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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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San Ramon City Council: Then and Now

Uploaded: Nov 6, 2016

I scheduled a meeting on Thursday afternoon with Sabina Zafar, one of the two new candidates running for City Council. Right before the meeting my brother phoned from Maine that my 100+ year old mother was in the "care unit" of her retirement home. She was having trouble breathing and eating.

I was distracted by this news and was not prepared for the interview at 4pm. Sabina did most of talking. I listened but didn't take any notes. She gave me information on her background. She has lived in San Ramon for over a decade, has children in school, and works in Technology. She sounded very capable and explained why she's running for City Council and what she plans to do.

I said in a previous blog that we need a woman on the City Council again, and we should also have a Councilperson from Dougherty Valley. Sabina is both. Even though our City Council is operating well, we need new people with new ideas and more representation of the newer residents and neighborhoods. Sabina has lived in Dougherty Valley for more than ten years. Her neighbors should have representation on the City Council by now.

I received an email from Greg Carr endorsing and supporting Sabina's candidacy. "San Ramon now has an opportunity to re-diversify its city council. One new candidate stands out--Sabina Zafar. I support her."

Mr. Carr served on the City Council many years ago. I asked him to email me some history of his time on the City Council.

"When I was elected to the city council in 1991, the council at that time consisted of Jim Blickenstaff (filling Barry Nudelman's seat after he had to prematurely step down), Mary Lou Oliver, Pat Boom, Herman Welm, and me. There were 8 candidates running for the 3 open seats--the vote count was Mary Lou (1st), me (2nd), and Herman (3rd). Jim ran separately for and won the truncated 2-year seat vacated by Nudelman. Even though we all had a spectrum of views on some issues, that was a very good city council. We got thing done. We each had our own constituencies and spent the time and money to run for public office. It was not easy for any of us."

I moved to San Ramon in 1997 to take a job at Bishop Ranch. I knew there was some friction between real estate developers and the environmentalists, but I was very busy at work and did not pay much attention to local politics back then.

I asked Mr. Carr if he endorsed the other new candidate, Susmita Nayak. He replied, "Susmita Nayak has the courage to run for office, and will need more experience. All four candidates have my respect," but he is endorsing Phil O'Loane for reelection.
?

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

Greg Carr added the following in a follow up email:

"Yes, it is OK to quote me about Susmita, but I ask that the entirety of my view of her be included. She is a very nice person with a lot of potential; and I do not want to either dismay her or have her not want to continue in the future, if she should not win this time. I would like to see her emboldened for future action. If she were to accept experienced advice and guidance over the next two years, I think she would be prepared and winnable in 2018."




 +   2 people like this
Posted by ChangeTheCouncil, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 6, 2016 at 10:26 pm

My vote is also for Phil and Sabina. Keep Scott Perkins out of the council. He has voted and a supporter of Measure-W, Faria Project, Initial resolution for the Norris Canyon ramp of 680, City Center, Faria Project etc. He has pretty much voted for all development projects.

He claims to have straightened out the City Finances. He did not come with any magic wand and fixed the finances. He became city councilman in 2003, and Dougherty Valley was being developed then, and the city's revenue started increasing year after year, that fixed the problem, and not him. He has been around too long and is not constituents friendly either. He needs to go.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 6, 2016 at 10:42 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

Change,

I'm not as hostile to Scott Perkins as you are, but I feel he has served the city well for many years and it is time for some new faces on the City Council. Sabina and I discussed the need for term limits on Councilmembers. The Mayor is limit to four two-year terms and Councilmembers should be limited to two or three four year terms. That would have to be voted on by residents, but could be put on the ballot in 2018.

Roz


 +   2 people like this
Posted by ChangeTheCouncil, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

Roz

We should have term limits for Council member as it will fix most of the problems. While the mayor who has only one vote for every issue on the council has a term limit of 8 years so should be for the councilman. Our neighboring City of Plesanton already has a term limit of 8 years for the Councilmember so should we have one one as well. I am glad you brought it up and we should have it in the ballot in the next election in 2018


 +   6 people like this
Posted by 25YearResident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 7, 2016 at 12:32 pm

I have spoken with Sabina Zafar and have reviewed her platform.
Sabina is definitely qualified and is very willing to listen to concerned residents, and therefore is a really good choice for San Ramon City Council, I will be voting for her. Our city council is in desperate need of a change so that residents will be listened by council rather than being ignored.

