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New Council Challenger Takes Out Papers

Jeff Pickett, 37, an investment banker, said he is not sure he will pursue the City Council seat in Nov. 6 election.

Investment banker Jeff Pickett has taken out nomination papers for a potential run for City Council.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Pickett said he was not 100 percent sure he would run. He works for an investment bank that specializes in public finance, including bonds, and he intends to meet with a legal team soon to ask about the possible conflicts of interest.



Incumbents Bob Simmons and Kish Rajan have announced they are running again. Also up is the seat of incumbent Gary Skrel, who is undecided on running again. Challenger Barry Grove has said he will run for council.

"I like the city of Walnut Creek — I believe in it," said Pickett, 37, who lives with his wife Jennifer and their four children on Miramonte Road. "I believe in a lot of good things it has done. I grew up in the area. There are a lot of good things we can do going forward. I believe in growth. I believe in what the city has done the past several decades — with growth but also family oriented."

The nomination period began July 16 and ends at 5:00 pm on Friday, Aug. 10. However, if one of the incumbent officeholders does not file by the Aug. 10 deadline, the nomination period for that vacancy will be extended (for any qualified person, other than the incumbent) until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

michael frederick July 26, 2012 at 06:30 AM
What a coincidence -- I believe BUILDER Bob Pickett has a son named Jeff who is married to a Jennifer. Only in WC, where Gwen Regalia's son draws political cartoons at the newspaper while mommy serves as Mayor, could such a candidate pretend parental relationships are arms-length transactions. "I believe in growth. I believe in what the city has done the past several decades..." Daddy will be pleased, as he sat on the Planning Commission and chaired the General Plan 2025 steering committee... Good to know that what gets presented as a son's OBJECTIVE opinion, happens to support daddy's public advocacy and business. What a happy coincidence. I'm sure that's an opinion we can all believe in -- not just those of us who snacked on lead-based paint chips as kids and the completely disinterested. Very up-lifting. Are you folks downtown reproducing fast enough to keep this city stocked with inbred commissioners and Council? At the start of Council meetings, instead of the pledge of allegiance, should we switch to banjo music from Deliverance?
One more time with feeling July 26, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Mr. Frederick, Thank you for your vigilance. Your knowledge - historical and otherwise - is extremely valuable. Thank you for continuing to connect the dots for us. OMTWF
The Merry One July 26, 2012 at 04:08 PM
@ Michael Frederick: Great reporting! We didn't see this one coming, did we? Have you considered running?
WC-Independent July 26, 2012 at 04:39 PM
MF - I'm thinking you should pull the last paragraph. You damaged your reputation a bit with that one.
Lady Sotelo July 26, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Or maybe, on a more positive note, isn't it possible that caring about your community could be something a family values?
SR July 26, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Shucks! I was really hoping for another independent candidate. Despite those that don't like what you have to say one cannot argue with the facts Mr. Frederick. I second omtwf in saying thank you for the "investigative reporting" you don't seem to get anywhere else. Your knowledge of our community is impressive and -like you or not-I hope people are paying attention to the information. Justin Wedel needs a lot more smoothing and I wouldn't support him if he runs. I'm very interested in what Barry Grove has to say and am also considering supporting both Mr. Rajan and Mayor Simmons but still undecided. I’m not a Gary Skrel fan and hope he doesn't run again (too close to the bar owners and construction types). After reading your comments I did a search and agree Jeff Pickett has likely been picked as the Chamber's "builder" candidate to replace Gary. This is from Bob Pickett’s construction management website under references Sue Rainey Mayor, City of Walnut Creek, California Gary Skrel President / Principal, the Covelo Group, Inc., Walnut Creek, California City Council Member and former Mayor, City of Walnut Creek, California I'm still waiting for the Yes for Walnut Creek/Library Foundation/Arts Foundation person to enter. My guess is there are some backroom deals for Loella Haskew or Dave Powell to run. :( Here's to hoping we get another independent candidate in the race that can represent the WHOLE city and not just the special interests.
Jim July 26, 2012 at 04:52 PM
"and he intends to meet with a legal team soon to ask about the possible conflicts of interest." Not a good start. Someone get this guy a political advisor! Whether officially illegal or just a grey area if you have to ask this question me thinks running is a bad idea....
