Albany City Council Selects Mayor, Makes Appointments to Boards, Committees and Commissions

Peggy Thomsen is mayor again.

At its meeting Monday, the Albany City Council selected Peggy Thomsen as mayor, Joanne Wile as vice mayor, and made the following appointments: 

Traffic & Safety Commission

Farid Javandel (Atkinson)

Peggy McQuaid (Barnes)

Susan Reeves (Thomsen)

Ken McCroskey (Wile)

John Miki (Maass)


Arts Committee

Cheryl Black (Atkinson)

Jules Kobelin-Arts (Atkinson)

Peter Goodman (Barnes)

Jacqueline Armstrong (Thomsen)

Susan Adame (Wile)


Community Media Access Committee

Ellen Toomey (Atkinson)

Stefanie Kalman (Wile)


Sustainability Committee

Max Wei (Atkinson)

Robert Uhrhammer (Barnes)

Charles Blanchard (Thomsen)


Waterfront Committee

Gordon McCarter (Atkinson)

Brian Johns (Barnes)

Francesco Papalia (Thomsen)


Library Board

Alan Riffer (Barnes)

Karen Leeburg (Wile)


Parks & Recreation Commission

Tod Abbott (Barnes)

Gary Class (Thomsen)

Heather Cunningham (Wile)


Civil Service Board

Robert Cheasty (Maass)

Jack Rosano (Thomsen)


Charter Review Committee

Caryl O’Keefe (Thomsen)


Social & Economic Justice Commission

Ruth Cashmere (Wile)

