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Names of Santa Rosa City Council applicants made public

Santa Rosa on Wednesday revealed the names of a diverse group of residents hoping to be appointed to the vacant seat on the Santa Rosa City Council.

The 17 people seeking to fill the last two years of Susan Gorin's term include working professionals and retirees, the financially secure and those struggling to find work.

Some seem to be taking the process very seriously, submitting long resumes and thoughtful, articulate answers to questions. Others cracked jokes or offered only two-word answers.

Most are from the east side of town, but several residents of the underrepresented west side of the city said they hoped their selection could resolve that imbalance.

The applicants see a wide range of issues facing the city, including balancing the budget, overhauling pensions, improving pedestrian safety, fighting homelessness and restoring a spirit of collaboration to the polarized City Council.

And while many are well known for their civic involvement or previous political campaigns, others are relative unknowns with little public service to their names.

The council plans to begin interviewing candidates at 2 p.m. Monday. It could make a decision that evening or the following day before its regular council meeting.

Four applicants are hoping the council will do what voters declined to in the 2012 election.

Don Taylor, 53, owns two Omelette Express restaurants. He has run for council unsuccessfully four times, and came in fifth in November.

Caroline Bañuelos, 53, is a former homeless services provider and current grade-school tutor. She is a member of the Planning Commission and came in sixth place in November, just 17 votes behind Taylor.

Mike Cook, 33, is co-owner of a Santa Rosa landscape architecture firm. The former member of the city's Design Review Board dropped out of the last council race. His name remained on the ballot, however, and he was the seventh-highest vote getter.

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