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 Ba?elos, 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.
Hans Dippel, 52, is a sales and marketing executive with a Cotati-based wine industry services firm. Dippel came in eighth in the November election. He also ran in 2008.
Other candidates have a wide range of professional experience and varying degrees of civic involvement.
Curtis Byrd, 57, is a community relations specialist for Blood Centers of the Pacific. He is also a planning commissioner and divinity student.
David Rosas, 50, is a telecommunications software analyst. He is a community activist from the city's southwest neighborhood who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2008.
Robin Swinth, 45, is a former Hewlett-Packard engineer. She is a member of the city's Board of Public Utilities.
George Steffensen, 55, is a retired union official. He is a former member of the Cotati-Rohnert Park School Board.
Roy Sprague, 69, is a retired firefighter. He was a battalion chief for Cal Fire in Glen Ellen for 17 years.
Gary Saal, 61, owns an intellectual property licensing firm. He has served as a trustee of the Mark West Unified School District board and hopes to bring a minor league baseball team to the city.
Zachary Rounds, 34, is a water-quality regulator with the state Department of Public Health. He is the youngest applicant for the vacancy.
Jeffrey Owen, 48, works at Exchange Bank in the Special Assets Department. He serves as a commissioner on the county's Open Space District.
Karen Lovvorn, 75, is a retired nurse and diabetes educator. She lives in a mobile home park on the city's west side and wants to represent that community.
If you go:
“Appalachian Cinderella” performances are at 1 p.m. April 14 and 15 at the Sebastiani Theatre, 476 First St. E., Sonoma. Tickets are available at BrownPaperTickets.com or by clicking here. For more information, visit sonomaconservatoryofdance.org.