Three in line for city council |

Three in line for city council

A trio of candidates have filed for the three Grass Valley City Council seats up for grabs in November, but Mayor Mark Johnson and Vice Mayor Lisa Swarthout said Thursday they are unsure whether they will run again.

Current council member Jan Arbuckle, 57, filed along with Del Oro Theatre senior employee Rachel Rue, 65, this week, City Clerk Kristi Bashor said. They join title company employee Yolanda Cookson, 30, who also filed this week.

All three were in a field of 11 people who applied to replace Councilman Dean Williams, who stepped down unexpectedly in late 2006, citing personal reasons. An amazed Arbuckle was selected by the City Council and is serving out Williams’ term.

Incumbent Arbuckle said she decided to run for her seat “after some great thought.” She is a retired Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy who still volunteers there.

She is working on a city ordinance with Councilman Chauncey Poston to ensure the construction of working-class housing for the city. The ordinance is not specific yet, but she and Poston have gathered information from other cities with similar ordinances, and she wants to finish the job, Arbuckle said.

“We don’t have enough housing for our young families,” Arbuckle said. The ordinance would be designed to ensure teachers, police employees and other working people can live and work in Grass Valley.

Rue already was out campaigning Thursday.

“The same people are on the City Council all the time, and we need fresh blood,” Rue said. “I know a lot of young people and they are registering to vote in record numbers, and they need a voice.”

She walks to work and said her pedestrian ways give her a unique insight into the need for better traffic control in the city. She also would like to see police officers walking beats instead of predominantly driving around in vehicles, she said.

A certified nurses’ aide for many years in Marin and Nevada counties, Rue served on the Foothill Community Access TV board before it became NCTV.

Cookson told The Union she wants to preserve Grass Valley’s character while it grows.

Both Johnson, 47, and Swarthout, 45, said they have not made up their minds about running again. They have until Aug. 8 to file.

“I’m always excited to see other people run for City Council,” Johnson said. “I’m giving myself a week until I finally decide.”

“I honestly haven’t made up my mind,” Swarthout said. “I’ve been doing this now for four years, and I served nine years on the planning commission.

“The political dynamic has changed here. Sometimes it’s not about the city, but people’s agendas,” Swarthout added. “I’ll give myself another few days to decide.”

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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