Dave King is the only incumbent on the ballot for Petaluma City Council this year, but he’s treating this fall’s race like he’s a newcomer.
“I’m running a campaign like I’m behind,” said King, 61. “You get complacent in these things, that’s how you lose – in anything.”
The local civil rights attorney and 27-year Petaluma resident is seeking his second-term on the dais, as one of seven candidates vying for three city council seats. On the trail to the Nov. 6 election, King is emphasizing the city’s desperate need for road repairs, continued progress on crosstown connectors like Rainier and Caulfield, and enforcing the affordable housing regulations the council is set to finalize on Monday.
He is also pushing for park maintenance and uncovering funding sources to complete the new baseball complex.
“I think it’s important to really listen to everybody in the community – whether they’ve supported you or not in getting where you are – because that’s your job,” King said. “Listening to everybody is one thing, but there’s a difference between listening and agreeing. (Residents) communicate important things that get brought into decision-making.”
King, who was the top vote-getter in the 2014 election, has been practicing law in the same downtown office on Keller Street since 1992. He attended law school at Golden Gate University in San Francisco after earning a journalism degree at the University of Rhode Island.
King is a New York native and was born in Port Washington, Long Island.
He met his wife, Lynn, in law school. She works part-time at his practice, and together they have two daughters, Carrie, 28, and Katie, 21.
During his first term on the council, King served in a number of capacities including vice mayor in 2016, and was council liaison to the city’s planning commission, parks and recreation commission and youth commission, among others.
Perhaps his most notable appointment was as the city’s first representative on Sonoma Clean Power’s board of directors. King is an advocate for increased use of renewable energy, and said he wants to see those services expanded.
Of course, for Petalumans, everything starts and ends with one key issue.
“What the people really want is some road repair,” King said. “I was glad to see we’re putting a little more money in, and I’m urging people to vote ‘no’ on Prop. 6. I think that would be a disaster for our region if we lose the gas tax. Road repair will be reduced by at least a quarter, and we won’t get (Highway) 101 widened through the city for a while – a long while.”
When it comes to his qualifications, King confidently pointed toward his voting record on the council, and its achievements the last four years. In 2017, he helped author the city’s human rights ordinance that protected undocumented immigrants from being handed over to federal authorities if they haven’t been detained for a serious crime.
Other highlights were infrastructure-related, like the purple pipe expansion that recycles treated wastewater. King, who identifies as an independent, was also instrumental on votes for regulating cannabis businesses, short-term vacation rentals and sidewalk repairs.
“I really think the city council has achieved quite a bit in four years,” he said. “We’ve moved a lot of things along and we’ve done it, not in total agreement all the time, but with some degree of focus on what we’re doing as opposed to which side of the phantom aisle – because it’s seven democrats up there. There’s no aisle. It’s made up. So I work to combat that where I can. It may not be reality, but it’s certainly how I like to approach it.”