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Petaluma: Glass elected mayor, split council likely

David Glass talks on the phone outside of Taps Bar in Petaluma where supporters showed up in support of him and Pam Torliatt. KENT PORTER/PD

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.

Petaluma City Council candidate Mike Harris, center, his campaign manager Rob McGaughey, left, and Teresa Sperry, are joined by partygoers as they watch early ballot returns showing Harris with a lead during an election night party at Mister McGoo's. BETH SCHLANKER/PD

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.





18 Responses to “Petaluma: Glass elected mayor, split council likely”

  1. BigDogatPlay says:

    I’m still amazed that a man who professed publicly that he didn’t like being mayor the first time, stood up and ran for the job again.

    Politics are indeed strange.

    That said, we can now expect the very progressive Mayor Glass to continue the \work\ of the council in the manner to which it has become accustomed.

    Anyone want to bet nickles that he tries to float appointing Pam Torliatt?

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  2. Jill says:

    It’s clear that the 4th top vote-getter, whoever that is, should be appointed. Johnson is 30 votes beneath Davies and was ahead early in the polls, so it really could go either way. They are both fairly moderate candidates anyway. Jason is a business-man and has good environmental credentials and Johnson seems like a rational person also They should decide right now, before the final election results come out to do this.

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  3. FrankH says:

    Davies is a business executive who works in the tech industry in Petaluma. The Press Democrat endorsed him and stated the following:

    “Davies, the vice president of a Petaluma software company, serves on the city’s technology advisory committee. He’s associated with the “smart growth” faction, but he brings extensive international business experience and clearly understands the nexus of commerce and government. Davies is committed to bringing “green and clean” industry to Petaluma, and he has fresh ideas for marketing the city to potential employers.”

    He’s not for no-growth, he’s for smart growth.

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  4. FrankH says:

    Tom Lynch’s comment is odd for other reasons as well:

    1. Mayne received higher voter totals simply because there were fewer choices for Mayor than Council (2 viable candidates versus 9). Who knows how he would he have ranked had he run against 8 other candidates? He ran for Mayor and as such only had to run agains one candidate rather than being juggled among 9 on a ballot with a choice for three.

    2. Mayne is a Republican, and was endorsed by the Republican party. Lynch is suggesting a Republican over a Democratic Party endorsed council candidate who ran for council and competed against more candidates. Lynch claims to be an FDR Democrat – why would he support Mayne and why is he weighing in on a Petaluma race….indeed makes one wonder if there is a shared interest behind the scenes (Dutra).

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  5. Respect 4th Highest Vote says:

    I believe we are disenfranchised of our votes if they appoint someone who did not participate in the public election vetting process. All the candidates campaigned for months, invested their own time, money, went through a serious of endorsement processes, pubic forums, questionnaires, interviews, etc.

    The public got to know the candidates, they were vetted thoroughly.
    It’s only right to appoint the next highest vote getter, if not a run off between the two (though costly).

    The idea that we have to “create a balance” by selecting someone that doesn’t reflect the popular sentiment is odd. Our elected officials are just that, a reflection of popular vote.

    Regarding Mayne, he didn’t run for Council. He ran for Mayor and the vote totals are naturally higher because they were the only two serious candidates for people to choose from, rather than 9.

    One thing the PD said was that it could be difficult to have a Council with Mayne and Glass.

    http://www.watchsonomacounty.com/2010/10/cities/endorsement-watch-petaluma-mayor-and-city-council/

    The idea that one doesn’t like the outcome of an election and thinks we should essentially ignore the voters is disturbing. Going with the next highest vote total is the fairest and most representative of the people – we voted and those votes should be respected.

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  6. Paul Smith says:

    For the East D Johnny-come-latelies who popped up to spout off about Target, got their payout and are going away – but still don’t understand local politics – the council will be free to appoint anyone who applies, regardless if they ever ran for mayor, council, dogcatcher, etc.
    So yes, Jeff Mayne is eligible to be appointed if he applies, and the fact is more people wanted him to be part of the council than any other unsuccessful candidate. For that matter, you could parse out the precinct-by-precinct results from the final Supes tally and Pam would probably have even more within the city limits than Mayne. But using your twisted logic, she’s not eligible either, right??? Careful what you wish for (spin for?)

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  7. be smart says:

    Tom Lynch, aren’t you the Efren Carrillo appointed County Planning Commissioner from the 5th District?

    How inappropriate is it for you to be posting comments like the ones you have, recommending Petaluma City Council replacements, in this forum?

