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Rajan, Simmons Announce City Re-election Bids

Update: Kish Rajan and Bob Simmons are running again on Nov. 6; July 16 is the date when candidates can take out election papers.

Update Wednesday morning, Skrel report.

Kish Rajan and Bob Simmons are running for re-election to the Walnut Creek City Council.

In an email to Walnut Creek Patch, Mayor Simmons said, "I have decided to seek re-election to the City Council and will meet with the City Clerk on Monday to start the process."

Mayor Pro Tem Rajan confirmed his candidacy in a Tuesday telephone interview.

Monday, July 16, is the time that candidates can take out election papers from the city clerk. The candidate nomination period ends Aug. 10, unless an incumbent doesn't run, in which case the filing period is extended until Aug. 15.

The post of incumbent Council member Gary Skrel, a former mayor who has been on the council since 2000, is also up this year.

Skrel said he is undecided. In a Wednesday phone interview, he said, "Twelve years is 12 years but it's still a blast. I'm still deciding."

Simmons, elected to the council in 2008, is a retired lawyer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Simmons and his wife, Judy, moved to Walnut Creek in 1987, where they raised two sons who are now adults. As to political affiliation, he said he writes "decline to state" on the elections forms.

Rajan, elected to the council in 2008, is the mayor pro tem, meaning that the council has signaled its intent to appoint him mayor at a reorganization meeting after the November election, if Rajan is re-elected to the council.

Expected to run for the council is local small businessman Justin Wedel, who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2010 and has been vocal at occasional city meetings, objecting to policies of the council. Patch has an email out to Wedel seeking comment.

Wedel has made no formal announcement. He was introduced as an independent candidate for Walnut Creek City Council when he spoke in May to the Save Our Stanley group, which is fighting plans for a new event center at Rossmoor.

More from Kish Rajan

Rajan said he planned to run on his record of follow-through on positions taken in his first campaign in 2008, and he plans to work on the same issues in the next four years:

"I'm looking forward to talking to voters about what we said we were going to do and our ideas," Rajan said.

Rajan in 2010 promised attention to:

  • fiscal soundness
  • parking and transportation
  • emphasis on neighborhoods and families.

He vowed to promote the city's fiscal soundness, said Rajan, "and I think we've done well."

As to strategy in parking and transportation policy, Rajan said, "I'm proud of the leadership I was able to display and continue to display."

"I've been an advocate for our parks, our pools, our sports fields — things that are about families' recreation and health," said Rajan, adding that he emphasizes giving public safety resources to maintain the security of neighborhoods.

Rajan, a Democrat, said he thought it was important to talk about city issues in a nonpartisan context. "One of the things I appreciate the most about local politics is its nonpartisan culture, he said, citing his "experience and exposure to Sacramento and even Washington, watching those systems work and fail to work."

On the Walnut Creek council, Rajan said, "We certainly don't agree on everything — we have different perspectives and values, but I don't think we ever compete with each other. When you take that out of the environment, it makes us far more functional and results-oriented."

A lifelong Walnut Creek resident, Rajan is married to Evie and they have three children. Rajan is director of North America mobile sales with SanDisk Corp.

 

Watch Patch for updates on candidacies.

