Our City Council picks
Choosing city council members presents a number of challenges, one of which is to achieve a balance of perspectives, interests and passions, including a healthy tension between policies promoting business, protecting the environment and preserving quality of life. Council members must also be cautious managers of the city’s money and serve as the eyes, ears and voices of the people they serve.
So let’s consider the candidates.
Laurie Gallian is an incumbent and, despite what her campaign signs state, she is not running for re-election, she is running to be elected. Four years ago, as one of only two candidates running to fill two seats, she and Mayor Joanne Sanders were appointed by council vote.
Gallian can grate on some people’s nerves by virtue of a propensity for verbose speech. She would be a more effective communicator if she could just get out of the way of her own words.
That said, she is one of the best-prepared members of the council, she has immersed herself deeply in a broad range of policy issues and she has generally demonstrated, we believe, sound judgment on a number of complex matters facing the city.
She has four years of institutional memory and many council members will tell you it takes one term, at least, to become a truly effective council member. We think Gallian can and will improve, and is worthy of re-election.
David Cook is an exceptionally committed public citizen and businessman with an unquestioned commitment to the best interests of Sonoma. He speaks frequently and passionately about the need to preserve and improve the city’s business climate, and for all that we applaud him.
But, this is his second campaign for city council and after reviewing his public statements and interview responses, we are a little disappointed with the absence of innovative insights to inspire business growth and development. Cook would be a solid and competent city council member. We’re not sure he would provide much innovative leadership.
On paper, Madolyn Agrimonti has outstanding qualifications. Her resume includes 12 years on the Daly City City Council, she has served on the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board and as chair of the Sonoma Community Center.
But we’re not sure she has lived here long enough to really understand Sonoma, and we haven’t seen much evidence of creative, innovative leadership. We see her as a conciliator and a cheerleader but not the source of distinctly new energy for the city council.
Which brings us to Cameron Stuckey, on paper the least qualified person running for a City Council seat. Stuckey has no administrative or elective experience, he has owned his own (very) small business and he is a physical fitness trainer – not an imposing resume.
That said, he is the most energetic, enthusiastic and compelling spokesperson for Sonoma we have met. His energy level and personality are magnetic, and he bubbles over with new, creative ideas. Some may work, some may be hare-brained, but he injects into everything a level of excitement and enthusiasm that is absent in every other candidate.
Stuckey is refreshing, he’s innovative and, we hate to have to say this – but Stuckey himself will say it – he’s African American and therefore brings a bit of diversity historically lacking in the city’s governance.
We therefore recommend Laurie Gallian and Cameron Stuckey for election to the Sonoma City Council.