OK voters, the ball is now in your court
RP, Cotati and Penngrove ballots will be piling up in local polling places Nov. 6
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By Jud Snyder and Dave Williams  November 2, 2012 12:00 am

Voters in Rohnert Park, Cotati and Penngrove are counting the hours, not so much the days, when Tuesday Nov. 6 rolls around and they at last have the true decisions in their ballots. Political polltaker gurus, computer survey savants and endless TV ads have all had their say. Their disappearance was quietly hailed with a sigh of relief.  

Due to redistricting of political borders there’ll be a bit of confusion for the shifts will bring up new names on our ballots. California does this every ten years following a state census.

This year’s election is somewhat different from previous ones in that Rohnert Park, Sonoma County’s third largest city, does not have a city council contest on the ballot. The trio of council members chose to run again for four more years, and nobody in RP’s 43,000 or so population opted to challenge them. This is a first for the city, but it’s no more than somewhat of a sad historical footnote. The only contest for RP voters will be four challengers – incumbents Karyn Pulley and Ed Gilardi, Jennifer Wiltermood and Michael Bowcut – for two seats on the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees.

This throws any headline-grabbing, election turbulence into the arms o the community famed for its politically tuned citizenry – Cotati.                                                         
The makeup of the Cotati City Council could change dramatically when voters go to the polls.

Or it could see only one minor change should incumbents Mayor Susan Harvey and John Dell’Osso hold onto their seats. Victories by Harvey and Dell’Osso would mean there will be only one new council member, with ex-councilman George Barich, Wendy Skillman and write-in candidate Alden Olmsted vying for the seat being vacated by Janet Orchard.

Skillman, who is on the city’s planning commission, is making her first run at political office. She was appointed to the commission by Harvey. It also is the first political race for Olmsted, who said he is a supporter of Measure U, which will ban all roundabouts, traffic circles or any other similar type structure in Cotati.

Barich is a known commodity, having been elected to and recalled from the city council. He’s made repeated unsuccessful runs for the council.

Cotati also has two measures of importance on the ballot. Measure U would ban roundabouts or similar traffic changes in the city and Measure Z would increase funding for the Rancho Adobe Fire District.

Polling places in all three cities are listed in the sample ballot registered voters have already received. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Many have already voted by mail; last minute voters can bring their filled-in ballots to the Registrar of Voters by 8 p.m. on Fiscal Drive in the county complex in Santa Rosa.

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