After more than 15 years of serving his city in a variety of capacities, San Ramon City Councilman Phil O'Loane has announced that he will not be seeking re-election to a third term.
First elected to the City Council in 2011, O'Loane said that while he feels it's time to step back from the council, he has no intention of removing himself from public service and still plans to advocate for San Ramon's residents and natural scenic resources.
"I feel like nine years is a good stretch. I accomplished a lot of things I set out to do," O'Loane told DanvilleSanRamon.com on Tuesday. "I intend to still be involved with open space work, but I think we've accomplished a lot and it's probably a good time to pass the torch, so to speak."
First elected to the San Ramon City Council in November 2011, O'Loane served an extended five-year term -- because of a change in the city's election cycle from odd to even years -- and then won re-election to a second term in November 2016.
According to city officials, he was also a member of the San Ramon Economic Development Advisory Committee starting in 2004 and was appointed to the San Ramon Planning Commission in 2006, serving as chairman in 2010.
O'Loane listed some of his proudest accomplishments while in office as improving the city's pension situation, developing a collaborative partnership with East Bay Parks, acquiring more than $3 million for open space funding and maintaining San Ramon's reputation as one of the safest communities in California. He added that he believes the city has done a good job in managing its growth and development.
As an advocate for environmental conservation, O'Loane said he hopes the preservation of San Ramon's open space will continue to be a priority for the council, further advising that a level of "cooperation and sophistication" is needed to protect San Ramon's environment.
Giving some parting words to the council and wider community, O'Loane said he cherished the friendships he made during his time in office and warned future civic leaders of partisan divides that could arise from the recent installation of district-based voting for elections.
"You don't realize when you are getting into this that you really will develop friendships and you get to know people on a different level," he said. "It's something you don't get to talk about in public, you get to know people on a level that I didn't really expect. Which has been a real nice aspect."
"I think one of the things that is definitely going to be a challenge on an ongoing basis is how the district elections impact things," he added. "I hope that people who get elected from a district understand that they are representing the entire city (not just their district). And that's a challenge that I didn't really have to face, but it's an important consideration."
Speaking directly to his future replacement, O'Loane recommended that they can best serve the city if they "listen to people, be fair, have some deep seated principles and understand why you're in office."
O'Loane was co-chair of the No on Measure W campaign in 2010, which led to him being awarded a Mountain Star award by local environmental conservation group Save Mount Diablo and being recognized as a Bay Area climate leader by the Green Belt Alliance.
A passionate advocate for San Ramon's natural resources, he led the effort to establish an Open Space Advisory Committee reporting directly to the council and has secured significant funding for open space preservation, a mission he says he will continue to support after stepping away from the council.
He also chairs the council's Finance Committee, previously served on its Policy Committee, is a liaison to a number of city committees and serves on Save Mount Diablo’s Lands Committee. All of this in addition to coaching his daughters’ sports teams.
The decision to not run for re-election leaves O'Loane's District 3 seat -- which primarily encompasses a large portion of the Dougherty Valley along Bollinger Canyon Road -- wide open for potential challengers in the Nov. 3 election.
The main deadline to file candidacy nomination papers for all local elections is this Friday. With O'Loane's decision to opt out, the deadline for City Council District 3 would extend by five days to Aug. 12 for new challengers to apply, according to city clerk Christina Franco.