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Petaluma Councilman Harris to challenge Mayor Glass in 2014

By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Longtime Councilman Mike Harris has entered the race for Petaluma mayor, setting the stage for a rousing election next year that could again tip the political scales in Petaluma.

Harris declared on Wednesday his intentions to challenge Mayor David Glass in November 2014. Glass announced last year that he will seek re-election.

Both men are longtime Petalumans who have been elected several times to local office and generally are on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

As such, political observers say, many voters may have already aligned themselves with their favored candidate.

David Glass (left) and Mike Harris.

David Glass (left) and Mike Harris.

Harris, 42, has received support from the business community, including developers, real estate interests and builders. He is the council’s only Republican, although the race is nonpartisan.

Glass has seen support from environmentalists and the progressive elements of the Democratic party. He and former mayor Pam Torliatt, the only other candidate to have filed election papers for a 2014 council seat, have held mutual fundraisers.

In last year’s election, voters tilted the council toward the pro-business side, electing Mike Healy, Kathy Miller and Gabe Kearney. They often align with Harris and Chris Albertson, while Glass tends to vote along the same lines as Teresa Barrett.

In his announcement, Harris, an executive with a Petaluma-based financial services company, implied voters were on the right path.

“There is only one more thing we need to do to put this city on the road to real recovery,” he said, “and that is to elect a new mayor.”

Glass, 65, who recently retired from the municipal bond industry after more than two decades, said he welcomes the challenge.

“When you have the background of longevity that Harris and I both have, bring it on,” he said. “Let’s have a series of debates instead of having a lot of 30-second sound-bites and snippets.

“I don’t think you can get a more defined choice,” Glass said.

Harris is serving his third consecutive four-year term on the council. Glass is running for a third term as mayor. He was elected to the post in 2002. In 2008, he was elected to the council but then ran mid-term for mayor in 2010.

City labor unions supported Glass’ opponent in 2010 and Harris said the leaders of both the police and fire department unions support him personally in this race.

Harris said he is proud that the Target and Friedman’s shopping centers were approved after a lengthy process, and he said he wants to work to continue to attract revenue-generating businesses to Petaluma.

“As mayor I will make attracting business to our city a priority and will work hand-in-hand with our economic development team to fully implement our adopted economic strategic plan to continue to heal our city financially,” he said.

Petaluma is the only Sonoma County city that has a separately elected mayor. The mayor leads council meetings and helps set the agenda, but has no more power than other council members.

In addition to the mayoral post, the council seats of Harris, Barrett and Albertson will be on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot.

Harris was first elected to the council in 2002. He was the top vote getter among six candidates in 2006 and among nine candidates in 2010.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com.





6 Responses to “Petaluma Councilman Harris to challenge Mayor Glass in 2014”

  1. Harris...out of step on gun control says:

    “Councilman Mike Harris, the only Republican on Petaluma’s seven-member council, was the sole vote against the resolution.”

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130128/ARTICLES/130129533

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  2. Harris the Republican says:

    “Mike Harris, a former Sonoma County Republican Party chairman, dismissed the president’s 48-minute speech as “just more platitudes and campaign rhetoric.”

    The public option “will trap tens of millions of people in a system of substandard care,” Harris said, blasting the health care change embraced by liberals”

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20090909/ARTICLES/909099892?p=2&tc=pg

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9

  3. Snarky says:

    Political party matter not.

    The problem with government is the “lifers” who refuse to go back to their private sector jobs.

    Government is such an easy gig…. they can’t let it go.

    As a result, we have dead wood thinkers creating dead wood ideas that do nothing mostly.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 16

  4. James Bennett says:

    Did you catch that little social engineering propaganda?

    Pro-business.
    OR
    Pro- environment.

    More division.

    How abour pro-freedom, pro-fee market, pro-constitution.
    OR
    soft spine globalist follower?

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 9

  5. Glass needs to go says:

    Glass has hurt Petaluma far more than he has helped it. He played a huge role in the anti-business faction that almost destroyed Petaluma. Now he wants to be Mayor and bring back Torliatt? NO WAY!! I was never happier than to see Torliatt get sent packing. Now we need to lock the door and turn out the lights.

    Thumb up 47 Thumb down 16

  6. 20/20 vision says:

    Now this is going to be an interesting race.

    Mike Harris is not only a registered Republican, he is very involved in the Republican Party of Sonoma County and I believe that he is a former head of its central committee. This important fact has been ignored in the local papers throughout his political career. And even though the Petaluma City Council is non-partisan, there are other Republicans there, whether they are registered as such or not. But Harris is by all accounts a likeable guy. And he is one who will tell you anything to keep you happy. Whether or not he actually officially acts to make you happy is another thing altogether, unless you’re a developer. As Harris is fully entrenched in the development community’s pockets, he will get their support and campaign contributions. He will also likely have support of the fire and police departments with a vow to maintain their insane staffing requirements, pensions and other overhead that gobble up over 75% of the City of Petaluma’s entire budget. How much of all of that will turn into votes remains to be seen.

    David Glass has been a pretty good mayor. He has had a very tough job and carries much of the credit for keeping Petaluma financially above water. But he has burned bridges and alienated some of his supporters. However, Pamela Torliatt will be running for City Council again and Glass will be able to ride on her significant coattails and use her well-earned influence to get votes and support. The grass roots support that Torliatt has is astounding to say the least. And to anyone that says that Glass would be her puppet, I say that Torliatt is the smartest, toughest and most dedicated elected official in Petaluma since Helen Putnam and anybody would be a complete fool to not heed her advice and influence.

    Being mayor in Petaluma requires a lot of leadership, communication and consensus building skills. Harris has never shown such ability. If he had, the Republican Party would have pushed him up their ladder long ago. One big question is how much support has Glass lost. The other is, having seen the way the voters in Petaluma don’t seem to have any desire to actually learn the truth about the candidates, which of these familiar names will they vote for. And before you deride me for that last statement, consider this. Sonoma County as a whole is very politically liberal. Yet on the current Petaluma City Council, only ONE person, Teresa Barrett, can be legitimately be categorized as such. Glass is a moderate and the rest are pure conservative. The majority of Petalumans vote like they are in a red state. And they gripe about the horrible traffic and absence of good paying jobs yet continue to elect the ones that brought excessive and un-needed development to Petaluma.

    My last question is where is the spot on my ballot to vote for “none of the above”? And give me a thumbs down if the truth hurts.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 48

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