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Uilkema to retire from Contra Costa supervisors

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 at 11:44 am in Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

Contra Costa Supervisor Gayle Uilkema announced this morning she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in 2012 despite numerous statements to the contrary in the past year.

Uilkema has faced several major personal political battles in the past year. She has battled ovarian cancer and her colleagues substantially altered her supervisorial district boundaries under the once-a-decade redistricting process. District 2 now includes most of the San Ramon Valley but she no longer represents Martinez, Pinole and Crockett.

It’s undoubtedly welcome news for only declared challenger in the race, Contra Costa Community College Trustee Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda. She will no longer face a veteran incumbent.

But an open seat usually attracts a bigger field.

The Deputy Sheriffs Association and District Attorney Mark Peterson say they are going to recruit a candidate, presumably one who will support higher funding for law enforcement.

Here’s Uilkema’s statement:

Supervisor Gayle B. Uilkema Announces Retirement

 MARTINEZ, CALIFORNIA, (November 15, 2011)….

Supervisor Gayle B. Uilkema of Lafayette has announced that she will be retiring from the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors at the end of her current term of office in January, 2013. Supervisor Uilkema has served on the Board for the past 15 years and has the longest tenure of the current Board Members. Approximately fourteen months remain in her current term of office.

Prior to her election as a Supervisor, Gayle served for 19 years as a Lafayette Council Member and completed four terms as Mayor. She was first elected to the Lafayette City Council in March, 1978.

“I am extremely grateful for the public trust that has been placed in me for such a long time. I would like my constituents to know that they can expect the same diligent representation that my office always provides for the remaining months of my term of office as the Contra Costa Supervisor for District 2.”

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  • John W

    Wish her good health but glad to see we’ll get a new face on the BOS, especially in this new district. Very encouraging that Sheriffs Assn and Peterson are recruiting an alternative candidate, but it would be nice if several good candidates would emerge.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    Interesting face-off between proxies for the two political power players in Contra Costa County: Joan Buchanan (a supporter of Tomi Van de Brooke) and new Contra Costa D.A. Mark Peterson, a possible candidate for Buchanan’s assembly seat in 2014 once she terms out.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    I’m extremely sad to hear of Supervisor Uilkema’s retirement, just when, through redistricting, she came to represent me on the Board. I wish her good health in her retirement.
    Gayle has also served ably as the representative for unincorporared areas of the County on The County Connections Board of Directors.
    I now support Tomi Van de Brooke to replace Gayle, as I know Tomi as the past Chief-of-Staff for Mary N. Piepho.

  • John W

    Methinks we should wait to see who runs and hold their feet to the fire for very specific answers to very specific questions in candidate forums. You know, things like development, retiree costs, balancing public safety vs safety net priorities, etc. Last thing we need is business as usual on the BOS. “Past Chief-of-Staff for Mary Piepho” doesn’t make me want to run out and sign up.

  • Elwood

    @ #2

    Joan Buchanan is a power player?

    God help us, it’s worse than I thought!

  • Pondering the Future

    First lets clear up one thing, why would the D.A. who makes over 200k and has his own office with no term limits, safety retirement and authority run for assembly to take a cut to 94k,no retirement,term limits and no power?
    As to the BOS, Gayle has served well but it is time. This is one of the weakest boards in years and in need of real leadership. Tomi is not it. We don’t need another finger in the wind, party jumping, union pandering elected leader in this County. We are going into a period of even greater financial sacrifice when truly tough choices will have to be made. In a district with such an educated population surely we can find a real leader with some courage and common sense.

  • Raul

    I think it highly unlikely Mark Peterson will be running for state assembly anytime soon. For starters, he would have to take a substantial pay cut. Assembly members make less than Elected District Attorneys. Peterson recently rebuffed efforts by Board of Supervisors to lower his $200,000 a year salary. As I understand it they were asking Peterson and other elected county officials to voluntarily lower their annual salaries in an effort to deal with budget problems, but Peterson balked. So I don’t think Peterson will be in any hurry to leave his $200,000 a year to take a job that pays $136,000. On top of that I think you can make a case that the DA’s job is a far better job than assembly member, DA’s have real power, assembly members, well, you are one of 80 members.
    Additionally, the job of Assembly is a “temp” job, it last just six years, the job of DA’s is one he can hang on to for 20 years, just as long as he gets re-elected every four years. DA’s, historically, have no problem getting re-elected, incumbents usually aren’t challenged except by an occasional token candidate. I think Peterson will DA for a long time, he’s pretty smart, a savvy guy.

  • raul

    Memo to Mark Peterson; A good way to increase budget for DA’s office is to stage raid on Sheriffs office budget, you’ve got fat galore in that budget. Sherriffs office has a paid flack for example, a deputy whose whole job involves fielding telephone calls from reporters. DA’s office under previous leadership was timid, got rolled by Warren Ruph year after year.

  • Patty O’Day

    #6

    I thought Assembly terms were 2 years. At the most they are 4 years, I think. Not 6 years. Can somebody confirm?

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Assembly terms are two years and a member may serve a maximum of three terms, or a total of six years.

  • John W

    The only way I could see Peterson leaving the comparatively well-paid, locally high profile DA job for a “small fish/big lake” position in the state legislature would be if he had ambitions beyond that. State AG, for example. Seems highly unlikely.

  • Rick K.

    This “Tomi” hasn’t declared where she stands on various issues. She is probably a pawn of special interest groups, such as the public employee unions. Raul (#8 above) has a very good point. The sheriff has a fat, plump budget. He and his deputies are masters at the overtime budget. Most of the deputies will retire in their 50′s with $100,000 a year pensions for the rest of their lives. It’s time for the 3% at 50 pension scheme to go. It was approved by then-Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier at the behest of his fat-reared union cronies in Oct. 2002. Marky Mark bought the support of the unions for his political career at the price of bankrupting the county government. If “Tomi” does not call for reforming the 3% at 50 pension scheme, then she does not deserve to sit on the Board of Supervisors.

  • Jones

    Rick K – you are dead on. Having worked at CCC, I can tell you that it is corrupt and full of snide, mediocre, and ethically challenged people. Now some really could not get a job elsewhere, but in my opinion there are a lot of socio/psychopaths who get themselves protected by claiming an ADA issue, and sit there texting their spouse all day long, not accomplishing anything. And here we are, thinking the BOS will do anything about it – well no, they won’t because it’s those very same psychos who support the BOS into office.

  • John W

    Re: #12

    People get up in arms about uber-generous pensions and retiree health benefits. But when somebody tries to do something about the system of political bribery that passes for collective bargaining in the public sector (Schwarzenegger, Wisconsin, Ohio), those same people, few of whom will ever see retirement benefits remotely like those in the public sector, turn on the would-be reformers.