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Helen Allen will not seek re-election

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, August 5th, 2010 at 4:53 pm in 2010 election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

Helen Allen

Helen Allen

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?”

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  • http://www.PulseOfConcord.com EdiBirsan

    The last few years have seen a constant decline in her popularity though her comments in the City Council for the same period might make an interesting YouTube video, they clearly enflamed the opposition including myself.

    Interesting that she would think to run for Mayor elsewhere. I wonder what residence she would use? It would also be interesting to see how the domicile rules would be bent in those issues. This is one of the reasons that I have advocated a stricter view of domicile along lines of maintaining a primary residence and occupancy for 200 days/nights in a year as a requirement for City elected officials.
    Edi

    PS You can reach me at
    EdiBirsan AT astound DOT net

  • Mary Nejedly Piepho

    Helen will be missed. She is a leader with true grit, good humor and a compassion for those she serves. Helen is willing to stand up and defend what she believes in and has been a true public servant. I will miss working with Helen, but know that her heart will always be in service to her community. God bless you Helen Allen! M.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    I agree with Mary. Sue Rainey, also age 70, is retiring when her term ends as Walnut Creek Mayor. She was also Mayor of Moraga previously. Honesty, good humor, and dedication have been the hallmarks of both these local public servants. These are not jobs you get into for the money or power.

  • Arne Simonsen

    I’m with Mary & Ralph. One thing for sure about Helen Allen is that she is not afraid to speak up on topics which are controversial; even if what she says in unpopular by some.
    We need more politicians who are not afraid to speak up for what they believe is right.
    And Helen and I always didn’t agree on several topics; but her sense of humor meant that we could disagree and still be friends.
    We should be thanking Helen and Sue Rainey for having served their respective cities and the regional bodies they served on our behalf.