DANVILLE -- The town is in good shape financially and there are no scandals to speak of, yet it's no sleepy small-town race for the Town Council this year.
Seven candidates are jockeying for three seats, giving longtime incumbents Mayor Newell Arnerich and Councilman Mike Doyle a run for their money.
In addition to the two incumbents' seats, former Mayor Candace Andersen's seat is the third up for grabs. It has remained vacant since June when she resigned to take a seat on the county Board of Supervisors.
Even if the incumbents are re-elected, Danville residents are guaranteed at least one new face on the council in January.
Arnerich has been on the council for 17 years, and Doyle for 21, both serving as mayor multiple times. They are facing challenges from eight-year Planning Commissioner Renee Morgan, distribution business owner Jim Jelincic, retired Dreyer's Ice Cream executive Bob Nealis, financial services representative Deanna Sullivan and State Farm insurance agent Lori Hock.
All are longtime Danville residents.
At a meeting with the Contra Costa Times editorial board and at Contra Costa Television's "Election Preview 2012" roundtable, Morgan, Jelincic, Sullivan and Nealis all praised the current council for its management of the town's finances, which has enabled the town to weather the last recession without severe cuts to staff or service.
The seven candidates said they want to continue the council's conservative fiscal management.
All candidates, including Hock, who did not attend the editorial board meeting or the roundtable, are in agreement that Danville has a high quality of life and a small-town charm that needs to be preserved.
The main issue of disagreement in the campaign is a proposed development on the Magee Ranch property, where SummerHill Homes hopes to build 70 new homes.
Nealis, who lives near the project site, has made it a centerpiece of his campaign.
He and Jelincic spoke to neighbors of the project site last month, stating that the current council should have brought the project to the voters through Measure S, a growth-control measure voters passed in 2000.
Both Nealis and Jelincic are supporting an effort by neighborhood group Save Our Creek to collect signatures to put a measure on the ballot that calls for strengthening of Measure S and to further protect open space in Danville from the types of developments as proposed for Magee Ranch.
Arnerich, Doyle and Morgan have said that since the Magee Ranch property owner has not requested a change in land-use designation -- or an additional entitlement other than that which the underlying property had at the time of application -- the proposal does not trigger a vote by the people per Measure S.
The council is waiting on an environmental impact report before any action is taken on the project.
Sullivan has taken a middle-of-the-road position on the project. "I think it needs to be looked at very carefully," she said of the project. "If the land-use designation changes, then it should go to the voters."
Hock admitted that her campaign is off to a slow start, but said she plans an active run. She said her main reasons for running for council are to promote businesses downtown and get the town more involved in preventing drug use by the town's teenagers.
Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/jason_sweeney.
Occupation: Architect, president and CEO of AD Architects
Civic involvement: Incumbent, has served 17 years on the Danville council, four times as mayor; has served on the Danville Planning Commission, Danville Design Review Board and other boards and commissions
Education: B.A. and M.A. from UC Berkeley
Occupation: Retired private investigator
Civic Involvement: Incumbent, has served on the Danville council 21 years, four times as mayor; has served on numerous boards and commissions, including California League of Cities; lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and the Berlin Airlift Association
Education: Diablo Valley College
Occupation: Insurance agent for 22 years
Education: Monte Vista High School
Occupation: CEO and president of Tri-Valley ProPac Inc., , 22 years sales and marketing experience, four years of commercial real estate sales
Civic Involvement: Vice president and former president of Danville Place Homeowners Association
Education: B.A. in psychology, Cal State Hayward, with an emphasis in marketing
Occupation: Businesswoman/architectural designer
Civic Involvement: Served eight years on the Danville Planning Commission
Education: Silicon Valley College, studied architectural drafting and design
Occupation: Retired Dreyer's Ice Cream executive
Civic Involvement: Past president and member of the Willows Theatre Company board of directors; marshal for the U.S. Open golf ghampionship, President's Cup and the Schwab Cup.
Education: UC Berkeley, B.A. in political science
Occupation: Financial services representative
Civic involvement: Member of the board of directors of the Kiwanis Club for 11 years; chairwoman of Fourth of July Parade in 2009
Education: Monte Vista High School
CANDIDATE FORUM on TV
The Danville Town Council candidates roundtable will be broadcast on Channel 26 at 8 p.m. Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25 and Nov. 1, and 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28 and Nov. 4.
The roundtable can also be viewed online at ContraCostaTimes.com.