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Late Sebastopol Councilman Michael Kyes’ widow seeks to fill his seat


Two Sebastopol residents are in the running to fill the City Council vacancy created by the death of former Mayor and City Councilman Michael Kyes, including his widow, Una Glass, who is a well-known conservationist and executive director of Coastwalk California.

Glass, a one-time aide to former Sonoma County Supervisor Mike Reilly, will vie with craftsman and custom bootmaker Michael Anthony Carnacchi for the privilege of completing Kyes’ council term, which ends in November.

Michael Kyes (PD FILE, 2010)

Michael Kyes (PD FILE, 2010)

But in a nod to Glass’ qualifications and personal connection to the post, Carnacchi, secretary of the Sebastopol Downtown Association, said he retained the right to withdraw his name once he had presented some of his ideas to the City Council during scheduled interviews Thursday.

“The city informed me that Una is running, and I think it’s a beautiful thing that she should sit in Michael’s seat,” Carnacchi said.

Kyes was elected to the council in 2010 and served as Sebastopol’s mayor last year. He died May 25 from an aortic aneurysm, the same type of medical emergency he survived in 2011, Glass said.

The deadline for applications for his vacant post passed Thursday, leading to the public release of the applicants’ names. The City Council is holding interviews Thursday, June 19, and will make a selection the same day.

Two other applicants for the job already have withdrawn, including city Planning Commissioner Russ Pinto, a land conservation consultant and one-time director of conservation at Save the Redwoods League, and Jonathan Greenberg, a writer and community activist who is a fixture at city council meetings.

Greenberg, who expects next month to launch a formal council election run, said he backed out of the selection process for the vacant position Friday when he learned Glass had put in her name.

Pinto did the same thing Thursday afternoon.

“Una’s great,” Pinto said. “Knowing her as I do, she would be fabulous.”

“If I’d known,” said Greenberg, “I wouldn’t have applied.”

Carnacchi, who has maintained a high-end boot and shoemaking shop called the Apple Cobbler for 20 years, said he is interested in the financial health of the city and its downtown business core, as well as streamlining traffic and exploring new municipal revenue sources.

He said he is eager, in particular, to share some ideas he has for resolving city’s traffic headaches but was not prepared to discuss them Friday.

Glass, 61, said her interest in the council post reflects both her desire to honor her husband’s service and her conviction that she can continue his work in a relatively seamless manner.

Kyes, who remained medically vulnerable after his near death in 2011, had even encouraged his wife of 34 years to apply for his post should he ever be unable to complete it, she said.

But Glass said she is abundantly qualified to join the five-member council, having remained abreast of city policies and decisions through her husband and one-time business partner.

Long politically active, Glass has held a post on the city’s former Community Development Agency and served on the board of Sonoma County Conservation Action, the county’s largest environmental organization, claiming about 5,000 member households. She also was an aide for five years to former Fifth District Supervisor Mike Reilly.

Glass said she has frequent interaction with local government staffers and elected officials around the state through the job she’s held for six years with Coastwalk California, which is dedicated, in part, to completion of the California Coastal Trail.

She and Kyes also ran MicroPlus Software, a high-end accounting and digital imaging software company, together for many years, providing her the same appreciation for long-range financial planning that her husband brought to the city council, she said.

“Sebastopol has all these very progressive and, I think, forward thinking policies and ideas and plans, but if you don’t have the money, and you don’t plan on how you can afford and implement those things, it’s all for naught,” Glass said.

“I feel that I have the knowledge, and can provide continuity at a time that is important for our city,” she said. “And if the council does appoint me, that would be a great honor, and I would try to put the same kind of hard work and integrity into the job as my husband did.”

(You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com.)

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