Article Last Updated: 10/02/2005 09:07 AM
IJ's three choices in San Anselmo
Marin Independent Journal
CHANGE IS coming to San Anselmo Town Hall.
On the Nov. 8 ballot, we recommend retaining Peter Breen and electing town Planning Commissioner Ted Freeman and town budget committee member Ian Roth to the two open seats. The three offer a breadth of experience and perspectives that would serve San Anselmo well.
The race for three seats on the Town Council has attracted six candidates. Their debate of the issues has raised concerns and criticism that those who are victorious would be wise to heed.
Two of the candidates, Tom Fallon and Ford Greene, grew up in the Ross Valley. Their political focus, however, has been more on generating local support for stands on national politics than on providing the town services on which local citizens depend.
Greene, an attorney, is locked in a legal fight with Town Hall over his political sign at The Hub. He says he's running to challenge an "entrenched compulsion to exercise power and control" that he sees guiding town government.
He should settle his fight with Town Hall before he steps forward to serve on the council.
Fallon wants to get involved in local government. He's been paying attention to local issues and he would be a solid candidate for one of the town's commissions.
Lujza Mehling, whose husband ran for the council and lost two years ago, is running because she believes the council needs to be more responsive to citizens' opinions.
She cites the council's approval of a small affordable housing complex for seniors, despite complaints from neighbors that it was too big for their neighborhood. She's also opposed to Measure B, the proposed increase in the town's municipal services tax.
Breen, Roth and Freeman have run campaigns based on constructive ideas, solutions and goals.
Breen, a former county welfare chief, has raised some important issues that he wants the council to start discussing, among them public pension reform. He says the town should at least look into the possibility of saving money through consolidation of municipal services.
Breen not only offers local experience, he also has raised the town's profile in regional issues, serving on the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit authority board.
Roth, a fiscal and administrative chief in the county Planning Department, joins Breen in knowing his way around public budgets and planning issues.
Freeman, a retired Terra Linda High social studies teacher and a former member of the Marin County civil grand jury, has lived in town for 40 years and can bring that perspective and knowledge to town issues.
Breen's re-election would make him the dean of the council, a leadership role for which he is suited. Roth and Freeman have taken the time to become involved and serve on town panels that should help them in their duties and decisions as council members.
San Anselmo faces many challenges, among them the continuing search for a balance between homeowners' desire to improve and expand their homes and concerns regarding "monster" or out-of-scale residences. If town voters endorse the proposed increase in the municipal tax, council members have the job of making sure that investment is used wisely. They also face the challenge of working to find opportunities and to build public resolve to provide and protect workforce housing.
With those issues on San Anselmo's agenda, Breen, Roth and Freeman are the best candidates for Town Council on Nov. 8.