By Roz Rogoff
Election follow upUploaded: Jan 13, 2014
This blog is a follow up to last year's City Council election. I evaluated my role in the election and found some surprises and some encouragement.
First I wanted to find out what Rene Matsumato's plans are after the election. I was critical of her lack of experience in city government, which is why I eventually endorsed Dave Hudson instead of Rene. Council candidate, Thomas von Thury, also lacked city experience and was running mainly on a single issue, opposing the HOV ramps on Norris Canyon Road. This wasn't a sufficient reason for me to endorse him either.
I endorsed Harry Sachs, because of his long tenure on the Planning Commission, and prior to that, on the Economic Development Advisory Committee. Phil O'Loane moved from the Planning Commission to the City Council in 2011. I felt Harry was just as qualified as Phil to be on the Council.
So that left me with the decision between Rene Matsumoto and Dave Hudson. I picked Dave, not just because of his experience, but as the longest-serving Councilmember he brings an "historical" perspective on the growth and direction of San Ramon.
Hudson also serves on County agencies giving him a regional perspective on San Ramon's place in long-term plans for southern Contra Costa County and the Tri-Valley. Whether we like it or not, there are State laws and regional agencies that cannot be ignored, and Dave Hudson knows more about them than anyone else on the Council.
I didn't consider my endorsement of Hudson special. So I was surprised to receive the following reply from Hudson's campaign manager, Dan Lee, to an email I sent after the election.
" 'I am just a blogger... ' Give me a break. You are an old veteran (even as an observer) of the political wars in San Ramon. I will have you know that Dave and I were pretty much just grasping for straws until you endorsed Dave. The campaign morale was pretty depressed. Your editorial gave us hope in the darkest days of the campaign."
I'm flattered, but I doubt my endorsements won the elections for Dave or Harry. The Contra Costa Times also endorsed Dave and Harry for the same reasons I did, and I suppose most voters came to the same conclusions.
I emailed Rene Matsumoto to find out what her plans are now. I told her she lost because she was too honest in admitting what she didn't know. Former San Ramon Resident, Paul Mitchell, commented on that in a reply to my blog on the post-election parties. As I pointed out in my reply to Paul, ignorant (even stupid) politicians are elected all the time because they don't know what they don't know or are not as up front about it.
I asked Rene if she was planning to apply for Harry Sachs' opening on the Planning Commission and her other plans for the future. She emailed me her answer a week ago:
"At this time, I did not apply for a seat on the Planning Commission. My hope is to apply for a seat on the Parks & Community Services Commission.
In the meantime, I will do my best to stay involved and/or learn more about the city in one aspect or another. Next week I will begin the Citizen's Police Academy. And, my plan is to turn in an application for the Government 101 session.
With regard to running for City Council again, this will depend on my family dynamics.
Rene would be an excellent choice for the Parks and Community Services Commission since she has a lot of experience with the PTA and School District. The city has partnered with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District to share parks and recreational facilities.
Appointments to the Parks Commission come up in June. Three seats will be open, Dominique Yancey, Heidi Kenniston-Lee, and Bill Meine. Bill is in his late '80's now and might not reapply.
City Council interviews for Harry Sachs' seat on the Planning Commission will be held at 5:30 pm on January 14th at City Hall. The Staff Report lists five applicants for the interviews.
This is a public meeting under the Brown Act; so anyone who wants to attend can sit in on the interviews. I was the only attendee in 2010 when Phil O'Loane, Harry Sachs, John Mills, and Jeanne Benedetti were interviewed for the Planning Commission. I don't plan to attend the interviews this time, but anyone reading this can go if you have the time. The appointment will be announced later that night at the regular City Council meeting.