Incumbent Bill Clarkson is seeking a fourth (and final) term as mayor of San Ramon, and the lone challenger is Sanat Sethy, a business professional who also sits on the city's Economic Development Advisory Committee.
Clarkson has been a strong advocate for San Ramon residents for nearly two decades (including his school board tenure), and as he demonstrated at our Sept. 24 candidate forum, he remains full of ideas to improve city efforts in areas of concern for the community such as traffic, retail retention, public safety and development -- although we were disappointed with his non-answer on the San Ramon Golf Club zoning question.
Sethy shares many of those concerns and thinks the city should do more to create the sorts of improvements San Ramon's growing -- and changing -- electorate want to see. Unfortunately at our forum, he showed a lack of deep understanding on several key issues with overly brief responses while also offering few specifics on how he would accomplish his goals in office.
For San Ramon City Council, incumbent Dave Hudson is running against challengers Aparna Madireddi, Sridhar Verose and Sabina Zafar. (Councilman Harry Sachs did not run for re-election.)
We prefer Hudson and Zafar.
Now in his 21st year on the council, Hudson remains an assertive voice advocating for a better San Ramon within the city and the region. He has vital experience on almost every issue for the city while also representing San Ramon on Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the League of California Cities, to name a few.
A technology executive and mentor who previously sat on the Transportation Advisory Committee, Zafar ran for council two years ago and has gained from that losing experience, returning better prepared and ready to ensure positive change on the council. At our forum, she offered deliberate answers on her key priorities for the city and embraced a collaborative approach to achieving San Ramon and Tri-Valley goals.
Madireddi, an Open Space Advisory Committee member, also demonstrated a strong voice at the forum, but some answers were overly broad, at times too flippant and unnecessarily combative with another candidate. She did a great job identifying problems and general goals on issues like traffic, retail and residential growth (a “course correction,” as she put it), but we wanted to hear more specific strategies for how she and the council would achieve those lofty goals in a collaborative way.
Verose, who sits on the Parks and Community Services Commission, has the backing of Clarkson and councilmen Phil O'Loane and Scott Perkins. But his performance at our forum at times lacked conviction and nuance, and we're concerned about his ability to carve out his own, independent voice on the dais.
Vote Clarkson for mayor, Hudson and Zafar for council.
Editor's note: Aparna Madireddi has challenged our representation of her position on the Visit Tri-Valley/Discover San Ramon debate. After again reviewing the forum video, we think her response was unclear at best. We encourage voters to listen and decide for themselves, starting at 29:45 of the video.