Santa Rosa mayor not running for re-election

  • Mayor Scott Bartley talks about the annexation of Roseland at a Sonoma County Latino Leaders Los Cien luncheon in January. Bartley has announced he will not be running for re-election at the end of his term. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa Mayor Scott Bartley further shook up an already wide-open City Council race Wednesday by announcing he will not run for re-election this fall.

Bartley, 57, said he will not seek a second council term because he needs to focus on running his Larkfield-based architecture firm, Hall & Bartley.

“The bottom line is the economy is turning and my business needs me,” Bartley said.

The firm has received some significant new clients recently and it became clear that a re-election campaign would make it harder for him to serve those clients effectively, he said.

“My profession is cyclical, and we’re in an upswing right now,” Bartley said. “The civic duty is fun. I enjoy it, but it’s not my career. Architecture is my career.”

His decision means none of the three incumbents with seats up for grabs on Nov. 4 will try to retain them. Vice Mayor Robin Swinth — appointed last year to fill Susan Gorin’s vacant seat — and Councilman Jake Ours previously announced they would not run again.

The development means the field of announced candidates drops to six: Planning Commissioner Curtis Byrd; former Press Democrat columnist Chris Coursey; Planning Commissioner Ashle Crocker; former Councilman Lee Pierce; former Councilman John Sawyer; and former Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm.

Incumbents have until 5 p.m. Friday to file paperwork to qualify for the ballot. The filing deadline will now be extended until Wednesday, Aug. 13, for non-incumbents.

Though he had previously said he was running, the fact that Bartley had yet to begin the filing process so close to the deadline raised suspicions among council watchers that he might not. His noncommittal response to the question last week cast further doubt on his future plans.

Bartley said he wanted to wait until after the council hired a new city manager to announce his decision. The council on Tuesday appointed Sean McGlynn, a deputy city manager from El Paso, Texas, as the new city manager. He begins work Sept. 13.

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