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Petaluma City Council candidates support parcel tax, oppose asphalt plant


Six candidates seeking three Petaluma City Council seats on the Nov. 6 ballot continued to try to differentiate themselves Thursday during a wide-ranging forum at City Hall.

Incumbents Tiffany Renee, Mike Healy and Gabe Kearney are seeking to retain their seats. Kathy Miller, Jason Davies and Alicia Kae Herries are challenging. Renee is seeking a second term, Healy a fourth and Kearney is asking voters to continue his tenure on the council. Kearney was appointed to fill a council vacancy in 2011.

Petaluma City Council candidates speak at a candidate forum at City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 in Petaluma. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Questions ranged from whether the candidates supported a parks parcel tax on the ballot and continuing to fight the Dutra asphalt plan south of town — which all candidates did — to several queries about city economics and how to pay for services reduced by recent budget cuts.

On balancing the city’s general-fund budget, Miller said passing the Measure X parks tax would increase tourism and that the city “needs to roll out the welcome mat to business.”

Herries also wants to increase tourism and invite high-tech and “head of household jobs,” while Davies advocated for working to reduce the city’s 30 percent vacancy rate in office space before encouraging new development.

Kearney said his vote to reduce a fee developers pay to fund low-income housing has already shown results and wasn’t just “lofty ideas of how we might bring businesses to town.”

Herries and Renee said they support increasing the city’s hotel tax on overnight visitors to raise revenues to fund city services.

Asked about how to restore police services that have been cut in the past several years, Healy said he would support enacting a temporary sales tax of perhaps eight years.

Davies, Kearney and Renee all backed increasing Petaluma’s community-oriented policing efforts to reach young people before they become involved in drugs, alcohol or crime.

Miller, Kearney and Healy touted their recent endorsements from the city’s police and fire unions.

On transportation, candidates stressed that fixing Petaluma’s notoriously decayed roads was key.

Davies, Healy and Miller all said reaching a long-term agreement with the city’s garbage hauler for increased franchise fees to pay for road maintenance was a priority. Healy and Miller added that funding the Rainier Avenue cross-town connector is a top goal as well.

Renee said she wants to continue to advocate for federal transportation dollars and a sales-tax increase to fund street maintenance. Kearney and Herries advocated for increased local transit ridership.

10 Responses to “Petaluma City Council candidates support parcel tax, oppose asphalt plant”

  1. Kathy Miller says:


    It is very easy to post false information anonymously, as you do. Here is the truth. My questionnaire that I filled out for the SCCA specifically and unequivocally stated “I do not support locating the Dutra Aspahlt Plant across from Shollenberger Park.” I run, bike and walk my dog there and I donated cash to the cause long before I ever thought about running for City Council. As I have previously stated on more than one occasion, I am very grateful to the community groups and Council Member Mike Healy because they are helping with the appeal and because the City of Petaluma is financially strapped and cannot afford to pay for the entire appeal. And finally, although the City paid our attorney”s fees because the then majority on the City Council of Torliatt, Glass, Barrett and Renee decided to illegally remove me and the other Planning Commissioners from the Planning Commission, I personally received nothing from the City. Unlike the Petaluma Neighborhood Association, I have not extorted anyone to line my pockets at the expense of my community.

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  2. Facts says:

    Where and when have you opposed the Dutra plant prior to the forums? The fight has been going on for years and no one ever heard from you on it. Why? Either it was a priority for you or it wasn’t. You were against it the whole time and kept it to yourself? That’s leadership? If it wasn’t a priority previously, just admit it. Be honest.

    If however you are saying what is stated on the web site of Save Shollenberger Park is incorrect, contact SCCA and ask the why they reported your answer from your interview in which you did not receive their endorsement. As an attorney, wouldn’t that be libel?

    Someone isn’t telling the truth and if it’s SCCA, you should call them on it. But you probably won’t because you know it’s true.

    Face the facts. Your hired gun, Herb Williams commissioned a poll on this issue months back and when you and Healy got the results, you took your position accordingly. Except you must have slipped when you were being interviewed. Whoops.

    And how much did you extort from the city when you sued for not being re-appointed to planning?

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  3. Kathy Miller says:


    Your “facts” are untrue. I have repeatedly said I am opposed to the Dutra asphalt plant across from Shollenberger Park and that I am grateful to the community groups for helping to fund the appeal as well as to Mike Healy for writing an amicus brief in support of the appeal.

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  4. Facts says:


    “Most recently, City Council candidate Kathy Miller told SCCA in interview that she would not support continued city participation in the lawsuit and appeal. This position is unmerited, as it fails to recognize the generous donation of $5000 from Moms for Clean Air to the City towards the costs of the appeal, and the pledge of another $5000 from Friends of Shollenberger. If the City were to adopt that position and leave the appeal, there would be no chance for the City to recover its legal costs when we win.”


    Healy, Miller, and Kearney received no endorsements from environmental groups. Here’s the report card for Healy and Kearney (2011-2012)

    Mike Healy: C+
    “Leadership on Lafferty is a plus. Long time development supporter. Available with effort, but does not listen to others. Makes decisions for political benefit”

    Gabe Kearney: C+
    “not sure what he really stands for. Does not show environmental leadership. Can be reached, but is not reaching out. Concerns exist regarding his alliances”

    There’s a reason none of these candidates were endorsed by the Sierra Club, Moms for Clean Air, Petaluma Tomorrow, Sonoma County Conservation Action, and Coalition for a Better Sonoma County.

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  5. Frank says:

    want to increase tourism, don’t increase the cost, invite the people by paddling there back side don’t seem attractive to me
    hummm, but makes me think catering to the 1% has some value suddenly

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  6. Just traveling through says:

    Hey Frank:
    What’s wrong with an increase in hotel tax? When’s the last time you ever booked a hotel by looking at the hotel’s local taxes?

    The Sheraton’s rates go from $135 to $499 per nite, and you’re worried about an extra 1% in bed tax?

    Tell me you’re kidding about that.

    Bed taxes are used around the world to fund local services, but you think it makes a difference whether someone books a room in Petaluma?

    Herries is right on the mark about helping to fund local services in ways that don’t hurt. got any other suggestions?

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  7. Frank says:

    Herries also wants to increase tourism and invite high-tech and “head of household jobs,”
    AND in the same breath
    Herries and Renee said they support increasing the city’s hotel tax on overnight visitors to raise revenues to fund city services.
    don’t know whether to laugh or cry

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  8. Terry says:

    “On transportation, candidates stressed that fixing Petaluma’s notoriously decayed roads was key.” Um, ah, what? Can you say ‘disconnect’?

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  9. Grapevines says:

    Put the plant in and have them pave over the city council chambers!

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  10. James Bennett says:

    More tax, less business.
    Kowtow to globalist “federal transportation dollars” extortion.
    Sabotage that which pertains to roads.

    Sounds about right.

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