Former San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson says he pulled papers for a potential new run for the city's top elected position at the urging of residents.
Wilson said he's considering a bid for the mayor's slot after receiving calls from residents asking him to enter the race, citing 32 calls thanking him for even considering a run.
"I have not decided. I'm still going back and forth with my family," Wilson said.
Current Mayor Bill Clarkson has already filed the necessary paperwork to run for re-election in November when his first two-year term is up. Others hoping for one of two seats on City Council include incumbent Dave Hudson, Rene Matsumoto and attorney Thomas Von Thury. Planning Commissioner Harry Sachs filed paperwork Tuesday.
Incumbent City Councilman Jim Livingstone might be out of the running.
"I still haven't decided (to run), but I don't think so," Livingstone said. "That's my thinking right now."
Wilson, meanwhile, said he's happy to be a private citizen, but said he and his supporters have concerns with how the city is being run under Clarkson's leadership. Those concerns include the city's decision to bow out of Tri-Valley Community Television, TV 30, and switch council meetings to Contra Costa Television, a move that saved the city about $75,000 a year.
"I think the majority of people now don't know where to find City Council meetings," Wilson said, adding that the city's involvement with TV 30 "is not only for the residents of San Ramon, but for the Tri-Valley."
He said he has similar concerns about the city's decision to drop its contract with lobbyist group Jordan and Associates, which saved San Ramon about $20,000 a year. City Manager Greg Rogers said with earmarks -- commonly known as pork projects -- no longer allowed by Congress, he didn't think the firm brought in enough "bang for the buck."
"The cities here are independently dependent on each other," Wilson said, explaining that by working with Jordan and Associates, the five Tri-Valley cities working together have brought in money for transportation and a radio network that allows emergency workers from Contra Costa and Alameda counties to talk directly with each other.
Wilson is also concerned with trees in San Ramon, which has become a hot topic in the city. In parts of Dougherty Valley, Contra Costa County allowed developers to plant trees with extensive root systems that are pulling up sidewalks and interfering with water and electric service as well.
He estimated the cost to San Ramon to be about $10 million, and said the city should look to get that money back from the county and the developers involved.
The city's charter appears to contain language that would bar Wilson from taking office even if he is elected. Article III says, "No elected Mayor shall serve for more than four two year terms or eight years total."
Wilson termed out two years ago. He said the charter was passed late at night after a lengthy session, and that language originally proposed, allowing a mayor to take office again after a time away, was omitted from the final language in the charter.
"Obviously, the term 'consecutive' isn't in there," he said.
Interim City Attorney Robert Saxe said changing the charter to allow Wilson to take office as mayor again would have to be done by a ballot measure.
"In fact, there is a charter amendment on the ballot for November about changing the election dates. It would be the same process," Saxe said, adding, "If he files, it's obviously an issue that would have to be dealt with."
"I'm not sure I want to put the city through that," Wilson said.
Wilson or his supporters could file a petition asking that a charter amendment be added to the upcoming election, but City Clerk Pat Edwards said there's not enough time to accomplish all that would need to be done to get on the ballot.
According to California election law, language from the petition and a written statement would have to be approved by the city attorney. After that, the petition would have to be posted in three public locations for 10 days.
Only then would Wilson or one of his supporters be able to circulate a petition. Edwards said Aug. 9 is the latest a petition could be filed.
Wilson said he has no interest in running for a seat on City Council, saying while he may disagree with some of the candidates from time to time, he thinks they all have the best interests of San Ramon in mind.