After a bruising defeat in the November election, Petaluma progressives are already making plans for 2014 and say they need to do a better job defining and articulating their message.
“It’s always an issue of marketing in politics,” former councilman David Keller and a leader of the progressive faction, told the Argus Courier. “We need to look at how to better represent our identity as a group.”
Progressive candidates Jason Davies, Alicia Kae Herries and Tiffany Renee were all accused of blocking development, including the Target Regency and Friedman's shopping centers, and portrayed as "anti-business."
"The progressive environmental interests in Petaluma have been portrayed as anti-business, manipulative and extortionist, which is a gross distortion of what people in town have been doing over the past 25 years," Keller said. "We support a healthy and clean environment and businesses that support that in Petaluma as well as a transparent and open local government."
This week Mayor Dave Glass announced plans to run for reelection. Former Mayor Pam Torliatt is also running for a seat on the city council.
There is plenty of soul-searching going on among progressives, to be sure, but one reason for the loss was poor strategy, according to David McCuan, a political science professor at Sonoma State University.
McCuan told the Argus that had the progressives run only two candidates instead of three, each candidate would have likely obtained a larger percent of the vote. Instead, Renee finished in fourth place with 16.1 percent of the vote, Davies with 13.9 percent and Kae Herries with 13.2 percent, a stunning defeat for the progressive faction.
Kae Herries and Davies were endorsed by Mayor Glass and Torliatt. But Renee was not, in part because she fell out of favor with some progressives after she ran for Congress. Others didn't want her to run because they didn't want to "split the vote."