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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Is San Ramon ready for a "sea change?"

Uploaded: Jan 13, 2011 defines a sea change as a "marked change," or transformation. Some of the bloggers in the discussions here are predicting, or would like to see, a major change in San Ramon's city government.

Well at least two major changes will happen. Herb Moniz is retiring in March and a new City Manager will be hired to replace him, and Mayor H. Abram Wilson will be termed out of office this year.

The Charter Amendment that changed the Mayor's position from appointed to elected, limited it to four two-year terms. Wilson was elected in 2003 as the first elected Mayor of San Ramon, and he has been Mayor for the last eight years.

Former Mayor Curt Kinney opposed Wilson in 2003, but Wilson has run unopposed in the last three elections. San Ramon voters will probably have two or more Mayoral candidates to choose from in 2011 and San Ramon will definitely have a new Mayor in 2012.

Since Wilson cannot run again for Mayor that leaves the race wide open. Some residents speculated that Bill Clarkson was planning to run for Mayor when he didn't run for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District last year. Clarkson told me last year that after 12 years on the SRVUSD Board he felt he had accomplished what he set out to do, but he wouldn't say what his plans were about running for Mayor.

The news will be out soon that Clarkson is throwing his hat into the Mayoral ring. He gave me advanced notice at the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday that he would be making the announcement next week and gave me permission to post it early.

It is still too early to guess who else might run for Mayor. I've speculated that Phil O'Loane might, but Phil hasn't said anything about that to me. I asked Carol Rowley, who is up for reelection this November, and she said she will run for her Council seat but not for Mayor. Vice-Mayor Scott Perkins is also planning to run for his seat on the City Council and not for Mayor.

Without knowing who the opponents might be, I can't make any endorsements this early, but I am pleased that Bill Clarkson is running. Bill has always been one of my strongest supporters of the San Ramon Observer. He often emailed me complements about articles or commentaries I wrote on past issues. Of course he is well-known for his service on the SRVUSD and as a past President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Clarkson would not be the same Mayor as Abram Wilson. Bill would bring new or different ideas to the City Council. For example he and his wife have been active in animal rescue in the past, and Bill would like San Ramon to have our own local Animal Control in some form of public-private-nonprofit partnership.

The other position that we know will change is City Manager. Herb Moniz announced he would retire in March, so the hunt is on for a new City Manager. The State of the City address and recent financial audit report prove what a good job Moniz and other city staff have been doing in keeping our city fiscally sound. At this point we don't know who the new City Manager would be, but because San Ramon has such an excellent reputation as a great place to work, we should get a range of superior applicants for our City Council to choose from.

So will there be a sea change in San Ramon next year? Of course there will. It's up to us to make sure these changes are the right ones. Voters must be especially careful to keep the people who know what they are doing in office and not elect another "Gang of Three," who came close to bankrupting our city. We definitely cannot afford a financial tsunami like that again.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Although I have no idea if they plan to run, I'd vote for Phil O'Loane, Dugg Burr and Kathy Stewart. They would be a nice balance to Hudson and Livingstone. More of the same ilk like Clarkson is not what we need. We need a balance. Fresh views. An opposing viewpoint need not incite the chicken little cries about "gangs" of whatever. Oh... and I might just have to move if Hudson becomes mayor. At a minimum the doorways at city hall would need to be widened for his (even further) inflated ego. yikes, please no.

Posted by Gayle Larson, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 15, 2011 at 8:09 am

One of Bill's strengths is his ability to engage people one on one. There is a difference between announcing a public forum on a particular topic and actively seeking individual community members participation in the process. I have lived in San Ramon for 13 years and have not often felt that the city would want my two cents. Bill actively seeks out people of various backgrounds and invites them to participate. I am so pleased Bill is throwing his hat in the ring!

We are blessed to live in a place with citizens care deeply about their community. Our community has grown a fair bit in recent years. We need to insure we solidify into "one San Ramon."

Posted by Chris Phillips, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I believe Bill Clarkson would be a tremendous mayor. He did an excellent job for the community as a member of the school board, and San Ramon would benefit from Bill as mayor. Bill is a long time resident and cares deeply for the city, he is truly interested in making a difference, and he wants to ensure the city is run efficiently and effectively.

Posted by Jean Ohman, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

Great article Roz. You provide a great service to the community through your thoughtful commentary. And your comment about the Gang of Three, reminds us how our choice of leaders is so critically important. It will be very hard to lose Abram Wilson, but I agree that Bill Clarkson would make an excellent Mayor. He has vast experience on board and committees and has been a pillar of the community for years. His Life Time Achievement Award from the San Ramon Chamber is well deserved for all the service and dedication he has given to our community.

Bill played a major role in providing insight and advice to the San Ramon Historic Foundation, putting together a group of business and community leaders to help the foundation focus on accomplishing our goals. During the past year he pulled together another group of leaders to form the DVSR Rotary and his leadership has had a profound impact on the number of service projects this group has already accomplished.

Bill is the ultimate ?mover and shaker.? He knows how to pull people together, listen to a variety of ideas, and pull from the best.

Posted by Gary Larson, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Bill has demonstrated selfless dedication to our community for many years. He has an unique talent for listening to all points of view, and including everyone who wants to be included in the decision making process. He is a "uniter" with broad experience in many facets of our community, yet enough of an "outsider" to our city government to enable a fresh perspective...a great choice for mayor.

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