Healdsburg has a problem that many towns would envy — a growing number of special events and festivities that is causing a reassessment of whether to limit the number that can be held, or impose restrictions to handle traffic and parking overflow.
Continuing complaints about the confusing and ‘counterintuitive’ one-way traffic direction on Foss Creek Circle prompted the Healdsburg City Council on Monday to reconsider reverting back to a two-way street, or even reversing the one-way direction.
Healdsburg Mayor Gary Plass has raised more than $10,000 in his bid for re-election, outpacing the five other candidates combined in the City Council race, most of whom planned to collect and spend less than $1,000. To Plass, the contributions are a way to pay for the hefty cost of mailing his campaign fliers to voters, something his rivals are not doing.
If there’s a consensus in the Healdsburg City Council race, it’s that more needs to be done to rein in the cost of employee pensions. The two incumbents seeking re-election, Tom Chambers and Gary Plass, say they’ve made inroads by instituting less generous retirement packages for new employees and getting current workers to pay more toward their pension programs. But the incumbents bristle at criticism from challengers who say the savings that comes from implementing a second tier of cheaper pensions for future employees will take years to realize, and do little to address the shortfall for when current employees retire.
Four people have taken out papers to run for Healdsburg City Council, including incumbents Gary Plass and Tom Chambers. Two others who plan to be on the Nov. 6 ballot are Shaun McCaffery, a mechanical engineer, and Vernon Simmons, a former Healdsburg planning commissioner. Councilman Steve Babb has decided not to seek re-election. A retired Healdsburg fire captain, he was elected two years ago to fill the unexpired term of Mike McGuire, who was elected county supervisor.
The top spenders in Healdsburg’s City Council race went through virtually the same amount of money, but it helped assure election for only one of them. The top spender, engineer Shaun McCaffery, spent $14,543 in his unsuccessful campaign for a two-year seat on the council. See how much the others plunked down.
While there are still some mail ballots to be counted, retired fire captain Steve Babb is optimistic that he will eke out a win for the third City Council seat in Healdsburg. “Obviously, this is a great example of every vote counts,” he said.
Mayor Jim Wood and former police chief Susan Jones were elected to the Healdsburg City Council on Tuesday. But two candidates were only 61 votes apart in the race for a third seat: Stephen Babb and Loretta Strong.