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Combs, Carlstrom to join Olivares, Wysocky on Santa Rosa council



Mayor Ernesto Olivares and Councilman Gary Wysocky will return to their seats on Santa Rosa’s City Council, joined by two challengers, neighborhood activist

Santa Rosa Mayor Ernesto Olivares, right, talks with his daughter, Cassie, at his party in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG/ PD)

Julie Combs and attorney Erin Carlstrom.

Final vote tallies late Tuesday night showed top vote-getters were Olivares with 15.1 percent, Combs with 14.1 percent, Carlstrom with 14 percent and Wysocky with 13.8 percent.

See photos from Election Day here

“I’m happy with what I see so far,” Olivares said Tuesday evening as he snapped pictures with supporters at D’Argenzio Winery.

Trailing behind were restaurateur Don Taylor, with 12 percent, former volunteer coordinator Caroline Bañuelos, with 11.9 percent, and Hans Dippel, with 7.3 percent.

“I’m grateful the voters returned me to office,” Wysocky said outside Democratic Party headquarters downtown as results came in. “I look forward to good healthy discussions of public policy for the betterment of our city.”

The results could significantly shift the direction of the council for the third time in four years.

The 2008 election swept liberals into power for the first time in the council’s history, but only by a slim 4-3 majority. Their grip on power was brief and turbulent.

The 2010 campaign saw business and public employee groups attack Mayor Susan Gorin and Veronica Jacobi as inept. Gorin survived, but Jacobi, the coalition’s staunchest environmentalist, lost her seat.

With the election of Scott Bartley, an architect, and Jake Ours, a retired economic development official, the balance shifted back in favor of council members supported by public employee unions and business and development interests.

For the past two years, the council has focused on a collaborative approach to pension overhaul, which some have criticized as not going far enough, and aggressive economic development efforts, which critics said came at the expense of neighborhood input.

Carlstrom could now find herself in the potentially influential position of being the swing vote on many key issues before the council.

In late September, Carlstrom and Olivares endorsed one another and agreed to restore a spirit of collaboration on the polarized council.

She took some heat for it from party loyalists, some of whom said they felt betrayed, but was praised by others for trying to change the tone on the council.

“It’s my intention to work very hard on behalf of the city if indeed I do win,” Carlstrom said shortly before midnight.

Combs said she was “delighted” with the results and attributed her success to her focus on neighborhood issues.

“I think folks are ready to have a council that reaches out to them and listens to them,” Combs said.

Two other candidates who pulled out of the race still managed to get some votes. Mike Cook received 8.1 percent of the vote, while Shaan Vandenburg received 3.6 percent.

12 Responses to “Combs, Carlstrom to join Olivares, Wysocky on Santa Rosa council”

  1. COMBS IS "PDA" says:

    Julie Combs is an officer of the extremist group that calls itself the “Progressive Democrats of America”. The group was formed by Norman Solomon and locally is made up of a tiny band of ex Green party activists who want to change the Democratic Party. Change how? they won’t say. But apparently it is to make the Democratic Party more like the old Green Party. Good luck with that…

    This leftist group is the mirror image of the Republican’s right wing Tea Party.

    They may not say what their goals are but they are stacking all the elected and appointed public positions in town with members of the “PDA”. It’s another story the Press Democrat is missing…

  2. Terry says:

    Jim M,

    Of course the pension issue is real. You are naive however if you do not see the political play by Wysocky.

  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Olivares should have gone. His kowtowing to the safety employees at the expense of the rest of city workers was abominable. The pain of cuts should have been shared equally by all city employees. And the safety employees are the ones who have overtime and can pad their pensions.

  4. Jim M says:

    The pension issue is real, and the concern that Wysocky has been showing about it is completely justified.

  5. Snarky says:

    According the media, the local police mailed an illegal mailer attacking both Wysocky and Combs…

    The local police mailed that piece without identifying themselves as the people behind it…

    They got fined for that illegal violation of election law.

    And I did as I said I would do because of that attempt to manipulate the local voters…


  6. Joe Blow says:

    You’re all capping on Gary and Julie, yet it was the fiscally conservative business friendly folks that struck a deal with the firefighters, giving them an 8% pay increase to cover their 9% increase they have to pay to their pensions. Gee, why can’t I get a deal like that. Oh, yeah, I can’t buy off any city council members.

  7. Terry says:

    Big Jim,

    Wysocky used the pension issue as a political point because a couple of 2010 council candidates struck a deal which prevented Wysocky from becoming Mayor. He was PO’d so he used it as an election issue. Wysocky, a very unsuccessful CPA has done little to nothing to curb spending or to offer ideas. It has been the current majority that did that. More needs to be done, but you are blind if you do not recognize that spending by the city in this economy is not the issue. It is revenue. In other words, the economy. When economic activity shrinks, especially in retail and hotels, tax revenue plummets. Gary doesn’t seem to get that.

    Gary cannot stand successful businesses that bring projects before the dais. He is a bully that only seems to care about bicycles. He only voted for Chic’ F because he knew he’d be crucified in the election if he didn’t. This is Gary’s last term. By the next election cycle, enough of Santa Rosa will have figured it out.

  8. Mac E. Velli says:

    Combs is one of a small group of liberal extremists that have literally taken over all of Santa Rosa’s neighborhoods. Susan Gorin helped with establishing this neighborhood cabal along with the Neighborhood Alliance and the Community Advisory Board. For the past two years they organized the Neighborhood Summit where they were trolling for their kind of ‘Neighborhood leaders’. Basically this means anyone who walks the line and falls into the ‘progressive’ pool.

    The drag is that people around here who think they’re progressive don’t know that these people are not just Democrats who are ‘forward thinking.’ They are extremists who are masking themselves.

    Get ready for a nasty ride.
    It’s going to be ugly. Money for bike bridges and streetlights off all over town. Attacking anyone who gets in their way. Depending on who the 7th member of the council will be, we’ll see some viciousness, especially from Combs and Carlstrom. Wysocky has his own brand of snide crudity masquerading as ‘fiscal concern.’ Yeah, and 20 million for a bike bridge is real conservative.

    It’s going to be like a bad soap opera when the city gets a look at these people up close.

    Mac E. Velli says: You voted for them, you deserve it.

  9. Big Jim says:

    Glad to see Wysocky re-elected. We need a fiscally responsible representatives to curb the power of public safety unions and their representatives such as Olivares.

  10. Terry says:

    Wysocky finished at the bottom of the four. He is a bully. It is my hope that he shows more decorum on the council this go around. For an incumbent, he fared rather poorly, and I think that is because some people who pay attention know of his reputation. That number will grow unless he deals with his anger issues.

  11. Im6of7 says:

    I’m sorry to see Wysocky was reelected. This extremist needs to go next time. Hope he doesn’t run amok until then.

  12. Terry says:

    I cannot get over Combs’s continual reference to “neighborhood” interests. This on its face sounds good like mom and apple pie, but when you peel back the layers what you find is NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) bullying and shakedown interests. Is that what she is saying? What exactly does “listening” to neighborhood interests, as if any council does not do that, mean? Do you mean if I scream loud enough and I do not get my way, that you did not “listen” to me? Please explain yourself new councilmember Combs, or do you not get it?