jeff July 26, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Sheesh; I just like my town and want to help. Yes, I must check with my firm to make sure there is no conflict of interest. I don't want to put my firm, my job, the people I work with or my City in a position that is not appropriate. It's interesting that folks are commenting about my relationship with my father. In fact, I haven't even spoken to him about it at this point; guess I should now. As for what he has done for the City, I think it's great. He genuinely cares for the City and what we have going for us. I have a family and young kids and want them to experience what I had growing up. I also don't think the City should stay stagnant; a lot of what we have today would not have been possible without this "growth" that people are so concerned about. Vote for me if you'd like, don't if you think there is someone better (that is, if I even run). I've met Barry and think he is a great person. All the best to each of the candidates and I look forward to helping the City in any capacity I can. Jeff Pickett (and proud of what my parents have done for the City and area)
jeff July 26, 2012 at 06:10 PM
And further, seems reasonable to meet with a legal team to discuss possible conflicts, as opposed to not meeting with them and not caring about potential conflicts.
michael frederick July 26, 2012 at 06:33 PM
WCI, I appreciate your input and it's not the first time someone has accused me of being over the top. It's not about "MF" -- just "WC." The facts are what they are. I think the inbred reference is an entirely appropriate description of the way things operate downtown, coming from someone who for many years has had an intense interest in viewing the proceedings. That encapsulates my opinion of Council's death-grip on succession and sense of entitlement. My opinions should be open to public debate. I don't really care whether you agree with me, as long as you aren't in the BUSINESS of denouncing irrefutable facts to deceive everyone to make your case.
jeff July 26, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Michael, Good use of Caps Lock on the keyboard. As for irrefutable facts, what are yours? "Inbred"? As far as I know, my parents weren't related prior to marriage (and I don't think I married a relative). If you'd like facts, ask me.
cj1794 July 26, 2012 at 07:02 PM
So your dad is a sitting city planning commissioner and was the chainman of the city's Blue Ribbon Task Force for Fiscal Health and you didn't even talk before pulling papers to run for city council? o....k....
michael frederick July 26, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Jeff, The irrufatable facts I have are that we have a potential candidate who seeks to sit on Council to review his daddy's Planning Commission advocacy to benefit the building profession he makes a living at. The facts I have are that this candidate doesn't mention such as a conflict of interest. The facts I have are that we see a candidate that sells pro-building as an objective opinion, instead of the source of nutrition he depended upon growing up. Politically "inbred" refers to the pro-building and commercial industries restricting political participation in WC to people who pledge allegiance to them and who are generally dependent upon them for support. That you choose to address whom mom and dad married speaks to relevancy -- no one cares.
Lady Sotelo July 27, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Wow. Being new to the area, I could see why no one fresh would be interested in participating in city issues. This young man has simply stated an interest and you've already skinned him alive. Albeit from a position of safety, behind your computer. Last time I checked, facts and opinions were different, yet when arguing "irrefutable facts", Mr. Frederick, you stated nothing but your OWN opinion on the facts. How do you know for a fact that this young man is in cahoots with his father nor even discussed this with him? Again, your opinion is that he has and someone else's opinion is that getting legal advice is a bad thing? Stating that the city has grown is not that much of a stretch. I've only been through town twice before moving here and it's obvious that the city has changed. As well, political participation is only restricted to those who choose to participate and it's clear how you all treat those who do just that... Not very good at building community bridges are you? Pun intended. Thank goodness no one you know assisted any local communities in their growth. Oh, wait, there's that tunnel and bridge you keep talking about...
michael frederick July 27, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Lady Sotelo, Briefly, no one mentioned "bridges." Your logic is as contrived and tortured as your puns. The facts are above for those who can read. They are independent of crazy.
