In an interesting political year for America at the executive level the 24/680 is also seeing a change in the face of local government as some veteran volunteer/leaders say “no mas” and make way for fresh faces.
While our area has thus far managed to avoid the histrionic outbursts that have marked this political year, it is apparent change is afoot and it remains to be seen which direction any elected leadership may take.
In our county seat, five residents have joined incumbent Mark Ross in his bid for one of two available seats on the Martinez City Council. Tacticians have opined that the large field of candidates was likely triggered by council member Janet Kennedy’s decision not to seek re-election – with her current term expiring in November.
Joining Ross in the sprint for the two open chairs will be Dylan Radke, currently chair of the city’s Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission; Arseno “Chaz” Escudero, a self-described analyst/reservist/educator; Anamaria Avila Farias, a senior budget manager; and Mike Alford.
City clerk Gary Hernandez is running unopposed for another four-year term while treasurer Carolyn Robinson has been challenged by Charles Martin.
In Walnut Creek, four candidates are running for three available council seats, with aspirant Kevin Wilk joining a field of incumbents including Loella Haskew, Bob Simmons, and Justin Wedel.
In Lafayette, three of the five current sitting council members will have their terms expire in November – Mayor Mark Mitchell, vice mayor Mike Anderson and Traci Reilly – with Reilly saying she won’t be running again. Aspirant Cameron Burks, a former diplomat and current deputy chief of security at Chevron, joins Anderson and Mitchell in their bid for a council seat.
There’s change in the wind for the “Mo” in Lamorinda, with veteran Moraga council
member Mike Metcalf opting to step aside this election year. Metcalf, known for his direct “call it as he sees ’em” demeanor, has served on the council for 12 years – with six years of volunteer service on the town’s planning commission prior to that. Colleague Phil Arth will also be giving up his seat.
That makes three seats available in Moraga and incumbent Roger Wykle has announced he will be running for one of them, with aspirants Graig Crossley, a combat-wounded former U.S. Marine, educator, and past council member; Parks and Recreation Commission chair Jeanette Fritzky, and current planning commission member Kymberleigh Korpus, who questioned her commission’s standards and procedures in an open letter earlier in the year, rounding out the field.
Another veteran of Lamorinda politics, Orinda Mayor Victoria Smith, also announced she would not be seeking reelection this year, leaving an incumbent and three challengers campaigning for two open seats on the Orinda City Council.
Darlene Gee has announced her intent to run again, with former radiologist Bruce R. London; former journalist and lawyer Inga Miller, and entrepreneur Linda Delehunt rounding out the field in Orinda.
While races appear to be shaping up in various local elections the elections process took a more expedient route in Danville – with the town canceling its November election in favor of appointing the three candidates nominated to fill its three available seats – a move the town reports will save it an estimated $40,300.
Three candidates turned in papers – incumbents Newell Arnerich and Renee Morgan and newcomer Lisa Blackwell.
All three were appointed to four-year terms and will be sworn in on Dec. 6.