Leaders wanted in Petaluma
Published: Monday, November 26, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 11:47 a.m.
Most of the ballots had yet to be counted in the recent race for three seats on the city council when Mayor David Glass, predictably, went on the offensive. Speaking on KRCB Channel 22 on election night and obviously unhappy that early returns showed his chosen slate of candidates facing defeat, Glass pugnaciously took a jab at the three people voters preferred, calling them the “strong developer faction” who, he falsely implied, are inclined to want to pave over paradise.
“What I fear out of this council make-up going forward” Glass blustered, “is that we’ve turned our back on the environment at the very time we’re seeing Hurricane Sandy. Where do we begin, one community at a time, to actually address this issue of greenhouse gas emissions and traffic impacts?”
The next morning, Glass told a newspaper reporter that the local electorate apparently wasn’t thinking straight by voting for the same three winning candidates who were endorsed by the Petaluma police and firefighters unions.
“I get concerned when voters choose candidates they think are working for public services but they are actually voting to keep powerful unions’ pensions in place,” he said.
So, not only were voters blindly putting people in charge who will decimate the environment, they will also block local pension reform. How could voters be that stupid?
Sadly, and ironically, Glass’ statements, which are disturbingly similar to those he uttered when he was first elected mayor 10 years ago, reflect the same failed, divisive and hyper- partisan ideology that local voters were clearly rejecting on Nov. 6.
Petaluma voters, for the most part, want their elected officials, including him, to be open-minded, to listen to all constituents and to work collaboratively to implement sound policies. They want a strong and diverse local economy so they can shop locally, and which provides jobs for the unemployed and a strengthened tax base to repair roads, fix street lights and restore a variety of public services.
They want the city to continue making incremental progress towards the construction of a long-planned crosstown connector at Rainier Ave.
Despite the failure of Measure X, which still earned a respectable 63 percent of the vote, they also want decent parks and recreational facilities.
And, of course, they want to protect the environment and see public employee pensions reformed so they are more reasonable and affordable.
Most members of the city council, including the three who were just elected -— Mike Healy, Gabe Kearney and newcomer Kathy Miller — are clearly in agreement with their constituents on the importance of achieving these goals.
As for the mayor, Glass has the responsibility to bring unity and focus to the council on these and other important issues facing the city. To be effective, Glass will either need to shed his longstanding “us vs. them” political mentality, or spend the remaining two years of his mayoral term in a state of increasing irrelevance.
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