City appointments are often yawn-inducing affairs that few take interest in.
That is, unless it’s an appointment to the agency that will decide on what road and infrastructure projects can move forward following the dissolution of redevelopment agencies.
On Monday night, sparks flew between Mayor Dave Glass and Councilman Mike Healy who both want to represent Petaluma on the county oversight board that will replace the city’s redevelopment agency.
The board will consider redevelopment projects that have already been at least partially obligated, including the Rainier undercrossing and interchange. According to supporters, the project can still be financed, but many others say it's .
According to legislation created following the , mayors can appoint two people from their city to serve on the oversight board. But because Petaluma is a charter city, the council got to decide on the nomination. Healy nominated himself, telling Glass he was not going to vote for him because the two had disagreed in the past over redevelopment and that there was "no way of sugar coating the issue."
"I signed the ballot arguments in favor of Measure S in 2004, you and (former Councilwoman) Janice Cader-Thompson signed the ballot arguments against Measure S," Healy said, referring to the ballot measure which authorized the city to proceed with the Rainier project and which was approved by 72 percent of Petaluma voters. "So we just have a different perspective on this issue."
Mayor Glass and other council members often emphasize their collegiality on the dais, but none could be found on this particular topic on Monday, with the vote split 4-3 along the council's previous ideological lines.
Council members Mike Harris, Chris Albertson and Gabe Kearney voted for Healy (Healy also voted for himself), while Vice Mayor Tiffany Renee and Teresa Barrett voted for Glass, who also voted for himself.
The result prompted an angry response from the mayor who said that he felt that he should be the one to represent the city on vital infrastructure projects.
“I’m offended because I’ve leveled with the community…and I think it’s a cheap shot to say that I am not qualified for the position,” Glass said. “I’m not pulling any punches here, but I don’t think making Rainier happen is possible. I’ve studied finance all my life, I've worked in redevelopment for 22 years and I don't think it's possible.”
After the vote, Glass told Healy that he wished that “voters keep you accountable for all your decisions,” to which Healy replied “Thank you. I hope that they do too.”
Vice Mayor Renee was also visibly upset at the vote, saying that the successor agency was “not just about Rainier, but about many other things. The mayor should be able to appoint who he wants to and for the council to overstep that authority is disgusting.”
The second person selected to represent Petaluma on the redevelopment oversight board is Scott Duiven, a senior planner with the city. The council voted 7-0 to approve his appointment.
Do you think the mayor should represent the city on the oversight board that will be created to replace the redevelopment agency?