Allan Maris December 19, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Peggy, Congratulations! You deserve to be Mayor, and Albany deserves the benefits of your leadership. Thanks for your enduring service to Albany.
Michael December 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Bad idea! The Mayor should be elected, not appointed. Albany is SO backward politically!
Paul O'Curry December 19, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Michael .... The Mayor is elected .... by fellow council members.. who ...perhaps know the person well !! What better system might you suggest.
Michael December 19, 2012 at 11:43 PM
That's the problem Paul, they "know" the candidate. You've heard of cronyism? Here you have it. The better system is to vote for the Mayor, the Mayor of Albany is appointed, not elected. Can you imagine the Mayor of San Francisco being appointed? Absurd!
Ross Stapleton-Gray December 20, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Albany has what would be called a "weak mayor" system; while the mayor presides over Council activities, he or she is more one of the five elected to guide the City's management by the... City Manager. I'm quite happy with a situation where we have numerous part-time council and commission members, and a full-time managerial staff to then implement policy and run day-to-day operations.
Peggy McQuaid December 20, 2012 at 01:22 AM
The voters of Albany turned the idea of a directly elected Mayor several years ago.
Peggy McQuaid December 20, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Let me try again. The voters rejected the proposal for a directly elected Mayor.
Paul O'Curry December 20, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Yes I have heard of cronyism .... Willie Brown.... Gavin Newsom .... Ed Lee....enough for you?
rex higginbotham December 20, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Congrats Peggy! You have had the highest vote total in two elections.
Michael December 20, 2012 at 02:17 AM
That should be changed given the current situation. Albany is stuck with an in place network of "old boys." Change the charter to be transparent.
Paul O'Curry December 20, 2012 at 02:22 AM
You might take a look ...... There are no old boys on the City council ... even a majority of well qualified women !
Winifred Owen December 20, 2012 at 06:44 AM
Wow - this one of the most politically naive comments I've come across in a while. (Obviously Michael doesn't know much about Albany or the way it works best. And will continue to work best.)
Winifred Owen December 20, 2012 at 06:49 AM
A particular benefit of Albany's system is that the mayorship rotates among the City Council members - we aren't "stuck" with the same person for four years. Albany is in no way comparable to San Francisco or larger cities where perhaps that type of mayoral system works best.
Michael December 20, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Transparency is always best. That's my point.
Ross Stapleton-Gray December 20, 2012 at 07:09 AM
No, that's a cartoonish position. Let's say that former Council member Lieber had gotten his direct-election mayor proposal into law, and we'd elected any particular Albanian as mayor. Are we going to then carp about each decision that person made, because he or she hadn't made it a question up to community vote? My god, where's the transparency?? At every level, from here on up to the U.S. Congress and Presidency, we elect representatives of our interests. We've actually just seen a great counterexample re transparency, in the petition to require a special election referendum on the Council decision to ok UC's development plans for its property. We all get to vote, hurrah! But the stunt to jam that stick in the spokes of City governance was all smoke and mirrors, with signers not told various pertinent details, e.g., what it would cost, why what was approved was no "mega mall," etc.
Michael December 20, 2012 at 09:53 AM
Yes, Ross, there is deception everywhere. I think it is better to vote for someone and carp than allow a few to select their positions. In any group like a city council there is bound to be favoritism, cronyism, you know that. The vote is part of our democracy, the "appointment" is not.
Dover December 20, 2012 at 06:11 PM
"The vote is part of our democracy, the "appointment" is not." The vote on Measure Y in November of 2008 was also a "part of our democracy."
Caryl O'Keefe December 20, 2012 at 08:42 PM
"Michael" who asserts "transparency is always best" posts with a first name only.
Winifred Owen December 20, 2012 at 09:37 PM
He clearly lacks political sophistication, at least as regards Albany, and the basic concept of the type of mayorship that is most appropriate to a small town such as ours. He may be considered a johnny-come-lately (if at all) who hopped on a while back to post in support of the illegal trespassing at the Gill Tract.
Michael December 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Winifred, I really don't believe Albany and "political sophistication" belong in the same phrase. I'll ignore the slight. I really thought that by posting an opinion on Patch there would not be so many "political sophisticates" who would attack me rather than the issue.
Michael December 20, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Caryl, you're right about keeping myl name out of this. But I noticed that there were many here who used a name that might not be their own. Given the personal attacks I think it's probably safer to keep my privacy for awhile. If I find I would like to join a discussion again, I will do as you say.
Michael December 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Elvis has left the building.
Alan Eckert December 20, 2012 at 11:01 PM
"No, that's a cartoonish position." "one of the most politically naive comments I've come across in a while" "There are no old boys on the City council " "Well intended, but ignorantly based decisions: Yes; - but "cronyism"? No. The LARGEST FLAW is in how the Council and Committees execute Roberts Rules. " These are all debates about the positions you are presenting here, not a personal attack. ""Michael" who asserts "transparency is always best" posts with a first name only." This is also not a personal attack, but merely an example of hypocrisy regarding your positions. The only personal comment comes well after your "positions" have been stated (sort of), and even then it was a characterization based on your positions and general lack of knowledge as it appears to more informed readers.
Dover December 21, 2012 at 01:13 AM
"I really don't believe Albany and "political sophistication" belong in the same phrase." Approximately 70% of all California mayors are appointed by their respective city councils as opposed to being directly elected by the populace. So while we may be a town of political hayseeds in your sophisticated eyes, Michael, at least we are in good company.
Tatter Salad December 21, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Well intended, but ignorantly based decisions: Yes; - but "cronyism"? No. The LARGEST FLAW is in how the Council and Committees execute Robert's Rules. They error in presenting and narrowly defining a issue, then allowing public comment. AFTER 'Comments' the Council 'has at it', and embraces things that were NOT discussed, and makes their best 'compromise decision' on issues they pulled out of the air (I'm being polite). Example: The Council ' recently compromised the hours and areas of Memorial Park area B (shared Dog and Sports area) partly to assuage complaints by Neighbors to the area. The 'Neighbors' against area B were all from Carmel Street; and their angst was loosely focused -but very real. They were diffusely focused on "what use to be was better". And NOT brought up was that AREA B was just a MINOR change. So what else changed? The Children' Play Area! The 'rug-rat' play area used to be around the corner from where it is now. It used to be between the Tennis Courts and Portland Avenue, closer to the pool. Traffic on Carmel is 4 to 10X that of previous. Parents with pre-schoolers DO NOT take their children to play in an area without first assessing the situation. Parents in the past would check out the playground situation from two-lane Portland Street; they NOW cruise an preferentially park on narrow Carmel Street. The root cause is moving the Play Area, and NOT the dog park. A 'lose-lose' decision followed with all the best 'Council' intentions.


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