The eight-way race for Santa Rosa City Council took a surprise turn Monday when two candidates most political observers expected to be rivals endorsed each other and called for a return to political collaboration in the city.
Santa Rosa voters will get to answer several questions this fall about how they want their city run, but whether to adjust the funding levels for police, fire and gang-prevention services won’t be one of them.
The Santa Rosa City Council approved a Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant on Mendocino Avenue Tuesday, dismissing the planning commission’s concerns about the impacts a drive-thru might have on the neighborhood. The council voted 5-2 to uphold the Atlanta-based company’s appeal of last month’s decision by the Planning Commission to deny a permit for a 4,400-square-foot restaurant on the site of a vacant former Burger King.
The city of Santa Rosa is one of five organizations bidding on a $1 million contract to run the after-school programs of the city’s largest school district. But some council members have questioned whether the city should be expanding its programs for low-income kids and competing against nonprofit organizations that offer similar services.
Two relative newcomers to Santa Rosa’s political scene have announced plans to run for city council next November. Attorney Erin Carlstrom, 28, and neighborhood activist Julie Combs, 55, have filed campaign finance paperwork and will host fund-raisers early next month. Meanwhile, incumbent Marsha Vas Dupre says she’s finished with city politics. Four of the seven council seats are on the ballot in November 2012.
Spring Lake Village won approval for a major expansion of its senior community in east Santa Rosa Tuesday. The Santa Rosa City Council voted 6-1 to approve the project and overturn the September denial of the proposal by the Planning Commission.
Dozens of Rincon Valley residents turned out Tuesday to urge the Santa Rosa City Council not to allow a convenience store selling beer and wine to operate 24 hours in their neighborhood. The council ultimately agreed to scale back the convenience store hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., to the relief of many residents but the disappointment of others who wanted the Montecito Marketplace project blocked entirely.
People hoping to address the Santa Rosa City Council on issues not covered by the meeting agenda will continue to wait until the end of the meetings. Mayor Ernesto Olivares rejected Councilwoman Marsha Vas Dupre’s proposal to move the public comments to a more convenient time for the public. “I think past mayors have decided wisely to move it to the end,” he said.
The committee charged with recommending changes to how Santa Rosa’s government operates will not be expanded to increase its diversity. A majority of City Council members on Tuesday said they were comfortable with their appointments and didn’t want to tinker with the makeup of the 21-member body just two days before its first meeting. “I don’t see any need for change,” Vice Mayor Jake Ours said.