WatchSonoma Watch

Another candidate jumps into Santa Rosa council race

Scott Bartley


Planning commissioner Scott Bartley announced plans to run for Santa Rosa City Council, becoming the sixth candidate to enter the race for three open seats.

Bartley, 53, is an architect and a Santa Rosa native. He served 10 years on the city’s design review board and seven on the planning commission, appointed by City Councilwoman Jane Bender.

Bartley said he is running because he worries Santa Rosa is getting a reputation as a difficult place to do business. He thinks the council needs someone who understands the importance of promoting economic development, and hopes to counter the “pervasive attitude that somehow business is bad” by pointing out its importance for the health of the community, he said.

“The issues are often painted as being either ‘jobs’ or the ‘environment,’” Bartley said in a statement. “I know first-hand that doesn’t have to be the case.”

Bartley noted that a Lowe’s Home Improvement center would have generated an estimated $500,000 in tax revenue for the cash-strapped city.

“That’s a big chunk of change that would have kept the senior center and swimming pools open with money to spare,” Bartley said.

In addition to filing paperwork with the city clerk Monday, Bartley said he stepped down from the planning commission, saying he wanted to avoid politicizing the post.

Two incumbents, Mayor Susan Gorin and Veronica Jacobi, and three other residents — Thomas Easter, Joanna Schaefer and Richard Meechan — have also announced plans to run for the three council seats open in November.

31 Responses to “Another candidate jumps into Santa Rosa council race”

  1. Max says:

    I am glad to see Bartley running for the city council. He is a small business owner and someone who understands the city needs a strong and stable tax base to provide the services that the citizens expect.

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  2. The Common Good says:

    Time to End the Myth of the “Free Market”

    The collapse of communism was just the first shoe to drop. Capitalism, as we have practiced it in the U.S., collapsed in 2008. We are now in the midst of a painful adjustment to harmonizing the U.S. economy with the prevailing state capitalist models in China and the Euro-zone.

    This is not socialism, as the hyper-ventilating Tea Party types (aided and abetted by reprehensible public figures like Newt Gingrich), but a hybrid that is the dominant emerging model. It is up to the progressive forces in the U.S. to steer this project towards emphasis on the better features of that model, such as a more expansive social safety net.

    The national healthcare plan, though still far short of the inevitable Medicare for All single-payer system, is a step in the right direction. The financial sector regulation is also inevitable, given the total lack of trust that the U.S. creditors have in our predatory and destructive Wall Street operators.

    Here’s a factoid: the $180 billion that Wall Street awarded itself in bonuses last year would have eliminated the entire deficits of all the state governments in the U.S. That is where the money will come from, an investor class that has enjoyed impunity for years. The next step will be to break down the iron wall that the oligarchy has created to defend its ill-gotten wealth from support of the common good.

    A financial transaction tax, raising the capital gains tax to the level of ordinary income tax, and lifting the ceiling on Social Security income levels are a few of the measures that would be part of the solution to the budget crisis in the U.S.

    Wealth is created by the collective work of an educated and empowered population, not by selfish engorgement of a small class of parasitic economic predators. That’s all the time I want to spend on this dialog, since I recognize that for the “free-market fundamentalists” that their views are not rationally based, but are an article of quasi-religious faith.

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  3. chuck becker says:

    Common Good,

    You wrote: “We need high road economic development strategies that invest in the workforce through better wages and benefits, stop the downward spiral of bottom-feeder big-box corporate development that robs the public sector resources to prop up their predatory employment policies, and cultivate the green jobs that will provide for a sustainable future”

    My question is simple. How do you do that? How do you pay better wages and benefits without corporate profits to support them? The alternative we have been using is public borrowing (ie; getting benefits that we are billing to our children). Greece has provided a graphic example of what happens if we continue our “borrow and spend” trajectory.

    We know that if we CONFISCATED all the income of the top 1% of taxpayers (the truly rich), it not only would not balance the budget, it would destroy the economy. We further know that the only reasonable way to raise the government revenues needed to even keep what we now have, much less pay worked more wages and benefits, is to tax the 50% (+/-) of Americans who pay no income tax (and, holistically speaking, hardly any other taxes). But the majority have proven themselves unwilling to tax themselves for what they want.

    Which brings us back to the question, how do you propose to finance the progressive solution?

    The only way I know of to end the big-box industry you express contempt for is to get people to stop shopping there. As I’ve driven by the big-box stores in the past few days, I see no fewer cars in the lot than ever before. Where I see a lot of empty parking spots is in front of many the main street stores (in fact, I see a LOT of empty/vacant main street/stores).

