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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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Not doing what everyone expects

Uploaded: Jan 26, 2011
Part I – Where's the hat?

This column was supposed to be about Councilmember Dave Hudson not running for Mayor, and I will get to that in Part II, but this part is about me not going to the City Council Meeting this week. I've attended almost every City Council meeting over the last ten years, but this week if you look for my hat on the video, it won't be there.

I missed one meeting ten years ago and it turned out to be a humdinger (more on that in Part II). I tried to be at every meeting since October, 2000, but this time I thought, why do I have to go? I'm not covering the meetings anymore. Glenn Wohltmann is doing that. I'm not planning to make a speech in Public Comment, but even if I do, I can go later since Mayor Abram Wilson moved the time for Public Comment from the beginning to the end of the meeting.

I know my absence will disappoint City Clerk Pat Edwards, because the City Council Chambers will empty out after the parents of the essay contest winners and the Building Bridges volunteers leave, but I needed to take a break, a holiday, a vacation. I will be back in February, so look for the hat at the next City Council meeting.

Part II – Why isn't Dave Hudson running for Mayor?

Now what about Councilmember Dave Hudson? Why did he choose to back out of the election so easily? It's no secret that Hudson wanted to be Mayor for a long time. Hudson was elected to the City Council in 1997. The last time he was Mayor was 10 years ago.

Back then the position of Mayor in San Ramon was rotated among members of the City Council. Curt Kinney was Mayor and Ron Raab was Vice-Mayor. Traditionally the Vice-Mayor was appointed Mayor for the following year, but a series of events concerning Contra Costa County's move of the Urban Grown Boundary from Tassajara Valley resulted in Ron Raab storming out of the October 10, 2000 City Council Meeting, the one I missed. That meeting had long lasting repercussions that resulted in Abram Wilson becoming San Ramon's first elected Mayor.

After Raab walked off the dais in 2000, Kinney, Hudson, and Wilson voted to sue the County over the Urban Limit Line (Councilmember Nancy Tatarka abstained). The court threw the law suit out, but Raab attacked Wilson for voting with Hudson and Kinney. Whatever was said, Wilson soured on Raab and voted for Hudson for Mayor, even though it was Raab's turn as Vice-Mayor to be rotated into the Mayoral position.

After Raab was prevented from being Mayor, several of his supporters, mainly Victor Petersen and Jerry Cambra, circulated petitions to put an Elected Mayor initiative on the 2001 ballot. That measure passed by a wide margin, which resulted in Abram Wilson running for and winning the position in 2003.

Hudson was appointed Vice-Mayor in 2003, but since the Mayor would be elected from then on, being Vice-Mayor wasn't an automatic step to being Mayor anymore. Hudson waited until Abram Wilson termed out as Mayor to run for the job.

When Bill Clarkson told Hudson he was planning to run for Mayor, Hudson told Clarkson not to run. Everyone knew Hudson was planning to run this year.

Hudson worked with, or for, Bill Clarkson, as a broker in Clarkson's ERA realty business. I asked Hudson about that. Hudson didn't criticize Bill directly, but he criticized the San Ramon Valley Unified School District's lack of foresight in planning enough schools for Dougherty Valley. He said the temporary elementary school they are planning now is too little too late.

Still I was surprised that Hudson backed off for Councilmember Carol Rowley when he would not for Bill Clarkson.

Hudson told me in a phone conversation on January 20th that he wouldn't run for Mayor against Carol Rowley or Byron Athan. "These are two special people. She's just like Byron Athan."

Byron Athan, who had been City Attorney, was elected to the City Council in 1995. By was appointed Vice-Mayor in late 1996 and as Mayor in 1997 to serve in 1998. Hudson was elected to the City Council in November 1997. He wasn't in the running for Mayor in 1998, so I don't get the comparison.

Hudson went on to say, "Carol is absolutely perfect for San Ramon at this time. I feel like I'm in the right place at the right time. I can keep doing what I'm doing and we've got somebody who can keep moving the ship forward."

Well the ship will have to navigate around left over Measure W icebergs and likely a No on Measure W candidate. Whoever he or she might be could sail right between Carol and Bill into the Mayor's seat.
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Posted by resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Yes, Byron Athan was a special person. No, Rowley is not in the same universe as Byron. Byron had a backbone.

Rowley will give us what we had under Wilson. There's be no change -- and we need change.

Posted by MLOliver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Carol Rowley will do a wonderful job as Mayor of San Ramon. the accusation that she has no backbone comes from an anonymous someone who must have never worked with her.

Like Roz, I fear that a single issue candidate with blinders on will slip up through the middle between two qualified people who have paid their dues through years of volunteer community service representing their constituency.

I wish Bill would reconsider and run for Council instead of Mayor. He has served well, but the differences between the city and the school district are many, and continuity will be required when a new City manager is hired.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


I believe you served on the City Council with By. Were you Mayor when he was Vice Mayor, or was that Pat Boom?


Posted by MLOliver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm


If memory serves me correctly, I chose not to run for re-election in 1995, and I think By was elected that year.


Posted by dhudson, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Your memory is correct Mary Lou. Byron said he would support me if I ran in '95. When he said he wanted to retire and run for office if I didn't run, I changed direction and chose to support him. Many of us owe Byron for his years of mentoring. Serving with him on the council two years later was more continuing education.

Anyone who thinks Carol Rowley doesn't have a backbone, doesn't know Carol Rowley. I remember the first time I crossed her just like I remember the first time I crossed Mary Lou Oliver. The room seems a lot warmer very quickly. I won't make that mistake again.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


That explains it. You didn't run against By for City Council in '95 for the seat ML left open. Who else ran that year? I didn't move here until '97, so I don't know all of the history prior to that.


Posted by MLOliver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Man, Roz. You are taxing my brain cells. IIRC, Byron and Ron Rabb, were elected, and Hermann Welm was re-elected. The other members of the council were Pat Boom and Curt Kinney. Dave was elected in '97 and Curt K. was re-elected. I think somewhere along that time I was chairing the Charter Commission. Byron was providing the expertise for the final document. Boy, the years seem to run together.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 30, 2011 at 2:46 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


Thanks, that catches me up. I remember looking at old minutes from the '90's, but they are not online anymore. I told Pat Edwards they should be put back. It helps to know who did what back when.


Posted by Bob P., a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Anyone who insinuates that Carol has no backbone needs to look again. While Carol is a kind and gentle lady, she possesses a passion that can turn to fire when lit. I have worked with Carol in many capacities, and I will confess that even as an adult I was never quite comfortable visiting the principals office when Carol was in it.

I like MLO would have rather seen Bill run for Council versus Mayor. It seems to me that again some planning was missed.

Posted by RandyL, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Carol's a nice lady, but I've never heard any of our current council take an opposing view to another on anything. The record shows they've all voted together on EVERYTHING for years. That includes Measure W which was an initiative developed & unanimously supported by this council (including Carol) and was about as out of touch with voters as you can get. Current council members need a new hobby. New blood please.

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