The filing period for the Albany City Council closed on Thursday, and the three members whose terms end this year are not on the list of candidates, which means a 50 percent turnover in council membership in 2021.
If Councilmen Bill Coburn, Rich Kellum and Mike Sykes had announced ahead of time they would not run again, I missed it.
In Ward 1, three candidates are competing to succeed Sykes, a business owner completing one term on the council. They are Keith Kolkow, whose filing paper says he works in “nonprofit development;” Matilda Novak, a restaurateur and voice actress; and Sean Knowles, employed at Albany Box Company.
In Ward 2, the candidates to succeed Coburn, retired from electrical contracting, are former Councilman Ray Kopczynski, who’s also retired; and Amanda Dant, self-employed as a floral designer.
Ward 3 Councilor Kellum recently sold his welding supply business. Competing to succeed him are Marilyn Smith, who retired in June as the city’s public information officer; and Jessica Brenneman, a dog groomer and business owner who serves on the city budget committee.
Jill Van Buren, a retired elections supervisor in Linn and Benton counties, late Thursday withdrew as a candidate in Ward 3. In an email she said Smith was the best candidate because of her long employment in the city administration.
Mayor Sharon Konopa, who lists her occupation as “mayor of Albany,” and Councilman Alex Johnson II, an insurance professional, remain as the only candidates for mayor. If Johnson wins, the council would elect someone to fill his council position in Ward 2.
The filing form has an optional line that asks about “race and ethnicity.” Some candidates left it blank and others said “Caucasian.” Johnson, a Navy veteran and as far as I know the first African-American to be elected to the Albany council, answered: “American.”
No matter how all this comes out, the council next year will have a substantially different makeup in personalities and outlook from the one Albany has had for the last eight years or more.
How this may affect the outcome on pending controversies we’ll see if and when candidates answer questions during the weeks before election day Nov 3. What controversies? Well, among them, how to close the looming gap in the city budget; what size and style of buildings to allow in historic districts; and how much money to spend on giving the riverfront a new face. (hh)