Seizing the Day
Marina Democrats are organizing for council, water board seats.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The nascent Marina Democratic Club hopes to seed the City Council and Marina Coast Water District board with progressive-minded party members. The group, which had its first meeting July 2, is busy developing a ticket of registered Marina Democrats for the Nov. 4 election.
Three City Council and two water board seats are up for grabs. Although the races are nonpartisan, the club’s emergence could bolster the chances of several political newcomers seeking elected office. Roughly 48 percent of Marina registered voters are Democrats, and about 26 percent are Republican.
“The perception has always been that Marina is a conservative Republican town,” says club President Quinn Gardner. “We have a very large base of Democrats that have not united, and this is an opportunity to do that.”
Gardner was among four Democrats who gave stump speeches at the club’s July 24 meeting. Gardner, a Democratic Party organizer who has lived in Marina about a year, is mulling a council bid. Frank O’Connell, a city planning commissioner, is running for council. Ken Nishi will try to retain his long-held seat on the water board, and former planning commissioner David Burnett is interested in a seat on either the council or water board.
The City Council now has two registered Democrats– Ken Gray and Nancy Amadeo– and two registered Republicans– Dave McCall and Gary Wilmot. Councilman Jim Ford declines to state a party affiliation.
By the Weekly’s deadline, Wilmot and water board President Howard Gustafson were the only candidates on record for mayor. Ford and Amadeo, both appointed incumbents, had qualified for the ballot; O’Connell, Michael Derr and Peter Le had qualified to run for council.
So far, Nishi and appointed incumbent Dan Burns are the two declared water board candidates. Aug. 8 is the deadline to file.
Gardner says the Marina Democratic Club will help narrow the crowded field with their endorsements.
“We don’t want there to be 10 people running for council,” he says. “We want to support the right candidates, which obviously gives them a better chance of winning.”