Is San Ramon ready for a "sea change?" | The Observer | Roz Rogoff | |

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By Roz Rogoff

Is San Ramon ready for a "sea change?"

Uploaded: Jan 13, 2011 defines a sea change as a "marked change," or transformation. Some of the bloggers in the discussions here are predicting, or would like to see, a major change in San Ramon's city government.

Well at least two major changes will happen. Herb Moniz is retiring in March and a new City Manager will be hired to replace him, and Mayor H. Abram Wilson will be termed out of office this year.

The Charter Amendment that changed the Mayor's position from appointed to elected, limited it to four two-year terms. Wilson was elected in 2003 as the first elected Mayor of San Ramon, and he has been Mayor for the last eight years.

Former Mayor Curt Kinney opposed Wilson in 2003, but Wilson has run unopposed in the last three elections. San Ramon voters will probably have two or more Mayoral candidates to choose from in 2011 and San Ramon will definitely have a new Mayor in 2012.

Since Wilson cannot run again for Mayor that leaves the race wide open. Some residents speculated that Bill Clarkson was planning to run for Mayor when he didn't run for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District last year. Clarkson told me last year that after 12 years on the SRVUSD Board he felt he had accomplished what he set out to do, but he wouldn't say what his plans were about running for Mayor.

The news will be out soon that Clarkson is throwing his hat into the Mayoral ring. He gave me advanced notice at the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday that he would be making the announcement next week and gave me permission to post it early.

It is still too early to guess who else might run for Mayor. I've speculated that Phil O'Loane might, but Phil hasn't said anything about that to me. I asked Carol Rowley, who is up for reelection this November, and she said she will run for her Council seat but not for Mayor. Vice-Mayor Scott Perkins is also planning to run for his seat on the City Council and not for Mayor.

Without knowing who the opponents might be, I can't make any endorsements this early, but I am pleased that Bill Clarkson is running. Bill has always been one of my strongest supporters of the San Ramon Observer. He often emailed me complements about articles or commentaries I wrote on past issues. Of course he is well-known for his service on the SRVUSD and as a past President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Clarkson would not be the same Mayor as Abram Wilson. Bill would bring new or different ideas to the City Council. For example he and his wife have been active in animal rescue in the past, and Bill would like San Ramon to have our own local Animal Control in some form of public-private-nonprofit partnership.

The other position that we know will change is City Manager. Herb Moniz announced he would retire in March, so the hunt is on for a new City Manager. The State of the City address and recent financial audit report prove what a good job Moniz and other city staff have been doing in keeping our city fiscally sound. At this point we don't know who the new City Manager would be, but because San Ramon has such an excellent reputation as a great place to work, we should get a range of superior applicants for our City Council to choose from.

So will there be a sea change in San Ramon next year? Of course there will. It's up to us to make sure these changes are the right ones. Voters must be especially careful to keep the people who know what they are doing in office and not elect another "Gang of Three," who came close to bankrupting our city. We definitely cannot afford a financial tsunami like that again.