By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Petaluma may be headed to a deadlocked City Council as voters selected a mayoral candidate backed by environmental advocates and two pro-business candidates.
Councilman David Glass, a member of the current slow-growth council majority, defeated Jeff Mayne 49 percent to 44 percent with all precincts reporting.
With three council seats at stake, three of the top four vote-getters were backed by business interests.
Incumbent Mike Harris, who had strong business backing, led all council candidates with 20 percent.
Progressive Teresa Barrett was poised to win a second term, trailing Harris with 15 percent of the vote.
Retired Fire Chief Chris Albertson was positioned to take the third spot on the council, with 13 percent of the vote.
With Glass switching seats to become mayor, the council will have to appoint a replacement for his final two years on the council.
And if the leads of Glass, Harris, Barrett and Albertson hold up when all absentee ballots are counted, the council could end up in a 3-3 ideological split between business-backed and progressive candidates.
In total, four candidates were vying for the mayor’s post and nine for the three council seats on the ballot, although two mayoral candidates and one council hopeful did not campaign.
The election was seen by many as a chance for Petalumans to either reinforce the current majority’s goals, which contributed to lengthy delays in a major shopping center anchored by a Target store, or switch to a business-backed leadership that sought to hasten new projects to bring sales and property tax revenue to the cash-strapped city.
Mayne took a laid-back approach on election night, spending it at home with his family. “It’s in the people’s hands now,” he said.
Glass was at Petaluma beer pub with other candidates on his unofficial slate: Barrett, Jason Davies, who was running in fourth place for the council, and outgoing Petaluma Mayor Pam Torliatt, who was running for the 2nd District Board of Supervisors seat.
After Mayne led in early results, Glass predicted he would pass his rival.
“I feel very good about the results,” he said.
Meanwhile, Petaluma residents were strongly supporting an extension of the city’s urban growth boundary until 2025. The measure was passing 65 percent to 35 percent. It would extend the boundary for seven years to be consistent with the city’s general plan.
The boundary sets a limit for expansion and city services such as water and sewer. New building must occur within the boundary unless voters say otherwise.