The three lawyers currently serving on the Petaluma City Council – Mike Healy, Kathy Miller, and Dave King – would like to choose Petaluma’s next mayor for you, and they’re attempting to place an item on the agenda of this evening’s (February 26, 2018) meeting to discuss doing just that.
If approved, this evening’s Healy/Miller/King proposal would be debated at the March 5 meeting of the Petaluma City Council. If approved by the council at that time, it would be put before Petaluma voters on the June 2018 ballot.
If approved on that ballot, it would authorize a majority of the Petaluma City Council to annually choose our mayor, who would then serve a one-year term. Nothing in the proposal would prevent the reappointment of the same councilmember as mayor.
Petaluma already has what could be described as a weak-mayor, strong city manager form of governance. The mayor gets to speak for the community as a whole and help set the city’s agenda and goals over the short and longer term.
It will be interesting to hear the rationale for this undemocratic change to Petaluma’s charter. I have never doubted Councilmember Mike Healy’s belief that he knows what’s best for Petaluma, nor his willingness to make decisions on our behalf because he believes he is uniquely well-qualified to do so. But I can’t help but wonder if this is Mr. Healy’s roundabout way of finally adding “Mayor” to his cv. Deeply unpopular amongst a significant portion of the population, but with a dedicated following that has made him our longest serving current councilmember, Healy has little chance of ever being elected to Petaluma’s top post.
As now written, this proposal would preempt the mayoral race currently scheduled to be decided on the November 2018 ballot. Former McCain/Palin, GOP representative Mike Harris – I believe he’s now a registered Democrat – is currently the only announced candidate for mayor of Petaluma, though local liberals and progressives continue to nudge Councilmember Teresa Barrett to join the race, and the search continues for other progressive alternatives.
Read the Healy/Miller/King proposal below.