Scott Alonso, a Petaluma planning commissioner with experience in government, added his name last week to the growing pool of candidates seeking three city council seats in the November election.

Alonso, 32, works in media relations for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. He served in a similar role for the Sonoma County Department of Health for three years.

He said his experience serving on the influential planning commission has prepared him to tackle what he said is the most pressing issue facing Petaluma, the housing shortage.

“The biggest issue for me is housing,” said Alonso, who rents a house on the east side with roommates. “We don’t have enough housing for folks that are in the working class. That’s a huge challenge.”

He said the city can take steps to solve the crisis by requiring developers to build more affordable units or pay higher fees for affordable housing, a policy the council is currently debating.

Other issues he said he would like to tackle include bolstering Petaluma’s transit network and alleviating traffic. He said he is supportive of building the Rainier crosstown connector, if the city can come up with the funding.

“Rainier as a concept makes sense,” he said. “We need more crosstown connectivity. The challenge is the financing. That’s a big price tag.”

A member of the Sonoma County Library Foundation, he said he believes strongly in literacy and supporting early education and expanding the Petaluma Library, which is on city-owned land.

Alonso also serves on the local Democratic Central Committee, and he worked for state Assemblyman Marc Levine. Originally from San Mateo County, he has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaii and a master’s in public affairs from University of San Francisco.

Alonso is the seventh candidate to announce a city council campaign. Other candidates include Robert Conklin, D’Lynda Fischer, Kevin McDonnell, Dennis Pocekay, Michael Regan and incumbent Councilman Dave King. Incumbent Councilman Chris Albertson is not seeking reelection, and incumbent Councilwoman Teresa Barrett is running for the open mayor seat, where she faces former Councilman Mike Harris. The deadline to file paperwork to make the ballot is Aug. 15.

Alonso declined to give himself a traditional political label.

“I think I’m pragmatic,” he said. “I want to get stuff done. I want to be independent. I care a lot about equality issues and social justice.”

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