a State Farm insurance agent.
As the town deals with growth and development concerns, while aiming to maintain a fiscally conservative budget and curb retail leakage, the new council members will need to bring financial know-how and a deep understanding of local issues to the table. While all candidates are passionate, dedicated residents, the Danville Express believes Newell Arnerich, Mike Doyle and Renee Morgan are the right choices in this election for the Town Council.
All three believe in fiscal conservatism, promoting local businesses and smart growth on the Valley floor. Arnerich would continue to use his more than 20 years of professional experience, including three times as mayor, to continue business and economic development in Danville. The continued success of the local business community and increase in sales tax base under his watch are indicative of his priorities and leadership capability. Arnerich would rotate out as mayor and become a councilmember in December.
Renee Morgan would bring years of experience, passion and knowledge to the position. Having served on a variety of committees both officially associated with the town and on her own accord, she has a vast knowledge of Danville's various communities and their needs. We believe her time spent on the Planning Commission would be particularly useful as Danville continues infill development and compliance with state mandated affordable housing plans.
Twenty-one-year Councilmember Mike Doyle is effective, accessible and does his homework. Doyle started the merchants association (now known as Discover Danville Association) and serves on a variety of regional committees, advocating for the town.
Although the Express Editorial Board also likes Bob Nealis -- whose balanced, moderate and slow-growth ideas would fit well on the Council -- his lack of experience working in town government could be a hindrance. We would like to see Nealis participate on a commission or committee and use his good ideas to make changes there.
Although a majority of the seven candidates could do the job, the Express believes that experience matters and Arnerich, Doyle and Morgan's deep involvement, professionalism and knowledge will be key in moving Danville forward.