michael frederick July 10, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Simmons and Skrel already announced! The fund raising began months ago -- it's just gone unreported. In Oct. 2008, Bart developer BRE donated $15K to the Chamber of Commerce's WALPAC -- to circumvent election law and get their people elected. Council's FIRST post election business, on Nov. 16, was to call a SPECIAL MEETING for BRE. Later that evening, during the regular Council meeting, Council unveiled support for the Chamber's Tourism Benefit Improvement District (~$300K in taxes diverted annually to the Chamber). Now, with months to reelection, Simmons and Skrel uncork the West Downtown Specific Plan to package a large chunk of downtown for redevelopment by having the city absorb $1.5M to perform all of the state-mandated environmental review their corporate sponsors would otherwise have to. This process is overseen by a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). Who did Simmons and Skrel select for the CAC? Bob Simmons, Gary Skrel, BRE, the Chamber of Commerce, the Dwntwn Business Assoc., four commissioners dependent upon Council favor, and a token group of other "citizens" who've never expressed a public opinion about anything, ever. The issue here isn't pro-growth, no-growth, slo-growth ... It's about politicians and newsreporters that cultivate so much public apathy that politicians feel at liberty to crap on the city, their office, and public process whenever it suits them. Avoiding the appearance of impropriety isn't necessary in WC, is it?
Triple Canopy July 10, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Your rage has to have a root cause. C'mon MF, how did WC, Skrel, or Simmons piss on your cornflakes?
Julie Jepsen-Grant July 10, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Who are you Triple Canopy. And what does p--- on your cornflakes mean?
michael frederick July 10, 2012 at 08:58 PM
TC, The FACTS above are what they are. They don't depend upon me; I'm just the messenger. They certainly don't change based upon your flaky advocacy, either. Deal with it.
Jim July 10, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I hope Patch and the Times will follow the money of developers closely this election. With all the proposed construction in both retail and residential there are literally hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. The make up of the council will be very important to construction and real estate interests. Walnut Creek voters deserve to know who is behind the money from the chamber and other interests. Triple C this is called informed voting and the media has a role to play by shining light on some of the shady past practices.
WC-Independent July 10, 2012 at 11:34 PM
MF - any idea of the expected gain? You state the city will absorb the 1.5M... Is this a carrot to entice a development that may provide revenue to the City of 1.5M*X per year? For a town to absorb/financially assist an automall development and then realize all the sales tax revenue they will provide long term makes good business sense.
michael frederick July 11, 2012 at 02:37 AM
WCI, Thanks, incidentally, for the update on San Ramon fireworks... There is no "expected gain", if you believe Council. I think they just got back with ABAG to actually complain that the COST OF SERVICES to shoe-horn people into this area far exceeds projected revenue. Also, this isn't an AUTOMALL -- that's up N. Main. It's slated for mixed-use, along the lines of Mercer (Nail Salon, Hamburger stand, Bike rental,...) and Contra Costa Bart. It's drive-by country having disconnected, sparse retail with poor parking, intermingled with housing. The cost is now, in conjunction with budgetary cuts. The recovery is in the future, maybe / maybe not. If your contention had merit, it would probably prevail with other intelligent, differing opinions at the table -- unfortunately, that's not the point to two councilmen restricting participation to sponsors and dependents four months before an election, is it? There is no public need for these two to appear shady at this time -- only personal. WCI, you make no argument that wouldn't be much more acceptable six months from now. It's akin to Blubaugh presenting valet parking as "innovative" concurrent with the Neiman Marcus promotion. My sense is, if it was truly "innovative" -- someone would've probably MENTIONED it two years earlier during General Plan deliberations. Yet, they didn't. Timing matters, particularly where credibility is concerned.
michael July 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Am I missing something? I watch the city council meetings regularly, and not once have I seen Rajan, Skrel, or Simmons support any neighborhoods and familys.In my opinon , someone is blowing a lot of smoke .
Triple Canopy July 13, 2012 at 05:12 AM
That is a euphemism, but reversed. I'm asking what action(s) or decisions did WC or its elected or appointed officials do to make MF so angry? I've observed MF in action during public comment period at City Council hearings and he was seething with accusations of corruption and conspiracies. MF: "FACTS"?... maybe derived from the voices in your head! Get on some meds Mr. Frederick and check back into reality.
Triple Canopy July 13, 2012 at 05:18 AM
You're relying on the media? Jim, real investigative journalism died many years ago. Now all they do is regurgitate and report without any critical thinking skills. Misinformation is rampant so rely on your own independent research, critical thinking skills, and draw your own conclusion based on the evidence. Not on hearsay garnered from blogs or from persons that lack of credibility. Ahem... Have a great day.
michael frederick July 13, 2012 at 05:53 AM
I provided dates above so everything can be readily checked by anyone either through Google or the city's website in a couple of minutes.
