2014 race heats up early

While no one in Petaluma will be headed to the polls to vote on Nov. 5, that hasn't stopped council members and city staff from gearing up for next year's election.

There are no local elections or ballot measures in Petaluma this year, but the 2014 Petaluma City Council race is already taking shape. Several candidates are planning to run for four open seats. Meanwhile, city staff is preparing for next year's election, working to hire a firm that will conduct polling on a possible sales tax measure.

Adding to the 2014 election mix is the Petaluma Health Care District's decision over who will run Petaluma Valley Hospital. The district's 20-year lease with St. Joseph Health is expiring in a few years, and the district must decide whether to renew the lease with St. Joseph or explore other options. Depending on its decision, the district may have to put the matter to voters.

Here's an update on the 2014 candidates and campaigns already underway.

City Council race

Mayor David Glass announced his re-election campaign during the summer of 2012 with former Mayor Pam Torliatt, who will be running for a City Council seat. Soon after, Councilmember Mike Harris threw his hat into the mayoral race.

"It's not like I'm actively campaigning," said Harris, who has recently been photographed at many public events throughout town. "I'm just doing what I've always done — going to events that I've been invited to."

Harris, who held a small fundraising event last week, admits that he hadn't planned on announcing his campaign so early. He says he did so to keep pace with Glass.

Glass, who held a campaign fundraiser event in late September with Torliatt, said his campaign is going well.

"There were several hundred people (at the event), mostly from Petaluma and some from throughout the county," said Glass. "It was great to see so many friends."

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