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Rohnert Park incumbents might not have challengers


The three Rohnert Park councilmembers up for reelection this year have taken out nomination papers, indicating their intent to run for another term.

Rohnert Park City Hall.

No opponents have yet emerged to challenge Mayor Jake Mackenzie, Councilwoman Gina Belforte and Councilman Joe Callinan in their bids for four more years in office.

Prospective candidates have until Aug. 15 to file nomination forms with 20 signatures.

Stewart Cilley, a former candidate for Congress who also took out papers for the council race, has since decided not to run.

“I’ve done some research … and I think the incumbents are going to prevail and they’re doing a good job,” said Cilley, an accountant who ran for the newly created 5th District seat last year.

The three incumbents have helped steer Rohnert Park through a fiscal trough in which the city’s deficit hit $10 million.
When Belforte and Callinan upset two sitting councilmembers to join Mackenzie at the dais in 2008, the city faced a general fund deficit approaching $8 million and there were whispers that it should perhaps seek bankruptcy.

Jake Mackenzie

Today, the budget was balanced going into this fiscal year and has been pared nearly 40 percent, to $22 million since 2008. The council approved employee contracts including $3.3 million in concessions and also cut 34 city positions.

“It seems like we’re finally turning the city back around and I want to make sure it stays that way,” said Callinan.
The city’s unfunded liabilities in pension and retiree medical plans are priorities, he said.

Callinan is a general contractor whose father, Pete Callinan, was the city’s first mayor and its longtime city manager.
Mackenzie is currently the longest-serving councilmember. He was first elected to the council in 1996 and was also mayor in 2001, 2005 and 2008.

A retired Environmental Protection Agency manager, Mackenzie has been a

Gina Belforte

champion of mass transit and environmentally aware development.

He hopes to push forward a fuller implementation of the city’s general plan, which calls for thousands more new housing units to be produced in the city.

“I have unfinished business in Rohnert Park,” he said.

Belforte too cited development plans inching forward in various parts of the city as a factor pushing her to run again.
The owner of a carpet and upholstery cleaning company, said she wants to see the city fully returned to financial health.

“I want to see that through,” she said, “that Rohnert Park is not on somewhat solid footing, but on incredibly solid footing.”

Joe Callinan

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.

5 Responses to “Rohnert Park incumbents might not have challengers”

  1. Whine Country Romance says:

    This is not surprising in the least. RP is a ghetto, fully deserving its ghetto leadership.

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  2. 0 Representation says:

    John Hudson,
    You need to run for City Council to help keep this city council in line. I’d vote for you in a minute. Just a thought.

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  3. John Hudson says:

    MacKenzie and his hacks are responsible for squandering over $8M on the new city hall that nobody outside of government wanted. It was supposed to cost $2M. Nobody on the city council has uttered on word of criticism of the gross cost overruns.

    MacKenzie has also used his position to get appointed to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. He and his colleagues want to force us to install GPS devices in our cars so they can tax us for every mile we drive.

    MacKenzie and his gang also raised sewer rates in violation of voter approved Measure
    L. The passage of Measure L was a humiliating defeat for MacKenzie because he had every “respectable” in Sonoma County telling people to vote no as well as an hysterical media campaign planned by Herb Williams featuring two different television commercials. No campaign was waged in favor of Measure L. The people passed it anyway. MacKenzie does not claim that the election result was in any way improper. He simply decided to ignore it.

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  4. Peace & Justice says:

    If I lived in Rohnert Park I would challenge good old Jake. This guy has his fingers in too many political pies in Sonoma County. His claims of building thousands of houses units in Rohnert Park and his “unfinished business” is not good news for the residents of RP or Sonoma County.

    Rohnert Park needs new blood on the city council and the first order of business should be to replace MacKenzie.

    All MacKenzie has to do is finish in the top three vote getters and he is in for another term. RP needs to get some opponents on the ballot and get Mackenzie out.

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  5. 0 Representation says:

    Just what we DON’T need is more Jake MacKenzie. He considers himself “environmentally aware development”. Yeah, right. When it’s convenient for him. I don’t think offering our city for the casino is “enviromentally aware”.

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