“This is what I wanted to talk to you about,” Supervisor Paul Kelley said as he slid a manila folder across the table toward me and tapped it with his hand. “In here, you’ll find my announcement that I will not be seeking re-election for a fifth term in office.”
Although there’s been a lot of talk lately about Kelley’s future, I wasn’t expecting any big news when he invited me to lunch today. I’ve often met with supervisors and city officials for meals or coffee over the years.
But this time I was caught off guard. Although there were rumors of Kelley’s interest in pursuing the general manager job at the Water Agency, I had presumed he would keep his options open to seek re-election later this year. I was wrong.
Kelley said that he sat down with his wife, Becky, and their four children before the holidays, and they all decided that enough was enough. Or rather 16 years on the Board of Supervisors was enough. His oldest children are in high school and will be transitioning to college soon. He wanted to be more available to them. Moreover, he felt that he had done what he set out to do on the board.
“It was a little overwhelming when I sat down and asked myself, ‘What have I accomplished,’” he said. “It was like, yes, I really have gotten done what I came here to get done.”
Among his accomplishments, he listed his work toward the widening of Highway 101, the development of ball fields and parks, the preservation of open space and a number of other things less tangible.

“I’m really proud of our fiscal discipline,” he said. “When I ran the first time, I wanted to work toward a wise and effective use of tax dollars, and I think I’ve been able to do that.”

As for rumors about Kelley’s interest in being Randy Poole’s successor at the Water Agency, he’s still mute. “I have to stick with my first response and that is to say nothing,” he said.

Fair enough, although I have little reason to doubt that Kelley is interested in the general manager position. Why wouldn’t he say so if he wasn’t?

Also, I have no doubt that he is being told to walk a fine line. Counsel Steven Woodside has already made clear that Kelley would have to step down before officially interviewing for the position. This creates some risk for Kelley, but it sounds as if he is preparing to accept it.
Although he says he will serve out the end of his term, which is until Dec. 31, he sounds in some ways as if he is already saying goodbye.

Next: What does this mean for the race for the Fouth District seat?

– Paul Gullixson