WatchSonoma Watch

Santa Rosa plans to keep candidates a secret. Really?

With a week to go before the deadline to apply for the Santa Rosa City Council vacancy, how many people have filed? The answer is zero. As of Tuesday, the city had yet to receive a completed application, according to the city clerk.

A number of people apparently have taken out applications, but City Clerk Terri Griffin says they’not keeping track.

And here’s the kicker. When the candidates do file, the city plans to keep it a secret – until the deadline passes.  We will not be able to report on who has filed until Wednesday morning. Why? Apparently, because they think it will somehow protect the integrity of the process. Candidates won’t be able to look at their answers to the city’s questionnaire, for example. 


My question is, how is this not a violation of the California Public Records Act? It seems if the public has any compelling interest in the workings of goverment it’s in knowing who is formally seeking public office. If someone runs for City Council, their name is make public often when they pull papers but certainly when they file papers to run. It is public record. So why would the process for someone filing for appointment to a City Council seat be any different?

Furthermore, it seems to me that keeping the names secret has the potential of influencing the process in a negative way. Isn’t it likely that someone may choose to run – or not to run – based on who has already filed? If it comes down to the fact that only one or two candidates have applied as of next Monday, the pressure will be great to know who those individuals are while there’s still time for someone else to jump in the fray. Certainly, those who file will know as well as those in certain political circles. Of course, a handful of employees at City Hall will know as well. But the rest of the public will be left in the dark.

If the city wants to keep the answers to questionnaires secret, for competitive reasons, until next Wednesday, I have no problem with that. But let the public know who has filed to fill to serve them in public office. It’s their right to know.

- Paul Gullixson

13 Responses to “Santa Rosa plans to keep candidates a secret. Really?”

  1. Caller says:

    They plan to keep the candidates a secret for a very short period so that the PD doesn’t meddle before all of the applicants have submitted their paperwork. The PD is purposely causing unnecessary drama over this when everyone will soon know the applicants.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  2. Liz says:

    If you think this city council is conservative you need to look a little closer. It is not even close to conservative it is moderate at best. Pro business does not mean conservative.

    Also do you have data to back up the claim that SR is progressive leaning? not all dems are progressive many are moderates. I would never make a claim without data to back it up. Please provide the facts to your statement. Thanks.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    I say let Susan Gorin choose who replaces her. Afterall, we voters voted her in and we want someone with her political point of view in her place. Susan no longer has an investment in the city council so her choice would certainly be more neutral.

    I don’t want a conservative leaning board choosing another council member because they will choose a conservative, a friend for them. Since most of Santa Rosa is progressive leaning that’s the way the board should lean. If Sawyer had won I would be saying the same.

    Ok, let’s have the thumbs down go way up on this post. You conservatives are out numbered in this county and that’s too bad for you.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

  4. Liz says:

    resident and richard are right!
    This council thinks they are better than us and can do whatever they please.
    If in the november election the last council seat was won by 3 votes they would be singing the winners name loudly. But in this case 3 votes is somehow not ok.
    This is a public elected seat and they are taking it away from the public and it’s not ok in my opinion.
    It should not be legal and I think the city charter must be changed to get rid of this completely unfair rule that takes the residents of Santa Rosa out of the process.
    I mean why bother have any elections at all, why not just have the old council pick the new council in 2 years, why do you need us silly ol’ citizens anyways.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  5. Mac E. Velli says:

    Why not get it over with and declare a dictatorship right now?

    Will Carlstrom sell her votes when they appoint a progressive–she’ll be the swing voter.

    I bet if Banuelos had come in above Taylor we’d be hearing how ‘fair’ it is to take the next highest vote-getter.

    For some reason Olivares is being led around by Carlstrom. Did Herb Williams make a deal with the ‘C’ family? Looks like it.

    Mac E. Velli signing off saying: “Santa Rosa–you’re asleep at the wheel and headed for a tree.”

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  6. richard smith says:

    Just another example of our elected officials, and so called representative of the people, believing they know better than those they supposedly serve. It is our decision,not theirs,and we have already voted for our choices.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  7. Resident says:

    It is already fishy that they are choosing to Appoint, rather than taking a runner up. I know the runner ups were very close in number of votes, but they could interview and choose between them. That would be a more fair appointment, as far as representing the desires of the voters.

    And we should know who is being considered for the position. The public should be able to petition for or against someone who will have such power over our lives.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 7

  8. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    How will the other Dan Drummond’s that live around here going to know whether to run against me or not?

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  9. Buddy Bear says:

    Remember that one time the PD said Carlstrom was going to be a new voice on the council? LOL I do. Its total comedy that anyone thought that the wife of Nick Caston would do anything other than compete for biggest power player. This has been the least transparent council in a long while.

    This is a deliberate move on the part of the conservatives to make sure that they further alianate the progressives (Wysocky, Colbms) and make sure that future conservative voices such as Carlstroms can be seen as moderate.


    Get to know these names, they are the fake Democrats of our future. Hopefully their compettion wises up to thier lies and call them what they are.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 10

  10. James Bennett says:

    Shut the constituents out of the process as much as possible.


    Representative government, United States, public servant…any of that ring a bell?

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 8

  11. Nora Gonzales says:

    Another way to look at this is who are the fools willing to sign up for a tour of duty on the ship of fools.

    Why would any sane person willing submit to the criticism and join the merry band who seem unable to solve even mundane problems, let alone the real fiscal crisis facing Santa Rosa.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 14

  12. Reality Check says:

    “Isn’t it likely that someone may choose to run – or not to run – based on who has already filed?”

    Yes, which is a good reason not to release the names of applicants. Why risk deterring someone from filing because they think another, possibly more prominent, person is more likely to be appointed?

    The city council has good reason to want to select from as large an applicant pool as possible.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 8

  13. Mike McCoy says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. Someone might poll the six seated council members to ask them what their positions are. Might make interesting reading.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4

Leave a Reply