I want to let you know that I have decided that I will not run for Mayor of Pacific Grove in the upcoming election. I spoke with Bill again last night [June 20], and he remains committed to running for another term. My interest is in doing what is best for the city of Pacific Grove and, at this point, I think that may be to withdraw from the race. I just don’t want to divide the city and force our resident to choose between me and Bill. A lot of people have told me they would struggle with that because he and I are seen as being fairly similar in our views and our approaches to issues.
That may be true to a great extent, though there are differences. For instance, I would have been more aggressive on the PERS issue and would not have pushed as much to save money at the expense of letting our infrastructure deteriorate to the point it has. I would also take a more “Pacific Grove first” stance with state agencies and push back on the unfunded mandates they try to push onto the city. I just think PG dollars should be used to take care of PG issues first. That’s what people in our city pay taxes for. If a state agency has a good idea; let them come up with most of the funding for it. While I agree that we should work with them, we don’t have to capitulate to them.
Actually, I never intended to run against Bill, because he and I do agree on the approach and solution to a great many issues. I filed my candidacy papers with the state based on his indecision about running again. In this case my own decisiveness worked against me but, at his time, the greater good for the City is to have two strong leaders, with the historical memory of how we got here, on the Council. As you know, in this election we will lose several seasoned members, and it will be important to have some continuity and stability. Because she is running for Congress, we will unfortunately lose Casey Lucius. Depending on who wins the campaign for mayor, we will also lose either Bill Kampe or Dan Miller. And, lastly, we may lose Robert Huitt due to term limits. I know he wants to run again but we have eight year term limits in Pacific Grove and he has been on the Council for more than seven years this time around already. There may be a loophole, but he is the one who has to decide if he will run based on that loophole.
My main interest in running was to help guide the repairs to the deteriorating infrastructure of the city so as to make PG an even more pleasant place to live than it already is. However, after several years focusing primarily on saving money, the Council seems to have heard me and is now turning its focus to fixing up the city’s roads, sidewalks, streetlights, crosswalks, and parks. Since this is something I have been urging for years, now that it has started I want to be there to make sure that work continues. For instance, I was looking at one of the play areas in George Washington Park last night and talking to the parents there. The ball field is OK, but the play areas need some work. While we know we have to deal with some of the big issues, we also can’t ignore the small “quality of life” items.
When I ran for re-election to the Council a year and a half ago I promised people that I would serve for four years on the council and, going forward, that’s what I plan to do. I will stay on the Council for the next two years and work with the mayor on those issues that are important to the city long-term. Though some of my supporters may be disappointed, I believe that this is the best thing to do at this time. It is my great pleasure to serve the people of Pacific Grove and, whether on the Council, as Mayor, or in some other role, I hope to continue doing that for a long time to come.
I also still have people making campaign contributions and don’t feel good about accepting money unless I do carry on with this campaign. Though I have spent some of the contributions on the campaign so far, I will put the remainder in a savings account for use in 2018. This will also give me the time to help and support some of the good people who I know are thinking of becoming candidates for a seat on the city council in this election.
Pacific Grove has undergone a real transformation in the time that I have been on the council. We have loosened up our rules dealing with windows in homes, streamlined the building permit process, and simplified our ordinance for signs for the businesses downtown. We have longer hours for our library, a new Children’s Pool, we have fixed up some of our parks and ball fields, Lover’s Point has been transformed, and the Point Pinos Lighthouse is looking great. We have fixed up some of our roads, added corner curbs in areas that needed them, and have improved the crosswalks near our schools to make sure our children can cross the streets safely. We still have more to do, but we are well on our way to having a city that the rest of the Peninsula will envy. We have done all this while managing our budget and tax dollars very carefully.
I am proud to have played a part in that and will continue to serve the people of Pacific Grove.
You know it is interesting for me to walk around this city. We moved here from somewhere else years ago, but we feel so much a part of it. I go to the Farmers Market and see The Little House in Jewell Park that I helped to rebuild. I was at Lovers Point and walked by the pool that I helped raise money for and the Beach House Restaurant for which I encouraged us to sign the lease so many years ago. Last week I had lunch with someone at the Point Pinos Grill and saw some of the guys who have been fixing up the Lighthouse having lunch there. I donated a lot of money, but they are doing the work. Who wouldn’t want to live in this kind of community?