By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
After three unofficial votes to fill its vacant seventh seat, the Petaluma City Council Monday night deadlocked again and opted to delay the decision for another month.
Before the meeting, council members expressed optimism they could find one applicant among 19 that a majority of four members could agree upon, hoping to carry over the new-found spirit of compromise they showed last week.
But reality quickly set in when the first straw vote showed no cross-over among the two defined voting blocs on the council.
After a second poll showed little movement from either side, Mayor David Glass suggested they stop, calling council members “entrenched.”
“It would be counterproductive to go further with this, because it will serve to tear apart the body of six that is up here right now,” he said. “We all have a reason why we’re entrenched where we are.”
The vacant seat was created when Glass won election to mayor in November, halfway through his council term. The council accepted applications for the vacancy, which expires at the end of 2012.
Of the 19 people who applied for the spot, seven were also-rans in the November’s elections.
The self-described progressive bloc of Glass, Tiffany Renee and Teresa Barrett held firm to its favored candidates, Jason Davies and Pam Torliatt. Davies lost in his bid for the council and Torliatt, a former Petaluma council member, unsuccessfully sought a seat on the county board of supervisors.
The pro-business contingent consistently supported former interim City Manager Gene Beatty and former Petaluma school board member Lou Steinberg. Receiving three votes twice were Jeff Mayne, who lost to Glass for mayor, and Ray Johnson, who sought a council seat in November.
The appointment is seen as critical to both sides of the ideologically divided council, whose members differ on how strictly the council should oversee applications for private development projects in Petaluma. The seventh member could become a swing vote on potentially controversial projects, including the Deer Creek Village application, which includes a Lowe’s home improvement store.
Glass also lobbied for Dennis Pocekay, a retired physician with degrees from Creighton, Stanford, Cal and Caltech who also helps mentor students in Petaluma.
Healy expressed support for Steinberg and Kauk, also a longtime Petaluma school board member.
Renee pushed for Davies, as did some members of the public, touting his experience in the high-tech industry and his fourth-place finish in the November election.
In the end, the council decided that more time to get to know some of the candidates may encourage a change in votes by next month. They decided to revisit the appointment at the Feb. 28 meeting.
Other applicants included: Durward “Chips” Armstrong, Wyatt Bunker, Paul Clary, Harry Clifford III, Dmitri Evdokimoff, Daryl Johnson, Gabe Kearney, Bryant Moynihan, Karen Nau, Rick Parker and Sara Sass.