WatchSonoma Watch

Petaluma council hopes third time is the charm


Petaluma council members say they are hopeful for a compromise Monday night when they make a third attempt to fill a vacant council seat.

But that means at least one member from one of the two well-defined factions on the council will have to vote independently of his or her bloc.

The council has operated with six members since Jan. 3, when David Glass left his council seat to become mayor. Council members have made two unsuccessful attempts to fill the seat: An unexpected effort Jan. 3 to appoint the fourth-place finisher from November’s election and a Jan. 31 series of informal votes that quickly stagnated.

At Monday’s meeting, the council will try again to find one person among 19 applicants who is acceptable to a majority of four.

Several council members said last week they have met with many of the applicants in the past month and will go into Monday’s meeting with open minds.

“I am still hopeful we can come to a decision, come together and find a unifying voice for the seventh council seat,” said Councilman Mike Harris, who has met with several applicants.

Glass said he didn’t feel the need to meet with any candidates, saying he is comfortable supporting only the applicants he already voted for: Jason Davies and Pam Torliatt.

“A cup of coffee with someone isn’t going to make me comfortable,” he said.

The council is ideologically split 3-3 on how closely it should manage applications for projects whose developers seek city approval to build or expand businesses.

Glass, Teresa Barrett and Tiffany Renee support strict conditions on development, favoring the so-called “smart growth” tenets of compact, mixed uses and transit-oriented growth. Harris, Mike Healy and Chris Albertson have been described as more pro-business, tending to support projects when they meet zoning guidelines in the city’s general plan.

The seventh council member could be a crucial swing vote on controversial proposals that reach the council, including Deer Creek Village, a proposed 346,000-square-foot shopping center that is planned to include a Lowe’s home improvement center. The environmental impact report on that project could come before the council this summer.

Three straw votes on Jan. 31 produced several candidates who each were able to garner three votes from sitting council members: Gene Beatty, Davies, Lou Steinberg, Torliatt, Ray Johnson and Jeff Mayne. Former Petaluma school board member Christina Kauk also garnered support.

Davies and Torliatt received votes only from the Glass-Renee-Barrett bloc, while the business faction supported the other candidates.

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.

Monday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 11 English St.


12 Responses to “Petaluma council hopes third time is the charm”

  1. Kim says:

    be very smart, you’re true to your Petaluma Tomorrow roots. You don’t hear anything different than what you beleive as the “truth” because you only listen to people of the same ilk. Many of us, on the other hand, listen to all sides of the equation. Perhaps an expansion outside of your close circle of friends would bring in more light.

    Mayor Glass is perfectly happy with the 3-3 split on the city council. While he enjoyed a majority on the council for two years a 3-3 split serves his purpose. Only supporting two contenders for the open seat that he KNOWS will not pass a majority vote and he has a stalemate on the council, which is almost as good as a majority.

  2. wilson says:

    My question is why would anybody NOT support just Pamela Torliatt and Jason Davies for the vacant city council seat? They are far and above the best for the position. Compromise is a profanity to me here.

    Ms. Torliatt has 18 years council experience to bring. There’s only two other applicants with prior council experience and neither has any support for the position. If she was as bad as some of you will certainly say, how did she last those 18 years and make all of the accomplishments that she did?

    Jason Davies was the fourth place finisher in the recent election. Some of you will say “he lost, get over it”. But he did run for the seat and he wants it. He campaigned honest and hard. He made tons of friends and gained a lot of supporters. Jason is fully vetted so there are no secrets about him. We all know where he stands on the issues. He will be on the Petaluma City Council, sooner or later. Why not sooner?

  3. helpmeout says:

    be very smart – explain: Glass, Renee and Barrett are the good guys because they refuse to consider anyone other than Torliatt or Davies while Harris, Healy and Albertson are bad guys because they will consider applicants other that Torliatt and Davies? Huh!

    Look Johnson and Mayne are equally aligned with a side. Doesn’t it make total sense to reject all 4 of the above as having run in the previous elections and choose someone that can establish to the satisfaction of at least 4 councilpersons that he/she can have an open mind about issues.

    If that can’t work, then I think it is time to move on to an election……a recall election.