    So with big-box stores offering what people want, at prices they find attractive, with service and support they find pleasing, how do you propose to end that business model?

    It’s fine and dandy to be angry at the way things are, and it’s great to state how things ought to be, but nothing happens until the protester provides a functional plan for getting there. There is no available option to the government-regulated capitalist model for creating prosperity and generating wealth. The danger we face today is that an increasing portion of the population have come to be dependent on the government, and come to believe that the government is the source of wealth (which of course is ludicrous … just check out the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).

    BTW, the “green economy” and “green jobs” are an utter sham. Without coercive government policies, “green” stuff dries up and blows away. The purpose of “green” is simply seeks to shift politico-economic power from the traditional industrial and capitalist incumbents to a new generation of “progressive” incumbents. That DOES NOT solve the problem of how to make the finances work, how to keep this whole fantasy afloat in the real world.

    So I’ll be waiting for your answer, and good day.


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  4. The Common Good says:

    Economics 101 Reality Check

    The free market fundamentalist mythology that many of the posters seem to think is the answer to all of out problems, is the problem itself. The massive unregulated greedfest of the the last decade finally resulted in a massive collapse, which we progressives had been predicting all along. So it is amazing that the grip of this failed ideology is so great that Chamber candidates like Bartley are seen as the solution to the economic development issue. That is the poison, not the medicine!

    We need high road economic development strategies that invest in the workforce through better wages and benefits, stop the downward spiral of bottom-feeder big-box corporate development that robs the public sector resources to prop up their predatory employment policies, and cultivate the green jobs that will provide for a sustainable future. The Great Recession of 2008 ended the Chamber/ big-box developer system. Some people, like Bartley and his cronies in the Chamber, have not gotten the memo yet. They should no longer be permitted to occupy public office, where they can multiply the damage with their intellectually bankrupt and morally defective doctrine.

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  5. Zack says:

    Its about time to have someone represent the county who cares about the people and what is right to help bring in revenue. Big business and small business have to work together to survive. A change is needed on this council and I sm glad to see it.

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  6. Voice of Reason says:

    Scott Bartley will be a great City Councilman. He has become the clear voice of reason on the Planning Commission. I’ve seen him suffer at the hands of idealogues Michael Allen and Nick Caston and the other two yes votes while he battled to prevent the most egregious anti-business proposals put forward during the General Plan revisions. Allen and Caston, represent the interests of DEVELOPERS of the so-called smartgrowth style of development that calls for GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZED projects that demands that housing be a part of all developments. Their anti free market approach funnels money to urban designers, attorneys, and all those feeding off the taxpayers. Smart growth proponents won’t be satisfied until everything is in a Redevelopment area and everything is rebuilt in a formulaic model that they say will solve all our problems.

    My view is that the free market has already been thoroughly stifled by regulations that prevent the free enterprise that can bring prosperity. When property owners are prevented from developing their properties values drop, jobs disappear, and businesses leave. Our current economic crisis is largely due to the overdevelopment of housing that was government subsidized. The last thing we need is more housing right now. Jobs are the most important thing we need. Santa Rosa’s Station Area Plan needs to be re-written and drop the mandates for mixed-use development. Just look at Sebastopol Rd. or Healdsburg Ave/10th St. Vacant.

    Bartley has many years experience in Santa Rosa and will be a welcome sight on the City Council. Anti-free market idealogues need to step aside to make way for people who know the value of reasonable privately financed development that does not depend on government subsidies (our money) in order to “pencil out”.

    Finally, Friedman’s is not in Santa Rosa. They are not Lowe’s, and not just any big box store will do. I travel to Cotati to go to Lowe’s and burn gasoline to get there. Did the smart growth people forget about their hatred for cars? I’d like to know who paid who to get the Lowe’s project killed. Buying and selling votes in Santa Rosa has to go, good riddance to Michael Allen from the Planning Commission. You go Bartley. We need one more.

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  7. go ted says:

    Shirely Zane says we need diversity to turn around economy. Thats is insane MS. Zane, we just need good qualified people, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientationor anything else. I will NOT vote for someone just beacuse they are a woman or just because they are a man…

    You need to take your head out of the sand and wake up, we need the right person to do the right job,. apparently that is not you if this is how you will run our county government

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  8. Jay says:

    Nice… Gotta love the negative comments from the peanut gallery.

    You know, as a father who has raised children here, owns a downtown business, is active in the community and pays attention, this is a welcome addition.

    Look around people – Everyone wants to blame someone “higher up” (wall street? seriously pierce?) for the ills of Santa Rosa, you might want to pay attention to the lack of attention paid by our current elected officials to increasing the quality of life in Santa Rosa.

