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November election takes shape

With the smell of campaign kickoff barbecues in the air and signs for candidates and ballot measures popping up in yards, its clear that election season is underway.

Aug. 15 marked the final deadline for putting a candidate or cause on the ballot, so Petalumans can now see what they'll be asked to weigh in on in November.

Six candidates will be vying for three City Council seats, including incumbents Gabe Kearney, Tiffany Ren?, and Mike Healy.

Also running will be planning commissioner Alicia Kae Herries, technology business executive Jason Davies and business attorney and former planning commissioner Kathy Miller.

Kearney, head of emergency planning and disaster preparedness for Kaiser Permanente in Sonoma and Marin Counties, was the first to announce that he would run for reelection. He ran unsuccessfully for council two years ago, then was appointed to a two-year term in early 2011 following David Glass's election to mayor in 2010. He's been an active member of the Sonoma County Young Democrats and has said he prides himself on bringing a youthful, new perspective to the council.

Herries, an executive coordinator at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. in Novato, was the next to announce her candidacy. She was appointed to the Planning Commisison in 2010 and her term runs through 2014. Before being appointed to the commission, she opposed the East Washington Place shopping center and organized opposition to a controversial dentist's office building project on El Rose Drive.

Herries has also been involved in a number of community groups, including being Officer-at-Large for the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women and volunteering with Rebuilding Together and the Petaluma Downtown Association.

Councilmember and Vice Mayor Tiffany Ren? announced that she would run in mid-July, citing ongoing city budget issues as one of her main reasons for running again.

First elected to City Council in 2008, Ren? put in a bid this spring for the congressional seat that Rep. Lynn Woolsey will be vacating at the end of the year. She finished 8th of 12 candidates in the June primary.

During her time on council, Ren?, who owns a web design company, has sat on numerous boards, including that of the Sonoma County Transportation Agency. She has also tended to vote for tighter restrictions on development projects and voted to deny the East Washington Place (Target) and Deer Creek Village (Friedman's) shopping center proposals. This summer, she proposed a sales tax increase to address the city's budget problems.

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