Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Moraga mayor will not seek re-election

Moraga Mayor Lynda Deschambault will not seek re-election to the Town Council this fall because she wants to spend her time on her nonprofit environmental work.

First elected in 2004, the Green Party member championed open government and open space issues while on the council. She is a vocal supporter of the Moraga Open Space Ordinance of 2008, an initiative on the November ballot that would restrict development on wide swaths of open Moraga land.

Fellow council members Michael Metcalf and Rochelle Bird will seek re-election, they said Monday, and residents Howard Harpham and Brad Kvederis say they also plan to run. Kvederis has a Web site opposing additional development in the town without the approval of a Inside Politics Blog

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More from INSIDE POLITICSballot initiative. Harpham did not return a call for comment Monday afternoon.

"It was not an easy decision," Deschambault said. "I had a hard time letting it go ... I've given it my good shot; I've actually enjoyed it and loved it and I think it's time to move on."

She is setting up a nonprofit organization to do climate change outreach and education in Contra Costa County.

In recent months Deschambault has been at the center of a fire storm about whether mayors should edit town staff reports, and her actions and credentials have been attacked in a series of e-mails circulated in town by former Town Council candidate Lee Bren.

"It was those e-mails that made me really want to run and stay in there," Deschambault said. Advertisement"It just showed the divide was still there."

One of her goals on the council was to make it more open and increase resident involvement by eliminating closed meetings, she said. The increased debate about town politics shows she has been successful, she said.

"Lynda is a very strong advocate for things that are important to her," Councilwoman Bird said. Bird and Deschambault have disagreed on open space issues and sparred over the mayor's role in the creation of staff reports.

"We both view the town as a very special place that we want to preserve," Bird said.

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