SAN RAMON -- Former San Ramon school board trustee Bill Clarkson won the election to become mayor of San Ramon on Tuesday, defeating a sitting city councilwoman in an election that also saw the mayor booted off the council.
Incumbent Scott Perkins and former city planning Commissioner Phil O'Loane won the two seats on the city council, beating termed-out Mayor Abram Wilson, who had been on the council since 1999. Perkins got 38.5 percent of the vote, O'Loane got 33 percent, and Wilson took 28.1 percent.
Clarkson won 57.6 percent of the vote in the mayor's race against Councilwoman Carol Rowley, whose term ends this year.
The election results show that the city's elected officials need to communicate more with its residents, Clarkson said.
"I think that there is a need for more conversations and dialogue with citizens," Clarkson said. "Current decisionmakers ... had not stayed closely in touch with the citizens of San Ramon."
People love the city, he said, and like most of its plans for the future, he said. But they want to know what is going on, and to be able to easily comment on it.
"It wasn't like a revolution vote," Clarkson said.
The mayoral and council races' hot issues were the status of the promised but long awaited city center project, the salary of former city manager Herb Moniz -- whose $344,200 annual salary raised eyebrows statewide -- and council-backed Measure W, that would have extended the city's urban growth boundary into the Tassajara Valley and was trounced by voters.
Listening to residents concerns and transparency was a key campaign point for Clarkson, a real estate broker. Clarkson spoke of creating a residents' task force to keep the city updated on the City Center project that would create a downtown for the 28-year-old city. He also encouraged more resident participation on the open space committee that will advise the city on how preserve the area's open space.
Rowley ran on a campaign of experience, touting her years as a San Ramon teacher, school principal, parks commissioner and her eight years as a council member. She promised to make sure the city stays fiscally responsible and to help maintain the services residents are used to. She also promised to listen to residents and be accessible,
Although Wilson was termed out as mayor, he told voters he still has knowledge to share. The city had done well financially, he said, as others in the Bay Area struggled. Like Rowley, he said he wanted to continue the city's financial stability that comes with experienced leadership.
Perkins, a Lawrence Livermore Lab engineer, promised voters to fight to keep the Tassajara Valley rural, given the failure of last year's council-backed Measure W.
The council said at the time that it did not want development in that area either, it just wanted control of the area in the event a project was proposed.
Candidate Phil O'Loane, said the rejection of Measure W was just an example of how San Ramon city officials don't listen to residents. And the $344,200 salary of former city manager Moniz, which was staunchly defended by the council until recently, shows that those serving on the dais are out of touch, he said.
O'Loane promised to bring an independent voice to the council, something which he said appears lacking in light of many 5-0 decisions made by the council.
Staff Writer Paul Thissen contributed to this report.