  4. Ray M. says:

    Remember folks. In the shriveled minds of Glass, Barrett and Renee, “Smart growth” mean no growth at any cost.

  5. Pain in the Glass says:

    David Glass must be taking leadership lessons from Mubarak and Gadhafi. What a petty, petty, vindictive man.

    He twiddles his thumbs for three weeks, refusing to meet anyone he hasn’t cast a vote for, after urging the council to vote for Dennis Pocekay by quickly running through his bio from the dais last time

    So the council is supposed to change their votes based on your brief description of a candidate, but you won’t take the time to sit down with the ones you’re unfamiliar with? What a lazy display of leadership. What a fraud.

    Of course, maybe Glass just didn’t have time to meet with other candidates due to his busy schedule of witchhunting Petaluma police and firefighters who dared question during the campaign whether he was fit for the job.

    With the clear shift in Glass’ brain chemistry (from a consensus builder in his first term to a Nixonian “enemies list”-type approach to governing this time around) perhaps a medical doctor like Pocekay is a good choice to sit up there and keep him under observation.

  6. Stand by Your Principles says:

    The obvious solution, available all along, is to appoint the next highest vote getter, Jason Davies. The Chamber folks won’t have that, because then they would be in a minority. I expect that the progressive members that so many of us voted for will stand by their principles, and endorse another progressive who reflects the values of the those who voted them into office. If we can’t do an appointment, then let’s hold a special election and do this democratically.

  7. be very smart says:

    Yes, Watch Pup, yes.

  8. Watch Pup says:

    David Glass is all about representing the “hardworking middle class” as well as businesses that contribute more than they take from the city. It’s one thing to have differing ideologies about what makes a community livable; it’s another to spout rude inanities and lies about those whose political philosophies don’t agree with yours. Frankly, I’m quite happy that “Glad to live elsewhere” doesn’t live in Petaluma.

  9. be very smart says:

    Well, well, I see you are at it again.

    This post is for “Kim” and “sadie.”

    First of all, everything word in your posts is exactly the opposite of the truth.

    The people you are really talking about are Harris, Healy and Albertson.

    They are the ones who care only for their political futures and for trying to get right wing conservative biases in the majority of the Petaluma City Council. Healy pretends to be a “moderate,” but every now knows his affiliations with the real estate, building and construction industries – which we call “business” in Petaluma, when in reality there is a broad range of contemporary business opportunities, including in technology, about which Healy, Harris and Albertson, and apparently you, are clueless.

    So, to them, and to you, hard working families and “business” opportunities are about supporting the Chamber of Commerce and its antiquated views and the old timers in Petaluma who want nothing more than to keep this a backwoods truly non-progressive community.

    A truly progressive community- not a made up political tag – is one that embraces its history and strives for economic development that includes the 21st century.

    I hope Mayor Glass, Councilmember Barrett and Councilmember Renee will stay true to their values, in representing what is best for the community of Petaluma, and not be swayed by the ignorance that is so evident in perceptions like those posted in this forum.

  10. Glad to live elsewhere says:

    Kim well put, Mayor Glass cares nothing about what the majority of hardworking middle class families in Petaluma want. His only endeavor is to surround himself with his cronies which he feels comfortable with. You could not be more right when you say these people, ( Barrett, Glass, Torliatt) only get re-elected on name recognition not on merit of their accomplishments.

  11. sadie says:

    What else can be expected from Mayor Glass he will only be comfortable with his earlier votes, read that, he will only vote for applicants that gave to his campaign or the ones he gave.

    Mayor Glass bought and paid for.

    Mayor Glass dance with the one that brung ya.

    Leadership at it’s finnest.


  12. Kim says:

    Harris is “hopeful”. Glass is dead set on one of two. Renee and Barrett will vote the way Glass does. The other side will not vote for Torliatt or Davies. The only question that needs to be answered is Which side will look like fools come Monday evening? I guess one’s outlook on that will depend on which camp you’re in. Meanwhile those of us in the middle (a majority) and want another person appointed will be the ones that don’t get what they want. There ARE, however, a couple middle of the road and very well qualified candidates in that list, pity they don’t stand a chance.

    Some of our elected council members are very lucky that most of the voters don’t hold grudges and/or forget about past antics, they vote on name recognition…..pity.