    Bartley in 2010. Its about time we didn’t have a lesser of two evils candidate and actually elected someone who can proactively change this town’s image, prospects and quality of life.

    Vote for whoever you want, but the world you wanted for the last decade is the world you have, and if that’s enough for you then move on, you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. You should be heard, but not necessarily followed any longer.

    Look honestly, look fairly, and pay attention. Talk to your neighbors and find out just how much their “carbon footprint” effects their current situation. You’ll find that “its the economy, stupid”.

    You’ll also find that the things you thought were important to a vibrant and progressive community might now actually be the things you (or I) have casted ballots for ballots for in the past…

    Oh, I LOVE the haters… bodes well.

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  9. Lee Pierce's Conflict of Interest says:

    Wow. Someone really hates unions and yet she’s the campaign director for a supposedly democratic candidate.Aren’t Democrats supposed to care about workers and workers rights? Lee Pierce and his campaign manager Vickie Hogan are running like Karl Rove Republicans. I guess they hate Michael Allen and anyone who works for working families because they live up in Fountaingrove and don’t have to work for a living but can open a vat of wine and post on the boards all night!

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  10. Lisa Allen says:

    My union won’t let me vote for you Mr. Bartley. We will be instructed on our slate soon and that will keep it simple for us. Lisa Maldonado helps select our candidates, pays for the advertising, and will draft our letters to the editor. I’m pretty sure our dues pay for this service and I appreciate how effecient the process is. You didn’t get her permission before becoming a candidate did you?

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  11. Brooke Clyde says:

    Looks like I used bad tags. My “Huh?” was to the quote:

    “Creating jobs is essential to the health and future of our community and we need diversity to accomplish this.”

    Though it neatly aligns left and right, it’s still a non sequitur …

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  12. @Scot Bartley says:

    Scot Bartley’s political career should end with the planning commission. He has some of the worst attitude and demeanor of any public official I have ever dealt with (only Brian Moynihan in Petaluma was more rude than Bartley).

    When he was chair of the planning commission, I came before them to speak on a matter on which he knew my position in advance, because of public statements I had made, and when I went to address the PC with my 3 minutes of comments, he interrupted me and told me to sit down, because in his judgment, my comments were not appropriate. No other speaker was subjected to this kind of rude and imperious behavior. He abused his chairmanship to shut down a point of view that he did not like.

    Bartley is another Chamber clone who will bring to the council their exhausted and discredited economic philosophy of creating a “pro-business” environment, by which they mean using tax dollars to subsidize their cronies. Just say no to Bartley and his ilk.

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  13. @zuma says:


    What are the financial qualifications of Marsha Vas Dupre, Susan Gorin, or Veronica Jacobi? The newest machine candidate Richard Meecham is an attorney. No financial qualifications there.

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  14. Zuma says:

    I see no qualifications in Bartlett that would make me comfortable with him having anything to do with the financial matters of this city, labor contracts, employee benefits etc.

    Do architects take any business or financial courses!

    We need money managers not architects and planners!

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  15. @ shirley zane says:

    Where indeed?

    You are assuming that the political machine in Santa Rosa is open to new candidates! With two women incumbents, other women would not be encouraged Latina or not.

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  16. Jersey says:

    Mr. Bartley has 17 years as a public official without any FPPC investigation. In Santa Rosa, this is a major accomplishment. We should vote him in to keep the others honest.

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  17. @council watcher says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I voted for Wysocky. What a mistake. Jacobi is the weakest of the lot.

    She is known more for showing up an hour late for every event she attends than anything else.

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  18. John says:

    The council needs to change. They need to prioritize their decision making process. #1 Make the city financially sound (City funding comes from tax revenue primarily generated by businesses. Having a council member saying ‘Hell No!’ to Lowes before the EIR was even given to them is very telling of their attitudes towards business. We can’t subsidize small businesses. If people don’t shop at the box stores then they will do it on-line and then we get no revenue period. Small business needs to adapt to survive not be sheltered by city government.

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  19. Shirlee Zane says:

    Where are the smart Latinas? We need them to run if the SR City Council is ever going to be representative of the city, which is now over 35% Hispanic…enough of this progressives versus probusiness. Creating jobs is essential to the health and future of our community and we need diversity to accomplish this.

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  20. Jim Sansi says:


    I’m not angry or down on the local politicians. However I think for instance spending 200k per year on a tourism bureau is a bit misguided and has no lasting effect. I am sure there are similiar expenditures as well.

    And you really should get your facts straight: the current economic meltdown was not caused by a true free enterprise, free market system. The government has it’s finger prints all over the murder weapon.

