All three Sebastopol City Council members whose terms are coming to a close will seek election this fall, including Una Glass, who was appointed in June to fill the post left vacant by her husband’s death.
A fourth candidate, independent investigative reporter and regular council watcher Jonathan Greenberg, also has filed to run in the Nov. 4 race for three available council posts.
The other incumbents running are attorney/mediator Sarah Glade Gurney and architect Patrick Slayter, the current vice mayor.
The deadline to file for election this fall was Friday.
Glass, the executive director of Coastwalk California, is finishing out the term of former mayor and Councilman Michael Kyes, who died from an aortic aneurysm in Mayw, leaving five months remaining on his first four-year term in office. But Glass, once an aide to former Sonoma County supervisor Mike Reilly, has long been involved in politics and said she may have run for City Council earlier had she not had a daughter, now in college, at home.
Appointed to her current post June 19, she said her time on the council thus far has proved “a positive experience” that suggests she and her colleagues can contribute to the community in a productive manner.
“It feels like we’re talking things over to figure out the best way to approach a problem, and that’s often times an unusual occurrence in the public sphere,” Glass said. “A lot of times it’s super acrimonious or else it’s just people who don’t do their homework and just rubber stamp whatever staff does. And it just doesn’t feel like either of those things. It just feels like people are trying to do a good job.”
Greenberg, a regular commenter at council meetings, said he’s interested in engaging more of the community in city governance and fomenting “robust debate about how the taxpayers’ money is spent.”
Active in ongoing efforts to restore public library hours, he said that issue and the closure of Palm Drive Hospital have highlighted “a need for what I call leadership in the public interest.”
Greenberg said his aim is to unseat Slayter, who he claims is too willing to follow the recommendations of the city planning staff without challenge and otherwise embraces positions Greenberg does not share.
But Slayter, a former planning commissioner completing his first four-year council term, said his knowledge of building and site design gives him a certain level of expertise that is useful in the post, particularly where planning issues are concerned. As one of the council’s senior members, with Gurney, he said he’s ahead of the learning curve that someone new to the job would face and has set a record of public service that includes leadership on issues like solar panel building requirements and efforts to support alternate forms of transportation.
Gurney, appointed to a vacant council seat in 2004, has been elected to two terms in office and served three years as mayor. She is the city’s delegate to the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and Regional Climate Protection Authority, and is an alternate to the California Coastal Commission for the North Central Coast.
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.