Grass Valley mayor won’t seek re-election |

Grass Valley mayor won’t seek re-election

Mayor Mark Johnson threw the Grass Valley City Council race wide open Tuesday night when he announced that he would not run for another term in November.

“I am not going to be seeking re-election,” Johnson said. “I served four years in the ’90s, four years in this decade and I will run again. … I encourage (other) people to file.”

So far, incumbent council member Jan Arbuckle has filed, along with Yolanda Cookson and Rachel Rue. All three applied for the vacant City Council spot created by Dean Williams in late 2006, and Arbuckle was appointed by the council.

Incumbent Vice-Mayor Lisa Swarthout’s seat also is up for grabs, and she has not decided whether to run again.

Candidates have until Aug. 8 to take out papers to run for one of three open spots on the council.

Johnson was elected in 2004 and has been elected mayor by fellow City Council members the past two years. His term will expire in January 2009, when the new council is seated.

The mayor opened the council meeting Tuesday night by reminding the public that the deadline to file for City Council was nearing.

“It would be great to have six or seven people to run for the three empty seats,” Johnson said. Minutes later, Johnson discussed his own political plans.

“I appreciate those who encouraged me” to run again, Johnson said. “You learn a lot about yourself and compromise” on the City Council.

Johnson had said as recently as last week that he wasn’t sure whether he would seek re-election this year.

The 47-year-old downtown resident helps run his family’s floral business, Foothill Flowers, in the historic district. He did not say what he might do in the next four years but did tell the crowd that he would probably be back to run for council again in the future.

Some residents and business people speculate Johnson – a popular local business owner and longtime resident – will run for the county supervisor seat that will be vacated by John Spencer in 2010. Spencer, a conservative, is married to former Grass Valley Mayor Patti Ingram.

Johnson is viewed as more moderate. Though county supervisors are supposed to be nonpartisan in their positions, their political views sometimes become evident in decision-making.

Incumbent Arbuckle, 57, is a retired Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy and still volunteers there.

Rue, 65, is a movie theater employee and Cookson, 30, works for a local title company.

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