jeff July 27, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Michael (and anyone, for that matter), I don't think I've ever refered to my father as "Daddy"; I don't recall much before the age of 3/4, but I think I've always called him "Dad". Your "facts", as you state them, are merely your interpretations of my views. I am neither pro building nor anti building; it depends. I would never support a new building where Civic Park is located, however, I have seen the land at the corner of Ygnacio and Oak Grove sit vacant for years. It might be nice to see something there, such as a park, a restaurant or yes, maybe even an office building. I am more than willing to sit down with you to discuss my positions. Attacks on me or my family, especially on the internet, are not needed and cowardly. However, questions, opinions and disagreements regarding my views are appropriate and I think best done in public and face to face.
michael frederick July 27, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Jeff, I appreciate your last entry as reasoned -- skewed but reasoned. That's better than what is normal for this city. However, it should be painfully obvious that the concern here is over WC -- you and your family are irrelevant, except as they pertain to the city. Focusing your commentary upon whom mom and dad married, "daddy", attacks on "me or my family", etc. are meant to be nothing beyond evasive -- BECAUSE NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU PERSONALLY!!! I don't know you and I don't care. It is about you and yours PUBLICLY. I don't care about reassurances that you don't converse with your dad, or any other stupid rhetoric. This is about WC leadership that isn't challenged enough to pretend to not see the ***APPEARANCE of impropriety*** to having son (ANY son, not necessarily "Jeff") sit on Council and preside over Builder dad (ANY dad, not necessarily "Bob") sitting on Planning Commission. Reassurances concerning your objectivity are simply words that fly in the face of reason. I don't put city before family and your contention that you do doesn't square with calls for "family oriented." Simply, if you can't appreciate the need to avoid the appearance of impropriety, it is an issue and you are unfit -- right out of the gate. Rather than serve the city, your election discredits it by casting a longer shadow of impropriety over City Hall. No sane person is going to accept Council member "Jeff": "I'm going to have to go with Commissioner Bob on this one..."
michael frederick July 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Jeff, I've had long conversations, oral and written, with Sue Rainey regarding concerns over credibility and accountability of Council and its appointments. I don't know, or really care, what the connection is between grandma McNulty and Ms. Rainey but, I presume she is your sponsor. She should have enough public service experience to appreciate what the over-arching issue is, here, if you still don't. You might want to go visit, as apparently my words don't communicate obvious concerns clearly enough.
JM Hogan July 27, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I couldn't tell whether your remark about the corner of Ygnacio and Oak Grove was a subtle reference to support for the proposed project or whether you are unaware of what has been proposed for that parcel by Safeway. If it's the latter, the corner of Ygnacio and Oak Grove is being studied right now through the Shadelands Gateway Specific Plan Advisory Committee for Safeway to build a new store there. It's been reported in the Times and on here and there's information of the city website if you are interested.
David P August 01, 2012 at 08:00 PM
SR - I have read your comment here. I would like to assure you that there have been NO backroom meetings or deals that are being arranged, at least that I am aware of, regarding my running for City Council. Have people asked? Sure they have, and I have answered them one-on-one with my thoughts -- and for right now, one-on-one is how I prefer to answer it. And, by the way, that is NOT how I operate. I have tried to be very open and honest about my activities in our city. Although not every decision I have made has been well-received, I have tried to clearly provide my reasoning. I have met one-on-one with various people in our community and, believe me, these are people who do not always agree with how our city is led nor what the PC does. These are people who post often on WCPatch. Why meet with them? Because it is important to get people's opinions and provide them with mine if they wish to hear it. I had/have no ulterior motive in meeting with folks; just to get a better understanding -- and I like to chat over coffee. So, please, before you decide to make assumptions about me, call me and ask me; I will tell you -- but only face-to-face. Call me or email me and we can meet soon! Whether you agree with me or not (and sorry, I have no plans to leave the Planning Commission at this point as I have four more years), please know that I always strive to be open and honest. No benefit to act otherwise. Dave

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