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No challengers yet for 3 Rohnert Park incumbents

The three Rohnert Park council members up for re-election this year have taken out nomination papers, indicating their intent to run for another term.

No opponents have yet emerged to challenge Mayor Jake Mackenzie, Councilwoman Gina Belforte and Councilman Joe Callinan in their bids for four more years in office.

Prospective candidates have until Aug. 15 to file nomination forms with 20 signatures.

Stewart Cilley, a former candidate for Congress who also took out papers for the council race, has since decided not to run.

"I've done some research ... and I think the incumbents are going to prevail and they're doing a good job," said Cilley, an accountant who ran for the newly created 5th District seat last year.

The three incumbents have helped steer Rohnert Park through a fiscal trough in which the city's deficit hit $10 million.

When Belforte and Callinan upset two sitting council members to join Mackenzie at the dais in 2008, the city faced a general fund deficit approaching $8 million and there were whispers that it should perhaps seek bankruptcy.

Today, the budget was balanced going into this fiscal year and has been pared nearly 40 percent, to $22 million since 2008. The council approved employee contracts including $3.3 million in concessions and also cut 34 city positions.

"It seems like we're finally turning the city back around and I want to make sure it stays that way," said Callinan.

The city's unfunded liabilities in pension and retiree medical plans are priorities, he said.


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