P.G. City Circus
Fifteen contenders line up for two P.G. council seats.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Fifteen candidates are bidding for two vacant seats on the Pacific Grove City Council, which councilmembers hope to fill at a special meeting Wednesday night.
Candidates need four out of five votes in order to be seated—a mandate forcing a break in the 3-3 split over the mayor’s appointment Sept. 16 (before Mayor Pro Tempore Vicki Stilwell's resignation). Carmelita Garcia won the seat with a coin toss.
The applicant pool is heavy on males and light on youth, a mix of longtime P.G. politicos and earnest newbies. November 2008 council candidates Richard Ahart, Ken Cuneo and Dan Miller threw in their hats, along with Darlene Billstrom, a veteran activist on the city’s zoning and historic preservation issues. Newer to P.G.’s political landscape are Michael Gordon, a four-year Pagrovian with three decades of business management experience, and 24-year-old Jonathan Wizard, a P.G. High graduate with firefighting training.
Cynthia Garfield says her professional experience implementing California’s Mental Health Services Act gives her both policy and real-world experience, while retired General Electric executive James Quinn touts his support among P.G. residents. David Haugen, dad of two P.G. Middle School students, says he’s charmed by the community his family joined two year ago; and retired PGPD cop Richard Carp says he’s worked with all of the city’s departments.
Former P.G. Councilman Robert Huitt offers to dive back into rough seas, while Ed Lake, a retired human resources manager, pitches his creative skills. Henry Leinen and Rudy Fischer note their histories of volunteer service and city involvement, while former Carmel Fitness Center owner George Sullivan flexes his business management prowess.
Each candidate has five minutes to speak, and one minute to answer each question from the council. “They’ll hear from all the candidates, and then have discussion and nominations,” says Acting City Manager Jim Becklenberg (on temporary duty until new CM Thomas Frutchey steps in Oct. 5).
If the council can’t achieve a four-member consensus by Oct. 18, Mayor Garcia makes the appointments.