Dublin Councilmember Arun Goel will be running for mayor in the Nov. 6 election.
Goel announced his candidacy June 3 in a video posted on YouTube. He has served two years of his four-year council term, which expires in 2020. If he were not elected mayor, he would keep his council seat.
Mayor David Haubert has already announced his intention to run for another two-year term. He was first elected mayor in 2014, after serving as a councilmember.
Filing for office begins July 16 and closes Aug. 10.
A recall petition that asks for removal of Councilmember Abe Gupta from office was turned in on June 29 to Dublin City Clerk Caroline Soto.
Approximately 6300 signatures were turned in, well above the 5300 signatures required to pass the Registrar of Voters sampling test. The sampling test is used to weed out invalid signatures, said petition circulator Marlene Massetti, a Dublin resident who supports the recall.
If the recall were successful, Gupta would be removed after the election is certified by the council, several weeks after the election.
At the same time, Gupta will be on the ballot for re-election. He said that it does not make sense to recall someone who already will be on the same ballot for the voters to accept or reject.
Gupta said that he concludes the recall was intended to help elect Bobby Khullar to the City Council. Khullar led the recall drive initially, but more recently left it. Khullar then announced his candidacy for a council seat.
The seats of Gupta and Janine Thalblum are up for re-election. Thalblum was appointed to replace the late Vice-Mayor Don Biddle. Thalblum agreed to the appointment on the condition that she would agree not run in 2018 for the seat. The council wanted the seat to be open, and not influenced by the incumbency of a short-term appointee.
Biddle also was the subject of a recall alongside Gupta by the same people, who generally are associated with Dubliners United and its PAC. A recall against Dublin Unified School District board member Dan Cunningham, whose term expires in 2020, has also been initiated . Circulators say the signatures will be ready for submission to the City Clerk soon.
In a phone interview, Gupta observed that the recall was aimed at the two councilmembers whose terms expire this November. Two other councilmembers, Goel and Vice-mayor Melissa Hernandez, were not chosen for recall, and neither was Mayor David Haubert, whose mayoral term ends every two years.
Khullar explained, “Hernandez and Goel were just elected (in 2016), so there is no solid proof of a voting record (for or against growth). That leaves, Haubert, Gupta and Biddle,” said Khullar.
The goal was to submit the petition quickly to put it on the June ballot, but that deadline was missed.
Khullar said that the recall started much before he decided to run for office. He had addressed Gupta at the council’s public forum about stopping growth, “but to no avail. This was the predecessor to the recall.”
Khullar said he was asked to run for council in April, because of his community involvement. “When I took that leap, my effort on the recall was put on the back burner.”
Goel works for a private firm in telecommunications as a project controls manager. He was employed by PG&E for two years, and before that, was hired as an engineer at Alameda County Transportation Commission.
Goel has practiced real estate part-time for almost 14 years, but said that he has not conducted any real estate business in Dublin. Goel said he is not affiliated with Dubliners United, "However, some of their objectives line up with my visions.”
Goel said in an interview on YouTube that his campaign will be based on three pillars. One would focus on local business with a business incentives program. A second would aim at slowing down the housing boom, to focus on the future, with better quality of life, and a livable community. The third pillar aims to “solve the school crisis.”
“I’m a strategic planner. I know that for the delivery of the three pillars, I need to commence in the first 90 days (in office),” Goel stated in the video.
When Goel ran for the council in 2016, he was the top vote-getter, with 8920 votes compared to Hernandez with 7950. Appointed incumbent Doreen Wehrenberg and Mona Lisa Ballesteros were the candidates who lost.
HAUBERT’S CALL FOR PLAN REVIEWS
Haubert asked staff at the June 12 council meeting to bring a report to the council about development to date, and what decisions are faced in the future. He cited the Specific Plans for East Dublin, Downtown, and the Transit Oriented Development district.
The General Plan dates back to the1990s. The council has been hearing from residents at meetings that the current plan “is not working. They cite school overcrowding and traffic.”
The report would not be a call for a moratorium on growth, he said.
City Manager Chris Foss said that in September he could bring a report to the council about the history of the Specific Plan decisions, and a look at what remains to be decided.
Haubert told a reporter that his request for the staff report, which was supported by other councilmembers, had nothing to do with the election, or with Goel’s YouTube announcement nine days earlier to run for mayor. Instead, it was consistent with a history of trying to thoroughly review, and perhaps revamp, the city’s development plans.
“Shortly after being elected in 2013, I asked the council to consider completely redoing the East Dublin Specific Plan. I did not receive council support. Instead, we set up a community group to discuss commercial retail space,” said Haubert.
“In 2015, I asked for the same thing, and again did not receive council support. We got a report of vested vs. non-vested units. Both the commercial task force and report on vested units were helpful, but again, I am calling for a full review,” said Haubert.
“Along the way, I also called for a task force to discuss the Downtown area, because I feel we lack a real vision. Again, I did not receive council support. We did engage (consultant) ULI to do some work, so I look forward to seeing that,” Haubert stated.
“I am absolutely committed to creating and maintaining a vision for Dublin that the community supports,” said Haubert.