Saturday, August 9, 2008

Walnut Creek's Regalia to step down after 21 years

Walnut Creek Mayor Gwen Regalia said late Friday she would not seek re-election to the City Council, thus stepping down after serving 21 years, including five stints as mayor.

The deadline for filing to run for Walnut Creek City Council, therefore, was extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

That was the case, too, in Moraga and Pleasant Hill, where incumbents also did not file candidacy papers by 5 p.m. Friday. First-term Moraga Mayor Lynda Deschambault has said she would not seek a second term; likewise, Walnut Creek Councilman Charlie Abrams and nine-year Pleasant Hill Councilwoman Sue Angeli also are not running for re-election for their respective seats.

Abrams has previously said he would leave the council after serving a dozen years.

Regalia is endorsing Transportation Commission Chairman Kish Rajan and incumbent Gary Skrel, who filed election papers Friday, as well as Planning Commissioner Bob Simmons, who filed his papers last week. Teacher Sol Henik, who ran for council two years ago and lost, has already filed to run again.

Walnut Creek Engineer Ralph Hoffmann and attorney Kristina Lawson pulled election papers, but have notified the city they do not intend to file them, City Clerk Patrice Olds said Friday. Graphic designer Cedric Cheng and Realtor Steve Reiser have also pulled papers; Reiser wrote in an email to the Times that he would not run. Cheng said he had not yet made a decision about whether to seek a council Advertisementseat.

In Lafayette, four people filed papers to run for three open council seats, giving the city its first contested council election since 2002.

All three Lafayette incumbents — Mike Anderson, Carl Anduri and Carol Federighi — are in the race. Also running is 25-year-old Gabriel Froymovich, who is new to city government. Froymovich said the current council had let spending increase too much and used too much time talking about new taxes.

Orinda council incumbents Steve Glazer and Victoria Smith have filed candidacy papers. So has Robert Larsen, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco. Larsen said concerns of conflicting interests among council members — particularly Glazer's — on matters dealing with the Wilder home development were reasons for his choosing to run. He said council members recused themselves from voting on issues too often, reducing their effectiveness as representatives of the people in Orinda.

In Martinez, two council seats — the city clerk and city treasurer — will be on the ballot. Incumbent council members Mark Ross and Janet Kennedy said they were running, but it was unclear whether they or any of several potential challengers — City Hall gadfly and perennial candidate Mike Alford, John Fuller, Brad Jackson and Mark Von Shoemaker — had filed by Friday night.

Charles Martin, a public accountant, is challenging incumbent City Treasurer Carolyn Robinson, who has held the position since 1999. Incumbent City Clerk Gary Hernandez has filed for re-election, and prospective challenger Rogelio Jose Pascual David has pulled papers but did not returned them by Friday evening.

Pleasant Hill Mayor John Hanecak, on the council since 2004, and nine-year Councilman David Durant are both running for re-election. Their challengers include Keith Hunt, a retired Pleasant Hill police officer and city code enforcement officer; Karen Mitchoff, vice chair of the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District board; and Bruce Weissenberger, director of operations for a mortgage company.

Six Moragans have pulled papers to run for that Town Council, including incumbents Rochelle Bird and Michael Metcalf.

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