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Sanders opts out of 3rd term as mayor in Sonoma

Sonoma Mayor Joanne Sanders said she will forgo a run for a third term in office to concentrate on her family and to help run the employment staffing firm she owns with her husband.

Sanders, 45, is one of Sonoma County's more well-known city officials thanks to her bids for higher office, including most recently for county supervisor.

Her exit from the political stage throws open the race for two open seats on Sonoma's city council.

Four people, including councilwoman Laurie Gallian, took out nomination papers after the filing period opened on Monday. Sanders' decision not to run also extends the filing deadline to Aug. 15.

Sanders presents herself as the council's most fiscally conservative and business-friendly member who most recently opposed the city drafting an ordinance to regulate chain stores.

She said she was spurred to run for office in 2004 after the city enacted a living wage ordinance.

"I felt my local government was getting involved in issues it shouldn't," she said Tuesday. "It shouldn't have a say in what a business pays its employees."

Sanders also joined the council's more liberal members in supporting Measure J, a sales tax measure that gained voter approval in June. The measure had the backing of the city's business groups.

Sanders said she is most proud that Sonoma has been able to maintain services without any layoffs or forcing employees to take unpaid time off.

She also was a champion of the city creating an historian position and the elimination of a property tax assessment district in one of the city's neighborhoods.

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