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18 apply for Santa Rosa City Council vacancy

A total of 18 people stepped forward by Tuesday's deadline to be considered for the vacancy on the Santa Rosa City Council.

City Clerk Terri Griffin declined to name the applicants or allow review of their documents, citing the city's new policy to keep such information confidential until after the deadline.

Three submitted applications Friday and 15 marched into City Hall on Tuesday before the 5:30 p.m. deadline to apply for the vacant seat, Griffin said.

All the names and documents will be available for public review beginning this morning, she said. Redacted versions of the applications and answers to nine questions will be available online later in the day at the city clerk's website.

Sitting City Council members will vote to choose their new member.

Under existing policy, the city does not post online personal financial disclosures that must be submitted by elected officials. It will also redact other documents to remove things such as home addresses or signatures, Griffin said.

The number of applicants is more than some expected but fewer than the 23 who vied for the seat in 2007 after Mike Martini stepped down from the seven-member council.

Confirmed applicants include:

Planning Commissioners Caroline Bañuelos and Curtis Byrd, landscape architect Mike Cook, winery executive Hans Dippel, telecommunications software analyst David Rosas and restaurateur Don Taylor.

Board of Public Utilities member Robin Swinth also is rumored to be an applicant, as is George Steffensen, a former member of the Cotati-Rohnert Park School Board who works for the Operating Engineers 3 union.

Tanya Narath, executive director of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, pulled papers but opted not to apply, sources said.

The council plans to interview candidates Monday, though the large field of applicants means interviews could continue into Tuesday, Mayor Scott Bartley said.

City officials will meet today to discuss scheduling and hope to inform applicants of their interview times by the end of the day, Griffin said.

The interviews, which will be scheduled for 15 minutes per candidate but could last longer, will take place in public and will be broadcast on TV and over the Internet.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @citybeater.

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