Two Walnut Creek organizations announced their endorsements for the November City Council race last week.
The Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce put its support behind current Mayor Bob Simmons, Loella Haskew a retired certified public accountant and small business owner Justin Wedel. County prosecutor Barry Grove was the only candidate who did not receive an endorsement.
There are three four-year seats up for grabs. Mayor Pro Tem Kish Rajan's name will appear on the ballot but he has dropped out of the race to take a position with the governor's office.
"The Chamber looked very closely at each of the candidates and determined that these three individuals are ideally suited for Walnut Creek City Council," said Chairman of the Board Angela De La Housaye in a news release. "Given the difficult economic environment we face, it is critical that we elect proven leaders with demonstrated community involvement, a deep understanding of critical issues, and a true willingness to work together toward positive resolutions."
The endorsements were made after a public forum was held last week where all the candidates answered two-hours worth of questions. The chamber has a political action committee called WALPAC which raises money and donates to the candidates it supports.
Simmons was chosen because of his experience on the council, Haskew because she is a CPA who served on the city's fiscal Blue Ribbon Task Force, and Wedel because he is a
Also last week, the Walnut Creek Employees Association -- made-up of more than 110 employees who work for the city -- announced its endorsement of only two candidates: Simmons and Grove.
The association's executive board interviewed all four candidates and chose Simmons and Grove because they stood out as candidates who have long-term commitments to the city, according to a news release.
"Simmons has shown great leadership and a realistic understanding of what it takes to run a city like Walnut Creek, while Grove has over 20 years of government experience and a willingness to work on the issues facing Walnut Creek with a straight forward no-nonsense approach," said WCEA President Shawn Delaney in the release. "More importantly, it was clear to us that both recognize the complex issues facing Walnut Creek and have a willingness to work with the association to find long-term solutions that protect the integrity, functionality and success of Walnut Creek."
Noting that compensation, benefits and retention are key issues for employees, the association also wants to ensure that the city maintains a reputation as place where people want to "live, work and play," Delaney said in the release.
The association became politically active during the 2010 election season. This marks the second time in the association's 12-year history that it has offered endorsements.
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.