Scott Perkins is inflexible and will not listen to concerned residents that have viewpoints other than his fixed views. Perkins seems to be in favor of anything that Sunset Development or other developers want, to the detriment of the residents.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by SHale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 7, 2016 at 6:01 pm

SHale is a registered user.

Past time for the Dougherty Valley to have a rep on the council. All for it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

Well I voted this morning. I voted for both Sabina Zafar and Susmita Nayak, but I'm pretty sure Phil O'Loan will win reelection and one of the ladies will be elected too. We should get the results later tonight.

The Presidential election might be close and take a day or two to find out if Trump or Hillary, or my pick, Gary Johnson, is our new President. If Johnson wins, he will be our third President Johnson, and the first one elected as President and not taking over for one who was assassinated.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by martin, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 1:42 am

good Stimulating shows, comedy occasions and much more. Web Link concluding and concluding. The research is certainly nice.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 1:58 am

rosalindr is a registered user.

Well the two incumbents won reelection. I'm a little surprised that Sabina Zafar didn't do better, but residents like the job the current council is doing, and I agree with that.

Roz


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Just because the two incumbents got re-elected does not mean that residents like the job they are doing. It simply means that the two challengers were outspent by O'Loane & Perkins on the multiple expensive color mailers that the incumbents sent out.

It would be very educational if the amount each incumbent spent on the election was made public, along with who the contributors were(strings attached anyone?). Then compare that to the amount the two challengers each spent on the election. That would really shed light on just what was the governing factor(s) in this dismal city council election.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 5:41 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

Resident,

Yes the incumbents were able to spend more on campaign fliers because they have name recognition. The challengers are not known quantities yet, so they need to get more exposure. I hope they run again in 2018 and are able get their messages out better.

City elections aren't like State or National elections where a candidate needs lots of money to get recognition. The best way to get elected here is shoe leather -- walking the neighborhoods and knocking on doors and setting up Information Tables in shopping centers. Handouts can be printed on a home printer. They don't need to be professionally printed in color on glossy paper.

But I'm not the best person to give election advice. I ran twice for the Dublin-San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) and lost both times. I applied to be appointed twice, and wasn't either. I'm like the bad opera singer everyone wants to shut up and go away.


Roz


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 10, 2016 at 4:44 pm

This is a perfect example of confused "fuzzy thinking": "Yes the incumbents were able to spend more on campaign fliers because they have name recognition."

The incumbents were able to spend more money simply because they had more money to spend; & how could that be??? Check their funding sources, very likely from special interests/developers. So maybe you're indirectly suggesting that the challengers should develop more "recognition" from special interests so they can get enough extra money to mail out multiple very expensive full color election brochures. Simply faulty thinking!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 10, 2016 at 6:17 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

Resident,

You traced my logic correctly, but I don't get yours. Challengers cannot get elected without name recognition, unless the incumbents are so reviled voters would prefer anyone else even if they don't know what that other "name" stands for.

City elections are non-partisan, so voters don't have the R or D or I or something else to help make a decision on an unknown candidate. So most voters vote for a name they recognize.

Roz


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 12, 2016 at 2:19 pm

By your "definition" challengers simply can not get elected in San Ramon period. We definitely need term limits!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by SHale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 13, 2016 at 8:46 am

SHale is a registered user.

Incumbents always have the benefit of the doubt and are usually re-elected unless they did something really really wrong or something that 'upset' those who actually vote. Key word there is VOTERS who actually VOTE. What happens on non-Presidential elections, hum? Voting percent goes way way down.
I think local term limits you would run out (quickly) of those willing to throw their names in and do the job.
Now if we could just get term limits for congress; THAT would work.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 14, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Term limits would not cause the city to soon run out of candidates for city council; good evidence is that for the last two S.R. city council elections, two incumbents ran (& lost) in each election. Term limits (two,4yr terms) would allow new representatives on council that would actually represent residents, not ignore residents for the sole benefit of special interests & themselves.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Correction to the above Post: "challengers" should have been used instead of "incumbents":

Term limits would not cause the city to soon run out of candidates for city council; good evidence is that for the last two S.R. city council elections, two challengers ran (& lost) in each election. Term limits (two,4yr terms) would allow new representatives on council that would actually represent residents, not ignore residents for the sole benefit of special interests & themselves.



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