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  21. @ A Slap from the Invisible Hand says:

    @Jim what does that mean exactly “create a favorable economic environment” ? Tax Breaks? No regulations? My point is that while city council members can (and do) work hard to help businesses thrive, there are certain things like the economy, massive forclosures, unemployment and bancruptcies (such as the Carinalli debacle) that have a lot more to do with “creating a favorable economic environment” locally than the 5 people on the city council. I’m getting tired of hearing just anger and negativity about local pols being “anti-business” when the majority of problems with the economy right now are self-inflicted by the same free market, free enterprise, chamber or commerce people who created this mess.

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  22. hansutro says:

    Interesting to see the people that are against “pro-development and pro- business”!
    You can see the results of against development and business has gotten us.
    Where the hell do you think jobs and money come from? Social programs and government bureaucratic jobs?
    Get a clue! Go get a real job, you know the kind that pays for the others that don’t work!
    We need a balance of business that hire local people, businesses run and owned by local people, big box stores that can offer a selection of merchandise to people that cannot afford to hop in their BMW and go shop at Nordstroms in Marin.
    Many local businesses have very poor attitudes and customer service, and if they cannot compete with big box, then that is their issue. I at least want the choice of spending a few dollars more than going to WalMart, but most every time I do, the employees at the store are too busy on their cellphones to offer service.
    Bartley has been the only person that I see has had any inkling of common sense on the boards. As a local resident all his life I don’t think he wants to see Santa Rosa continue with the downward spiral that it has the last 10 years. The only better thing that Bartley on the counsel would be if they only met for 15 minutes a month, and did it as a volunteer job. When did it become a full time job glad-handing every voter? Too much politics, And that’s it!

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  23. Jim Sansi says:

    @Victoria They could start by creating a favorable economic envorinment that encourages manufacturing businesses instead of the service or retail sector.

    Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year promoting the tourism industry why not use that to defray costs towards a manufacturing businesses that commits to coming or stay in the area.

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  24. Victoria Pierce says:

    @Fed Up So the current city council can’t “get the economy going” Hello? In case you haven’t noticed, We’re in a depression here thanks to Wall Street speculators and big banks! They are city council members not Super Heroes! What do you want them to do start printing money?

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  25. Fed UP says:

    Sure seams like the majority of the current City Council is COMPLETLY clueless on how to get the economy going and how to take charge of their staff. Changes need to be made from the top. Changes need to be made by a council that is not tainted by a shadow government. Scott Bartley has run a business and has served cleints with respect. This is a trait that our current majority should look at if they ever want to earn the respect of the people they serve and jumpstart the the economy. Scott has my vote.

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  26. Council Watcher says:

    This year’s City Council race will be entertaining at the least. The mayor Susan Gorin and council member Jacobi will run on their voting record over the last three years. Scott Bartley’s group will run on that same record. Talk about an open door that is ready to be walked through. Over the last three years the City has fallen on hard times and people are looking for answers. The folks that will stand with Mr. Bartley will ask why has the council majority, lead by Mrs. Gorin, closed parks, cut city programs, raised city fees, say no to major retailers, increased water rates, and never seemed to do anything that was not politically motivated. The candidate list will grow on both sides and we will be told over and over we should vote for one or another. This year may not be a great time to be an incumbent we will see. It might be wise to hold off on those early endorsement as they have seem have caused some to back tracking in this current election.

    2008′s election results :
    Gary Wysocky 29,018 13.7% John Sawyer 27,870 13.2% Ernesto Olivares 26,288 12.4% Marsha Vas Dupre 23,894 11.3% Lee Pierce 22,037 10.4% Don Taylor 21,262 10.1% Michael Allen 18,974 9.0%

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  27. El says:

    And running with Jake Bayless’ quote of the day, when Mr. Bartley was Chair of the Planning Commission, he couldn’t even bother to meet with us and our neighbors on a particular project proposal. We knew how he would vote long before the project hit the PC. Mr. Bartley knows which side he will vote on, and so do we.

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  28. sean buckley says:

    It seems that architects are generally pro-development and pro- business. That is enough to keep me from voting for him. Also that he serves on the
    sr planning commission. Santa Rosa is one small city that looks like it had no planning in the past and recently it is beginning to look like any other US suburb. This is not said as a compliment.
    Meecham is the only interesting candidate so far, in my humle opinion. Incumbents? Nah!

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  29. bbadinov says:

    Gee I guy who actually had to run a business and not spend other peoples money. Hopefully he will bring some sense onto the council!

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  30. AntonioS says:

    Yeah Good Idea! let’s get a Lowes and WalMart up in here! This is really working for Rohnert park!!

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  31. Melanie says:

    Finally, a candidate from the Herb Williams/Chamber machine!

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