Crowded race for Sonoma City Council includes only one incumbent

The eight-person field vying for three seats on the Sonoma City Council this fall includes only one incumbent, with both the current mayor and another councilman opting not to run for re-election.

The lone incumbent in the field is Councilman Ken Brown, who is seeking a fifth term on the council. He was first elected in 1998.

Missing from the ballot will be Mayor Tom Rouse and Councilman Steve Barbose, who decided not to run in part because of busy work schedules. The filing deadline was 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Rouse, who served this year as mayor, said it should not come as a surprise to most residents that he’s stepping down after his first term.

As vice president of sales for the Pom Wonderful juice brand and owner of a fruit brokerage company, he said he is often out of town on business. In the summer, he said, he travels about three days a week.

“I really had to juggle to make it work,” Rouse said. “I don’t think I have juggling in me for four more years.”

He said he hopes to get a ban on smoking in public areas passed in the city before he steps down from his post in December, when the new council members will be sworn in.

Barbose, a real estate attorney who has served two terms on the council, also represented the city in other capacities, serving on the boards of Sonoma Clean Power and the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency. Between his city duties and his law practice, he said he has little spare time to do anything else.

“At this point, it’s time for me to pull back and give others an opportunity to serve,” he said, adding that the election has attracted “strong” candidates.

Some of those in the field are familiar names.

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