By Ashly McGlone

SAN RAMON -- Mayor Bill Clarkson will seek re-election without opposition this fall, despite the efforts of termed out San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson to enter the race.

Wilson pulled nomination papers for the mayor's seat last month, even though the city charter prohibits an elected mayor from serving "more than four two-year terms or eight years total." Wilson first served as mayor in 2002 when it was a rotating role on the City Council and served as elected mayor from 2003 to 2011.

Wilson said, "My goal is to hopefully change that in the future," at another regularly scheduled election to avoid extra legal and election costs for the city. A measure to change the charter can get onto a ballot by a vote by the city council or a signature petition. "I took out papers to express my discontent with the mayor."

Tony La Russa, left, retired St. Louis Cardinals manager and founder of Animal Rescue Foundation, signs a ball for San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson at the
Tony La Russa, left, retired St. Louis Cardinals manager and founder of Animal Rescue Foundation, signs a ball for San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson at the police training center in San Ramon on July 25, 2012. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Staff file)

Clarkson said, "I think I have been very clear about my vision for the city. ... In the absence of an election, it appears that the residents are generally happy with the direction of this city."

While the mayor's race is down to one official candidate, the field of City Council candidates may still widen after longtime council incumbent Jim Livingstone, 70, decided not seek re-election. Those wishing to run for City Council now have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to submit their nomination papers to the city clerk

As of Monday, four people are running at-large for two City Council seats, including incumbent Dave Hudson. Hudson, a retired real estate agent first elected to the council in 1997, has high hopes there will be a groundbreaking next year on the long-awaited downtown city center.

"We are on the right track if we don't mess it up," he said. As for the council leadership necessary¿, Hudson said, "Through 2016, you are going to have to read up. You can't just read a staff report and vote yay or nay."

Council hopeful Rene Matsumoto is a married mother of three who has served as president of parent-teacher and parent-teacher-student councils for more than a decade. A part-time safe routes to school program leader for the city, she also has advocated passage of school bond measures and a parcel tax.

"I am looking to listen to everyone's opinions and keep lines of communication open, make sure that I know all the facts before I make any decisions," said Matsumoto. Her priorities include uniting the city's regions, retaining open space and fiscal accountability.

Planning Commissioner Harry Sachs hopes to make the jump to city council after seven years on the commission. The Fremont middle school history teacher is a married father of three who is opposed to the plan by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to add carpool lanes to Interstate 680 ramps at Norris Canyon Road.

"I decided I wanted to be a voice on the council that advocates for less growth, to make sure that we are paying attention to traffic, to quality of life issues in our neighborhoods," Sachs said.

Attorney and candidate Thomas von Thury, through the city clerk, declined a request for an interview.

Ashly McGlone covers San Ramon. Contact her at 510-293-2463. Follow her at Twitter.com/AshlyReports.