Thursday, October 12, 2006
• DEL REY OAKS
MAYOR | Joseph P. Russell
Running unopposed might be a politician’s favorite two-word
tango—up there with “solemn duty” and “free parking.” Barring
a flurry of write-ins, the former Navy serviceman and current
Superior Court arbitrator will earn a second term as mayor.
But there’s not much room for relaxing: As the City Council
starts in earnest to move on a planned 360-acre development on
Del Rey Oak’s chunk of Fort Ord—which will more than double
the size of the 650-unit hamlet with 800 new units— Russell’s
leadership will be critical.
CITY COUNCIL | Dennis G. Allion ~ Jeff T. Cecilio
Not much suspense here. But, says incumbent Allion, who like newcomer Cecilio and Mayor Russell is running without an opponent, such is life squeezed between Monterey and Seaside: uncontroversial. That may soon change. The City Council faces the rigors and divisiveness of getting a major development approved. To make it a success, Del Rey Oaks residents will need Allion and Cecilio to do just what they promise: to understand all the myriad issues and laws surrounding the project (Allion); and to work relentlessly to give little Del Rey Oaks the tax base it needs (Cecilio).
MAYOR | No Endorsement
Ila Mettee-McCutchon runs unopposed for this mayoral seat.
So while we’re quite confident that she’ll win another term,
we don’t think that Mettee-McCutchon is the best leader for
Marina, particularly when it comes to land-use decisions.
Marina needs good-paying jobs and affordable homes, but the
slew of development projects approved under Mettee-McCutchon’s
watch don’t provide enough of either. We’re disappointed that
she and the rest of the City Council didn’t even try to make
the Wal-Mart developers sweeten the deal for the city. We wish
that someone would challenge Mettee-McCutchon, and figure the
lack of a candidates in this race means one of two things:
Either Marina residents are blissfully happy about the
development projects that are going to change what the city
looks like or they’re too afraid of the tough-as-nails former
Army colonel to run against her. We’re not sure which is
CITY COUNCIL | Ken Gray ~ Dave McCall
Converting Marina’s scattered strip malls into a real downtown will not be an easy task. The city needs seasoned leaders to make sure its center is unified with Marina’s new developments. Councilman Gray, a park planner and smart-growth enthusiast, has the résumé and know-how to make this happen. McCall, another incumbent, has been an advocate for public participation and open government. Although their voting records aren’t perfect, we think these two longtime Marina residents deserve your vote.
The Weekly was tempted to support David Hernandez. The 27-year-old filmmaker is fed up with the City Council. But the CSUMB grad could only cite one endorsement. We encourage Hernandez to stay politically involved.
MAYOR | No Endorsement
Chuck Della Sala will easily win this election partly because his opponent Mike Dawson is so clearly out of his league. Dawson means well and, in his fight against the new civic center, has proven he can generate momentum. But the Weekly believes he is woefully inexperienced and not ready for the mayor’s seat.
Della Sala won’t be a bad mayor. But we have a hard time
respecting Della Sala much considering he refuses to return
phone calls from our editors and reporters—even when we’re
trying to endorse him.
CITY COUNCIL | Nancy Selfridge ~ Ralph Widmar
Outgoing City Councilman Clyde Roberson is leaving big shoes to fill. He’s a champion and his experience has been a positive force in Monterey politics since 1981. Unfortunately, most of the candidates hoping to plug the hole he will leave have little to no experience.
That said—and we do have some misgivings about his loyalties—the Weekly endorses Widmar, thanks to his years on the Planning Commission, the Architectural Review Board and his experience as a local businessman. He’s closely tied to the Albert/Della Sala camp.
To counterbalance Widmar, we also support Selfridge, a member of Councilman Jeff Haferman’s posse. Selfridge is the president of her neighborhood association and she’s at least spent some time thinking about the city’s biggest problems: traffic, budget, historic district, and the list goes on.
This leaves out Frank Sollecito, who has almost no political experience. He’s received endorsements from people we respect and he’s a career cop—perhaps just the man to reinvigorate Monterey’s understaffed police force—but we feel he needs to get his feet wet before he dives into the City Council.
• PACIFIC GROVE
MAYOR | Dan Cort
Sharp. Experienced. Unflappable. The Weekly supports Cort for mayor because he’s proven he has the support and intellect to do the job. He also has a concrete vision for improving the local business economy and can tell a raunchy joke without batting an eye. He’s our kind of guy. It doesn’t hurt that his background is in rehabilitating historic real estate.
PG government has taken a turn for the better largely due to Cort’s ability to work with everyone. Yes, he’s a bit cocky, but we believe his moral compass will pull him through.
That said, Councilwoman Susan Goldbeck is a huge asset to
PG, but we feel her dissident voice and legal acumen are
better positioned on the City Council. As for Lee Yarborough,
his heart’s in the right place but he lacks the vision and
drive to lead the city back into the black.
CITY COUNCIL (FULL TERM) | Lisa Bennett ~ David Dilworth ~ Vicki Stillwell
We never thought we’d say it, but PG environmentalist Dilworth should be sitting on the City Council. Yes, he can be overbearing, redundant and even sensationalist, but the guy truly gives a damn about the people and ecology of Pacific Grove. He would be a strong voice on the City Council as long as he doesn’t grandstand and waste time with theatrics.
After two years on the City Council, Bennett has proven herself a solid, grounded voice of reason. Among other successes, she introduced PG’s groundbreaking campaign finance reform law back in February. She’s clearly committed to transparency in government and plays well with others.
Finally, Stillwell is a local businesswoman who has
impressed us by impressing others. A wide range of
well-reasoned Pagrovians have thrown their support behind the
political newcomer and we feel she’d be a perfect complement
to this new era of PG politics.
CITY COUNCIL (SHORT TERM) | Daniel Davis
This one’s a no-brainer. The Weekly is happy to endorse Davis, who was elected to the City Council earlier this year after then-Mayor Jim Costello stepped down, due to illness. We think Davis’ experience, his understanding of PG politics and his willingness to make smart decisions based on facts make him invaluable.