From left Dominic Aliano (District 3), Laura Hoffmeister (District 1), Patti Barsotti (City Treasurer) and Tim McGallian (District 5) celebrate almost certain victory for Aliano and Hoffmeister on election night. Barsotti and McGallian ran unopposed. (photo by Tamara Steiner)
In Concord’s first election since switching to district voting, Laura Hoffmeister defeated Ron Leone and Judith Herman with 40 percent of the vote. In District 3, which covers most of the Monument corridor, voters chose Dominic Aliano by a wide margin over Kenji Yamada. Tim McGallian ran unopposed from District 5.
Hoffmeister will be returning to the council for a sixth term and McGallian for a second. Aliano currently serves on the Planning Commission.
Only Districts 1, 3 and 5 held elections this year. Carlyn Obringer and Edi Birsan will face the voters in Districts 2 and 4 respectively in 2020. In the meantime, they serve as at-large members of the council.
The challenge in the coming year will be how best to balance the needs of their districts against the needs of the city as a whole.
Hoffmeister and McGallian, whose districts cover most of the 94519 and 94521 zip codes and part of 94518, say the issues in their district are mainly traffic, roads and crime. “These are no different than the rest of the city,” McGallian said. Hoffmeister added “getting homeless off the streets and into treatment” as another priority.
District 3 is more challenging, with housing, rising rents and street parking at the top of the list. Housing has been a crucial issue for at least the last two years. Aliano favors rent stabilization and a just cause eviction ordinance.
In a district with about 27,000 residents and 5,900 registered voters, where fewer than 3,000 cast ballots, Aliano sees outreach as key to representing his district. He plans regular neighborhood and town hall meetings and wants the city to partner with a non-profit to start a Boys and Girls Club. “It’s crucial to give kids a safe and comfortable place to go to build their skills.”
The city has been working on a revitalization program to address blight and vacancies in some shopping centers in all the districts. Aliano agrees code enforcement is important but takes a cautionary stance.
“I want the businesses that are thriving to continue to do well,” he said. “I want to make sure we don’t do anything to hurt their chances for success.”
All three agree that, while elected from their districts, they represent the city as a whole.
Operating in this new environment will take some coaching and training, says McGallian. The new council will hold several “best practices” workshops on how to manage the allocation of resources and how they want to work together. “We want to avoid everyone trying to run to their own corner.”
The newly elected council members will be sworn in at the Dec. 4 meeting. Vice-mayor Obringer is expected to advance to mayor and McGallian to be named vice-mayor.