As little as a week ago there was in Fairfax, San Anselmo and the . But by last Wednesday's deadline, voters appeared to have some real choices come Election Day in November.
In the race for the two open seats on San Anselmo’s town council, three candidates have filed their papers to run including incumbent and current mayor Ford Greene, small business owner Doug Kelly, and San Anselmo Program Monitoring Committee member Lori J. Lopin.
Incumbent and current mayor Larry Bragman, past president of the Christopher H. Lang, and Fairfax Open Space Committee member Ryan O’Neil will challenge each other for Fairfax’s two open town council seats.
In what may be the most surprising turn, five challengers have filed to run for the three open seats on the Ross Valley School District’s Board. Incumbent Annelise Bauer, community-volunteer Anne Capron, former teacher Hadley Dettmer, retired physician Trevor Hughes and Elizabeth Anne Peacock complete the slate for that race.
According to the candidates statements filed with the Marin County Registrar of Voters the main issues for many of the candidates will be greater fiscal austerity, taxes, and maintaining a quality of life particular to this area.
Fairfax Town Council
In Fairfax, Larry Bragman he would like to see “prudent but innovative management of town finances,” while protecting Fairfax’s character and the delivery of effective public services, according to his candidate’s statement.
Christopher Lang will be running on the banner that “new taxes are not the answer,” as he declares in his candidate statement. But he would he would also work to improve Fairfax’s downtown area by adding bicycle lanes, planting more non-deciduous trees and reducing the speed limit.
Ryan O’Neil believes in the “importance of fiscal solvency” for Fairfax, but also acknowledges in his candidate statement that difficult choices lay ahead. The town’s quality of life, he states, is one of its priceless assets that presumably he will try to balance.
San Anselmo Town Council
In the San Anselmo town council race, Ford Greene wants to limit “irresponsible spending and taxation such as the sewage district’s rate increase,” according to his candidate’s statement. He also vows to continue to address pension imbalances through innovative sharing of police and other services with surrounding cities.
Doug Kelly would like to see more open space and improvement of flood defenses in San Anselmo. But he acknowledges in his candidate's statement that “as a business owner I understand the challenges we face because I face similar challenges everyday.”
The key issue for Lori Lopin is fiscal responsibility and bringing people together in San Anselmo. As a long-time resident and community leader, Lopin’s position is that business owners and community members working together can make a difference. According to her candidate's statement, “every decision I make will be answered by one simple question, 'is this the best we can do for our community?’”
Ross Valley School District
In the RVSD race, Annelise Bauer believes it is imperative for the board to advocate for safe schools, staff development and creating a relevant curriculum for the 21st Century. “There is an opportunity to build tremendous community even in this dire economic environment," she wrote in her candidate statement.
Anne Capron will run for RSVD Trustee on the platform of retaining and attracting top-notch teachers and creating an environment where children are engaged, challenged and supported. In her candidate statement, Capron writes that the difficult decisions facing the board need to be made with the long-term goal in mind of providing a “rich educational experience within a difficult economic climate.”
Hadley Dettmer would like to bring her experience as a parent and a teacher to the board and help it make “positive decisions to support students, parents, administrators and educators," according to her candidate statement.
Trevor Hughes wants to see more science education and upgrade educational technology in the RSVD. He remarks in his candidate statement that “the challenges parents face to today are even more complex than parents faced thirty years ago.”
Elizabeth Ann Peacock also filed a declaration of candidacy, but a statement on her qualifications and positions was not filed with the Registrar as of the deadline.
There are also a number of other races taking place this fall, including the hotly-debated and .
In the other races for elected positions -- County Board of Education, Tam Union Board, both San Anselmo and Fairfax Town Clerk and Treasurer, and the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District -- all the incumbents up for re-election filed and no additional challengers came forward.
Over the coming months, San Anselmo-Fairfax Patch will do in-depth interviews of the candidates running for office. We invite the public to participate in shaping the framework of the debate by posting your questions and comments.