“Neighborhood Speak”------- by Steve Patterson—Federation of SR Neighborhoods
With the city council and mayoral elections behind, San Rafael residents make it clear that they are pretty happy with the way the City has been run and that status quo will be fine. Gary Phillips, as Mayor, will continue many of the policies of Al Boro, but likely with a different style. Different styles are always good, but considering that many of the campaign promises relied on spending money which is currently unavailable, it will be some time before promises are made good.
Gary is a good guy and so will try to accommodate many perspectives. Many feel that he is a part of the good old boy network, one which always votes and always gives money. His support list somewhat indicates that the label might fit. It makes real change very challenging to propose or advocate.
Andrew McCullough is a bright and engaging new council member who will fill Greg Brockbank's relinquished spot. He certainly is more conservative than Greg was and is not likely to be the same promoter and friend of neighborhoods. Andrew claims he will represent all groups, but Greg will be a big loss in the world of neighborhoods. Along with Barbara Heller the Phillips/McCullough/Heller block will likely form a strong alliance to advance the issues Phillips deems as priorities for the city.
Damon Connolly was reelected to no one’s surprise. Probably the deepest thinker on the council and certainly among its only remaining progressives and one of the better council members in San Rafael’s history. He cares about the right stuff and is staunch neighborhood ally on many issues. It is unlikely that many alliances will get formed between Damon and Marc Levine, however. Marc has not really shown much yet as a council member since he often seems unfocused yet highly politically in absolutely every move he makes. Marc likes to be perceived in only the most positive light so often positions himself so that can happen. Damon will likely have challenges in this new council configuration. He does possess personal warmth and charm, so he will likely persevere better than most and current rumors indicate he may run for Huffman’s soon be vacant California Assembly seat.
As far as Greg Brockbank is concerned, we hope he will run for council again. Rumors abound that Barbara Heller will not run again in 2 years for reelection. We hope Greg will run for her seat and announce his candidacy early to block out others. Chances are that Barbara will be cagey about her future plans, since she said some very hurtful things about Greg during the campaign and certainly is not a fan of his. Greg loves the political process and on any night can likely be found at a community meeting. I suspect Greg’s patterns may not change when out of office, as it is highly likely you will still find him attending many community meetings.
Will things be better with this new council? It remains to be seen, but as bad as things are in San Rafael, we can only hope that some fresh, new ideas surface and that the many harsh realities which need to be completely acknowledged will get the attention they deserve. The next few years will be interesting to witness as San Rafael evolves and the politicians struggle to solve the many problems facing them.