Walnut creek indy July 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Hard to look for transparency from our council members by putting all blame on developers looking to come into our town, when the opposing interests are just as voicerifous in pushing for their interests in blatant money and cash grabs, this is directed at the walnut creek pd which just took their officer count to 80. The pay for wc police is roughly equal to police pay in Oakland with far different demographics. Real leadership of the city council would be to show transparency in the contracts with the police unions, the service levels and equivilant pay in other types of communities. Remember an extremely large portion of our city lives in a gated self secured community (rosmoor). So kish and Gary running again is fine but with everything up for discussion be aware when the police union starts leaking paraniod reports of drunken brawling and break ins. And when they start putting campaign posters up all over town in support of their guys (Lawson). Food for thought.
michael frederick July 16, 2012 at 07:04 AM
WC Indy, Appreciate "food for thought", here's some more. There are grains of truth to what you say. The truthful part relates to the need to avoid partisan political BS -- residents, whatever their persuasion, should recognize architects of deception as self-serving. Whether sharing Police Logs constitutes such is another question. However, your equating of adverse impacts of police interests to developers' is ridiculous. First, the development issue is 98 years old -- it's why we have the most tortured city limit lines in the county. This division is as old as the city and its most fundamental fact. It sparked the Growth Wars a generation ago -- not police services... WCPD shares the public's concern for a safe environment -- they work and live here! Corporations, like BRE, have NO interest beyond their investment. While one can, and should, question the degree to which WCPD PAC money reflects public welfare concerns, there is NO such argument for BRE. Their contribution is GRAFT to promote (PRIVATE) investment return, to the EXCLUSION of any other (PUBLIC) concern. The case above is blatant. It advertises Corrupt Council For Sale. Conversely, WCPD's PAC money is directed at candidates that share cerrtain public safety concerns. It enjoys a decent explanation. I agree any PACs, in a city with campaign contribution limits, is not a good idea -- some are MUCH more harmful than others, however. This isn't apples to apples.
Walnut creek indy July 16, 2012 at 05:54 PM
MF All that history non-withstanding public employee unions spending relativley massive amounts of money on local elections in order to make sure that the people that sit across from them at the the negotiating table in order to decide how to split up our tax dollars does seem to be a little like the fox gaurding the hen house. Also I would love some stats or facts to back up the "they work and live here!" claim, I'm not saying your wrong I would just love to be able to repeat it knowing it was factual. To the growth wars, it is a geographic reality that Walnut Creek will continue to function as a hub along the 680 corridor, we can continue to plan that reality wisely, high density transit and retail development in a walkable city. Or we can stick our heads in the sand, see the shadelands bp (50% vacant by some accounts), major employers and tax providers moving to PH Bart and San Ramon...
Ken July 16, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Walnut Creek Indy, I’m assuming based on your other posts regarding the Library you are a county Library employee or member of the Library Foundation. You said, “…this is directed at the walnut creek pd which just took their officer count to 80. The pay for wc police is roughly equal to police pay in Oakland with far different demographics. Real leadership of the city council would be to show transparency in the contracts with the police unions, the service levels and equivilant pay in other types of communities. Remember an extremely large portion of our city lives in a gated self secured community (rosmoor).” First of all the community I call home is spelled Rossmoor, not rosmoor. As a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer in Rossmoor I believe I am fairly well versed in regards to our local public safety situation. The officer count you reference is 77, not 80. A significant factual error but easily correctable with a quick glance at the city website or review of our council meetings. The pay for police officers is roughly equal throughout most of the Bay Area regardless of demographics. I would argue the standards and expectations are much higher here than in Oakland so the comparison doesn’t really make sense. I'm sure most WC officers could get a job in Oakland however the reverse is not true.
Ken July 16, 2012 at 07:28 PM
-con'd- Rossmoor may be gated but we have a population that is often the victims of criminal frauds, thefts and scams. We also have a significant traffic enforcement problem. The police department had 82 officers when I moved to Rossmoor 6 years ago. With today’s "increase" (as you seem to suggest) the resulting lowered staffing has meant little to no enforcement in a community that sees at least one fatal accident (usually more) per year. I am OK with our officers advocating for higher staffing levels through the political process. I know many officers that grew up and still live in town. My question for you is how do their arguments for more officers benefit them? It doesn’t put more $ in their pocket-if anything it takes it away by reducing overtime. As for “leaking” reports of brawls downtown I would ask you if the videos I watched on the news were faked as well? How about the victims listed in the police logs or the suspects being arrested? Also faked? Get real. If anything the city goes out of its way to underreport these things. The flow of developer money, which far outpaces any other PAC money, is something we should all be paying attention to. Do you not belief in transparency?
Walnut creek indy July 16, 2012 at 08:27 PM
