Friday, August 8, 2008

Council races to be contested across Lamorinda

For the first time in years, all three Lamorinda cities appear likely to host City Council elections in November.

In Orinda, two of the five City Council seats are up for grabs. The two incumbents, Steve Glazer and Victoria Smith, will run again. A third candidate, Robert Larsen, has pulled papers from the city clerk's office but as of Wednesday was unsure if he would file by today's 5 p.m. deadline.

In Lafayette, all three incumbents — Mike Anderson, Carl Anduri and Carol Federighi — plan to run again. One other candidate has also filed papers — Gabriel Froymovich, a consultant and winemaker whose Web site says he wants to avoid new taxes and to limit growth downtown.

In Moraga, six residents have pulled papers to run, including incumbents Rochelle Bird and Michael Metcalf. That town's filing deadline is Wednesday, because Mayor Lynda Deschambault is not running again.


Larsen plans to file papers by today's deadline, mostly because he was concerned that no other residents had stepped up to run.

"I think in a democracy you should have a choice, and there's no choice if two incumbents are running uncontested," Larsen said. "I'm not looking forward to being a sacrificial lamb, but at times it takes getting the citizens involved."

Larsen, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco, is also concerned about potential conflicts of interest Advertisementamongst council members, particularly Glazer, on matters dealing with the Wilder home development in the Gateway Valley area.

Glazer admitted to recusing himself, particularly on matters concerning the Wilder development, as he has had business interests with the development group. Glazer, however, said he and other council members practically "bend over backwards" to keep the council running ethically.

Glazer names increasing the budget for city infrastructure as one of his accomplishments on the council. He hopes a continued presences on the council will allow him to expand efforts on fixing roads. That's Orinda's biggest issue, he said.

Smith could not be reached for comment.

Glazer and Smith beat out two incumbents, former Mayor Joyce Hawkins and Councilman Gregg Wheatland, with 40 and 30 percent of the vote in 2004.


This fall will be Lafayette's first contested City Council election since 2002, and two of the incumbents, Anderson and Anduri, have never won a contested City Council election here.

Anduri was first elected in 2002, when he ran unopposed for a two-year seat opened up by a resignation. Anderson joined the council in 2004, when he, Anduri and Federighi ran unopposed. Federighi was first elected in 1999, when she was the top vote-getter in a four-way election for three seats.

All but Anderson have formally filed their papers; Anderson was scheduled to do so Thursday afternoon. No one else had pulled papers to begin the nominating process at press time.

Froymovich is currently on a three-week trip to Israel, according to his campaign Web site. He did not respond to phone or e-mail messages this week.

The City Council has let spending increase too much, he writes on his Web site, and spends too much time talking about new taxes. He also condemns the focus on creating a transit village downtown, saying he did not move to Lafayette to live in a high-population area.

He has no experience in government aside from a student judicial board at his college.

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