    Oh, I guess Efren doesn’t think it’s too inappropriate to be hob-nobbing with Aimi Dutra at David Rabbitt’s campaign party, so perhaps you are just following your leader, or the complete lack thereof.

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  8. Jack says:

    Ah yes – Samantha Freitas was probably the worst councilmember in Petaluma history (along with Bryant Moynihan, Keith Canevaro and Tiffany Renee – I’m a equal opportunity disliker!). I just remember the trying to cover-up all the developer contributions she took by concealing the occupation of the people who were contributing to her campaign along with intentionally foreclosing on an investment property she owned because in her own words – she was tired of taking care of it and it was really expensive. Freitas alone is reason enough to call for a special election. It’s not THAT expensive in the course of things and all the logical candidates – Pam Torliatt, Jason Davies, Ray Johnson, Karen Nau, John Mills, Jeff Mayne etc, etc will all deadlock 3-3.

    Tom Lynch, wouldn’t it make more sense if we were to appoint based on being a runner-up to having it be the runner-up from the council race. Mayne did not run for the council he ran for mayor, two completely different posts.

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  9. Dale Axelrod says:

    Sorry, but since Jeff Mayne ran for the office of Mayor (and lost that contest) he’s not eligible for a city council seat (which by definition goes to the top vote-getters running for that office).

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  10. Tom Lynch says:

    The next highest vote getter among all the candidates for city council and mayor is Jeff Mayne with 44% of the vote. Rather than waste $50,000 on a special election to let the voters decide Jeff Mayne will fill the next council seat (if he wants to), let the Council agree with the voters of Petaluma and appoint the candidate with the second highest vote count.

    Just a thought…and then we need to all work on working together and solve some problems.

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  11. Tired of Torliatt says:

    Absolutely amazing that Glass could get elected. As a 5th generation Petaluman I cannot believe just how badly this city has been hijacked by the NO GROWTH regressives like Glass, Barrett and Rene. I used to be proud to say I was from Petaluma but lately find myself apologizing for it. I too would be for a no growth policy if it were retroactive to before Glass Barrett and Rene moved here. Let the scheming begin on how to fill the vacant spot. It will certainly be about what is good for their ideology and not what is good for the city. Am I bitter? Yep.

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  12. be smart says:

    Aside from all this, the community should begin to think about how to receive unbiased, community news coverage. Some of the PD reporters and, unquestionably, the Argus-Courier in general, provide right wing conservative biased coverage for selected people – and surely do not report factual news or a broad scope view – from the meetings I attend and then read about, the reporting is so biased and misrepresentative of the larger picture of discussions, the newspapers should be titled “The Right Wing Rags.”

    The bashing of smart growth candidates who care about the community and aren’t willing to hand truckloads of money over to the long-time developers who have run Petaluma for many years is unconscionable.

    Too bad some of those really good PD reporters are no longer with the newspaper.

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  13. camino alto says:

    The last two times that the Petaluma City council had to appoint somebody, the results were a complete failure. The compromise appointees (Clark Thompson and Samantha Freitas) were divisive rather than productive.

    No more compromises!!!

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  14. Eric Newman says:

    Mayor Glass, this is an easy choice. Keep Pam Torliatt in the mix, and we’ll live to fight another day. Congratulations on holding on in the face of the onslaught.

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  15. john bly says:

    How about finding a candidate all can agree on? Surely, there is a person that is collaborative and independent enough to serve the community for 2 years without voting as a block with either one side or another. Issues are too important to be decided on a partisan basis anymore. That is not working.

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  16. Dale Axelrod says:

    Hi Ray M.,

    RE: “House rule” adoption.
    Not necessarily—the current results show that RIGHT NOW Ray Johnson has a good shot at overtaking Jason Davies when all absentee ballots are counted:

    Jason E Davies 5,483 11.9%
    Ray Johnson 5,451 11.9%

    This is why we should have the current council agree NOW that this is how the selection should be made (allowing the people’s vote to determine the final appointment, not a coin toss).

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  17. Ray M. says:

    @Dale,

    If we go with your option 1, then Jason Davies gets the seat. This will return the council to a 4-3 progressive, no-growth at any cost, majority.

    Your option 2 looks pretty good.

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  18. Dale Axelrod says:

    Suggestion for how “split council” should fill Glass’s seat on Petaluma City Council:

    1—(Preferred)—Adopt a “house rule” of appointing the next highest vote getter (runner up) to the vacant seat.

    2—(Pragmatic)—Each side nominates one candidate, and then appoint by coin toss.

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