Seventeen-year Concord City Council veteran Helen Allen will not seek re-election, the second of three incumbents that has stepped away from the Nov. 2 election .
Councilman Guy Bjerke has also bowed out.
As a result of the two incumbents’ decisions, the candidate filing deadline is extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Councilwoman Laura Hoffmeister has said she will run again. Four challengers have filed their paperwork and others are expected to submit their names for the ballot by the time the deadline hits.
Allen’s decision to leave the council does not come as a complete surprise. Her husband of more than 40 years, Bill, died in March, and she has been adjusting to life without her partner.
She also came under public fire in recent months over a letter she signed, as a commissioner on the Local Agency Formation Commission, that was used in a controversial Brentwood urban growth boundary campaign in June.
Allen, 70, says the letter flap played no role in her decision nor was she worried about the ongoing criticism of her split residency between her Sacramento house and her sister’s Concord condo.
It was time to move aside and make room for fresh faces on the council, she said.
Allen tried to leave the council in 2006 but made the decision not to run after she filed the candidacy paperwork. Legally, her name remained on the ballot and she won re-election even though she did not campaign.
She may be leaving the council but Allen, 70, says she has no plans to retire from public life.
“I have a whole bunch of options in front of me,” Allen said late today. “But I love the city’s people. I enjoyed the job. I have had a lot of good times and experiences and positive relationships.”
Allen has served on the Concord council since 1993. She was a city planning commissioner prior to her election, and was also mayor of Clayton.
As to her plans, “I am not going to move into a retirement home and disappear, that’s for sure,” said the feisty Allen. “I’ve been mayor of two cities now. Maybe I’ll move to another town. I wonder how many people have been mayor of three cities?”