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Redwood City Council sets Castle’s ship away

By ngonzales
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 at 6:17 pm in Uncategorized.

John “Jack” Castle finds himself a bit adrift right now. But he could soon be making political waves heading into the Redwood City council elections this November.

Castle’s 20-year tenure as a Port of Redwood City commissioner will end this summer after the council Monday night chose not to reappoint him to another five-year term. His seat expires July 31.

“I’m very disappointed,” Castle said outside Council Chambers right after the decision. “I’m disheartened with the direction the council has taken.”

That direction is to have former Mayor Dick Claire replace Castle on the commission.

Castle said there had been talk about bringing new blood to the commission, but he found it ironic that it will be someone very familiar with city government.

Claire “has been a critic of the port without any basis, in my feeling,” added Castle, who will leave as the commission’s chairman.

Mayor Barbara Pierce acknowledged that she and her council colleagues “talked about bringing other types of experiences to the port. It was a really difficult decision.”

She believes Claire offers a different perspective for the commission. “He has long been interested in bringing the port and city closer, perhaps in terms of planning,” she said.

Claire said he’s not a critic of the port’s operations. “I think it’s well-run,” he said. But “I’m concerned there’s not a great deal of forward-looking and planning in the current port commission, and I think I can bring that.”

Pierce said Castle “has been a very strong voice for the industrial sector out at the port. He has served well, and I hope he’ll continue to be involved in other areas.”

Indeed, Castle may get involved in a big way. His ouster from the port could turn into a bid for a council seat in the November elections. “I’m thinking about it,” he said.

Castle’s possible candidacy could spice up a council race that has shown a lack of interest to this point. The elections feature four open seats, including the mayor’s. So far, only council incumbent Alicia Aguirre and Kevin Bondonno, the chairman of the city Housing and Human Concerns Committee, have filed candidacy intentions.

Meanwhile, the council Monday reappointed Ralph Garcia Jr. to the port commission.

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