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How Gorin, Sawyer voted on key Santa Rosa issues

John Sawyer and Susan Gorin have been on opposite sides of some contentious votes on the Santa Rosa City Council over the past few years.

Here are five such votes and how the candidates explained them at the time.

City Manager

When Jeff Kolin left Santa Rosa to become city manager of Beverly Hills in early 2010, the searches for his temporary and permanent replacements further polarized the ideologically divided council.

Gorin, then mayor, and her allies on the council passed over deputy city manager Greg Scoles for the post of interim city manager, instead tapping former advanced planning director Wayne Goldberg.

Sawyer was livid, blasting Gorin for her “lack of leadership” and calling the process an “unnecessary, embarrassing, destructive, destabilizing and outrageous exercise.”

Later that year, as the council began considering permanent city manager applicants, Sawyer and allies Jane Bender and Ernesto Olivares pushed for the decision to be put off until after the November election. They argued that the pool of candidates wasn't good enough, in part because of the decision to pass over Scoles.

The three walked out of some closed-session meetings on the subject and boycotted others.

On July 21, on a 4-3 vote, the council hired the longtime city manager of Clovis, Kathy Millison, with Gorin voting in favor, and Sawyer against.

Bicycle Bridge

In the 2010 election, the balance of power swung back to candidates supported by the city's business and development interests.

Sawyer quickly took aim at what some considered an expensive pet project of the bicycling community, a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Highway 101 estimated to cost between $13 million and $20 million.

After the election but before the new council members took office, Sawyer and Gorin voted to spend $100,000 to further study the project. But Sawyer did so only as a tactical move to preserve his right to seek reconsideration of the issue at the council's next meeting, when once again he would be in the majority.

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