MF, I am neither, but thanks for taking my posts and reading them closely enough to catch both my typo's and my supposed predilections. http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21013724/walnut-creek-police-chief-call-more-officers office count will actually be 78, so maybe we can both take a deep breath. $600k for two officers over 2 years sounds like a lot. My point regarding pay would be more in the you have to pay the Oakland officers more because of the type of work they do, i.e. gunshots. Given that you started this of by saying that we need to be more civil in discussing this I think you may have gone slightly off the rails here. I think it's important to take a hard look at entitlement spending in the civil services, especially the fire and police, of which I have friends in both. MF, Having passion for a continued excellence in the community we live in is a positive thing and I salute you for it. Please don't shoot the messenger when people disagree in how to maintain that excellence.
Walnut creek indy July 16, 2012 at 08:29 PM
sorry MF that was directed at Ken...clearly I don't work for the library because I can't spell and aparently don't read good either....
Walnut creek indy July 16, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Ken, If driving accidents are so prevelent in rosmoor...why don't you as a self identified comunity leader and CERT head honcho suggest stronger private roadway enforcement, since rosmoor is private property? Fines passed along to residents? Don't you have to identify yourself and who you plan on visiting if you don't live there and want to enter the development?
michael frederick July 16, 2012 at 08:58 PM
WC Indy, Public employee union activism is an obvious concern (particularly for County...). However, your concerns would have merit here iff: After having rec'd WCPD support, a council member IMMEDIATELY rewarded it. In the next election cycle, Council members sought additional PAC support by forming a committee to benefit police officers, comprised exclusively of police officers and their supporters. ONLY THEN, would this be a comparable situation, where the Council members responsible marketed their PUBLIC office for PERSONAL gain. Then, you'd have demonstrated serious concern for "the avoidance of impropriety" we see evidenced by Skrel and Simmons. As to your belief that abstract civil engineering should preempt democratic process and drop onto this community like a spaceship, without community input -- my response is simple. If the arguments you regurgitate had unquestionable merit and community support -- they wouldn't NEED Council members discrediting themselves, restricting opposing arguments, and stacking commissions. They do. Public deference to committees comprised of corporations, civil engineers, architects, land use attorneys, builders, etc. to answer HOW MUCH TO BUILD resembles asking library fanatics to determine WC library "needs." The answer to the last question looked like 50% more than their Santa Clara model: $50M... That's clearly STUPID gov't. funded and promoted by special interests -- not SMART.
Walnut creek indy July 16, 2012 at 09:51 PM
MF, Since budgetary cycles and election cycles are not always co-terminus then perahps you can rember the old addage, you can shear a sheep many times, you can eat him only once. Translation, there was a clear movement by the wc police to push for specific members of city council to be elected, those members have since pushed specificly for that agenda. Has there been many oppurtunities for them to translate that directly? Yes actually there has, in terms of staffing cuts wcpd has faced very little to none, by the way if you know where to look you will find wcpd cars running in parking lots with wcpd sitting in them in the shade doing paperwork. And there will be more oppurtunities soon, wait until the next budget comes up... So do we disagree, clearly. I look at this as entrenced interest who are used to higher levels of funding battling tooth and nail to retain that funding at the cost of the community at large. I also see development as a fact of life, another addage for you, nothing in life ever stays the same the only constant is change
Mary Reed July 17, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Walnut creek indy, you have no idea what you are talking about. How is advocating for the safety of the community not the job of EVERY council member? No police staffing cuts? Do you even life in Walnut Creek? Both my kids attend High School in Walnut Creek. Last year one of them was the victim of a serious crime on campus and was assisted by a WCPD school resource officer who had been on campus teaching a class. Due to the budget cuts you seem to not be aware of all school resource officers and school programs have been eliminated. 4-5 officers lost is a lot for a small community like ours and it matters. Tone deaf people like you make it very hard for people like me to support causes I believe in like the arts and libraries. That is the reason I got everyone on my street to vote against Cindy Silva 2 years ago. Public safety is a top priority no matter how you try and spin it.
Jim July 17, 2012 at 05:42 AM
If you work at a desk are you there most of the day? Cops write police reports on computers in their CARS Enstein! That IS their office. LOL You also didn't answer Ken's question. What financial benefit do police officers get by highlighting staffing cuts? Doesn't the city have less money to spend if they hire more? Don't officers work less overtime? You also forgot to mention that even with the additional officers the police budget is less than it was last year. The arts budget went up however. Based on the timing of your attacks on public safety I'm going to say your "Indy" label conceals someone connected to an upcoming political campaign. Someone that will be getting money from a developer perhaps? Come on, tell us the truth!
Walnut creek indy July 20, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Jim Just returned to this post thread and after a quick look into your comment history it seems the only thing your interested in is police activity in walnut creek and how we are so woefully undeserved and under protected. It must be a very frightening world you live in where walnut creek is such a scary crime ridden place to be. I'm not saying police fire and other government workers are bad in any way. But can't we just be adults about how we procede, FYI I'm not even suggesting cuts I'm just tired of every conversation on this topic turning into a shouting match.

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