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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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My endorsements: One no, one yes, one not quite

Uploaded: Oct 2, 2011
After I emailed an acquaintance my guess on a local issue that turned out to be wrong, my correspondent shot back with "I thought you had the scoop on SR." I know a lot about San Ramon, but I don't get everything right all the time. For example, I didn't expect the election this year to be such a snoozer.

After their big victory defeating Measure W, I was expecting the No on W crowd to run a slate of candidates for the three open seats on the City Council. I expected Phil O'Loane to run. He ran ten years ago but dropped out for business reasons. I was sure two other candidates would run with Phil under the same banner. I thought there would be a lot of attack ads and mudslinging. Fortunately that prediction hasn't happened, at least not yet.

I was at meeting earlier this year where Carol Rowley and Scott Perkins said they planned to run for reelection and Bill Clarkson said he planned to run for Mayor. That's the line-up I expected, but everyone wondered what Abram Wilson would do about being termed out.

I was told by Dave Hudson at that time, in no uncertain terms, that Wilson was planning to run for State Assembly again in 2012. So I supposed that meant he would sit out the 2011 election and support the incumbents. Dave Hudson has had his eye on the Mayor's chair ever since he was appointed Mayor, somewhat controversially over Vice Mayor Ron Raab, in 2001.

Wilson lost the State Assembly election in 2010 because he avoided or didn't take seriously the issue of Herb Moniz's salary and pension. Wilson told me it was because his opponent outspent him. He said it was the most ever spent on an Assembly race in California. Wilson is still avoiding his own responsibility in losing, and he's still avoiding the term limits put on him as the elected Mayor.

Wilson justified his run for City Council by comparing himself to Marshall Kamena, who is running for City Council in Livermore after being termed out as Mayor. That's not exactly a great comparison. I'm not sure how popular Kamena is in Livermore, but I suspect people there are getting tired of him too.

Jimmy Durante used to sing a song, "Did you ever have the feeling you wanted to go but still have the feeling you wanted to stay?" That seems to be Wilson's theme song. After all if he won the Assembly seat last year, he'd be gone. If he wins the election this year but runs for State Assembly again next year, what does that say?

When I interviewed Abram about running for City Council, he said "This is no time for amateurs." I was tempted to ask him if he's admitting he's a professional politician now, but I didn't. I knew he meant this isn't the time to elect candidates without City Council experience.

Even so, I wouldn't call Bill Clarkson, with 12 years of experience on the School Board, an amateur. Phil O'Loane hasn't served on the City Council, but he has four years of experience on the Economic Development Advisory Committee and another four years on the Planning Commission. These are the right stepping stones to City Council. Phil has experience on how City government works and what the City Council does. He might be a newbie but he isn't an amateur.

So if I am not endorsing Abram Wilson, am I endorsing Scott and Phil? Well, yes and no. I'm endorsing Scott Perkins for City Council. I'm not endorsing Phil but I'm not opposing him either.

Some people I know plan to bullet vote. That means they plan to vote for only one of the three candidates. That's an option for those of you who feel only one of the three is worthy of your vote. I plan to vote for two candidates for City Council, but I feel only one of them is worthy of my endorsement and that's Scott Perkins.
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Posted by SAN RAMON RESIDENT, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

As a San Ramon resident I too am disappointed with our
limited candidate choices. Mayor Wilson is no longer
a relevant voice. Professional politicians have ruined
this country. Even in San Ramon we deserve leaders that
care more about the community than their own ego's.

Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Roz- your endorsement of Bill Clarkson was bold. Your punt on O'Loane and Wilson is not. I suspect, like broken records Harry Sachs and Eric Wallis, you can't get past the stinging defeat of Meaure W. You hold Phil's leadership of that effort against him. Too bad, as 71% of voters agreed with his point of view. He stood up to the status quo, which doesn't happen enough in our town. You all need to climb out of your Measure W sour grapes bucket and look forward. You missed an opportunity to endorse Phil, as I'm pretty sure there'd have to be ice in hell before Wilson gets your vote.

Posted by kevin, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I have only attended the City Council meetings since I became aware of Measure W last year. Since that time I have learned about our City Managers salary, planned 20,000 population increase in the 2030 plan, our deficits and non-payment of retirement contributions(but we still have a AAA credit rating so we can borrow some more), a planned land use change involving 300 archers of downtown(including the Toyota building)and that we don't have a recycling center because the City wants low income housing there(all the dumpsters just sit empty for the past 2-3 years, we just can't use them), etc.

If this is the "Professional" politicians track record it is time for a change. I don't think that those of us that voted against measure W needed 3 new candidates when those new candidates emerged this election. Both Phil O'Loane and Bill Clarkson are highly qualified, have unquestioned integrity and I am confident they will listen to the community and offer transparency.

I have also listened to Councilman Perkins. I believe he has begun to listen more closely to the community. He demonstrated his ability to question by not voting for the 2030 plan that was in measure W.

It seems that Perkins, Clarkson and O'Loane are all qualified and would work well together. That is why I am hopeful this election will be successful for all of us that love San Ramon.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Oct 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


The smugness of No on W is only exceeded by the lies and distortions spread by leaders of the campaign against Measure W.

If you want to call my opposition to lies and distortions spread at great expense by Save Mount Diablo and the Greenbelt Alliance sour grapes, so be it. I don't like deep-pocket special interest groups buying our City elections.

Phil O'Loane knew better. I agreed with Phil that the City was moving too fast by including the move of the UGB into Tassajara Valley as part of the General Plan. I agreed with Phil that moving the UGB should have been put into a separate measure.

I believe that Phil sold out to No on W, partly because he was bitter about not being reappointed to the Planning Commission and partly for a political platform to run for City Council. That's why I won't endorse Phil, but I might vote for him.

Why would I consider voting for Phil if I won't endorse him, because the Council needs new voices and Phil isn't a crazy radical. He won't turn the Council into another "Gang of Three," but I'm still a little concerned about the influence of the "Gang of No on W" on him. So it's a "wait and see."

I've been told Greg Carr has a big Phil O'Loane sign at his house. Carr is one of the leaders of CAVE: Citizens against almost everything (as Mary Lou Oliver calls them) that brought us the Gang of Three in 2001-02. I hope Phil's integrity has not been so compromised that he's a Caveman now.

Posted by Bob P., a resident of another community,
on Oct 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Roz, I happen to agree with your last comment. I worked along side Phil while on the Planning Commission, and I developed a great respect for his logical thinking and ability to get to the 'bottom line' on most issues. I did not see any evidence of any 'kool aid drinking' environmentalism while he was on the Commission. I actually felt he was a moderate voice with a lean toward approving growth that made sense. In fact, I don't recall any votes where we disagreed.

The issue I have with Phil is that his sudden switch of political philosophy seemed very convenient for a run for council. So my question is, was his voting record on the Planning Commission a compromise of his principles or is his run for council?

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