San Rafael Vice Mayor Greg Brockbank announced his intention to replace Mayor Al Boro when he retires this fall after 20 years of service.
“I have been extremely gratified at the unsolicited outpouring of support from community leaders across the city and beyond,” he said.
If elected, Brockbank hopes to bring a more inclusive and open atmosphere to meetings than his predecessor, who he said has kept tight control over agendas and public comment. He would nix the three-vote requirement for council members to place a topic up for discussion at meetings, and he would aim to involve and empower San Rafael neighborhoods “to have a voice at City Hall.”
His other goals include reducing San Rafael’s carbon footprint and easing traffic congestion by encouraging public transportation and biking. Both issues earned him support when he was first elected to City Council in 2007.
“I feel I have already accomplished a great deal in these areas, and can do even more as mayor,” he said.
Before serving as a council member, Brockbank spent 25 years as a civic and political activist, and served on the boards of several organizations including the San Rafael Housing Corporation, the Leadership Institute of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and the Marin Democratic Club.
He is currently the owner of Marin Law Center, a firm that provides low-cost legal consultation and representation for its clients.
“I think he’d set a whole new tone for the way the city is run,” said Steve Patterson, chair of the Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods.
Patterson, who’s clashed with Boro on issues like , believes the mayor has “lost patience with the public.”
“Neighborhood leaders would be more encouraged to step forward [if Brockbank was mayor],” he said.
Last week, Boro supported former council member Gary Phillips to replace him in November. Phillips, who served on the City Council for 12 years before stepping down in 2007, is currently the chairman of the board for the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce.
Phillips said he intends to continue building the downtown area, a feat which earned Boro respect and support among business owners and the community, as well as address issues like employee benefits, affordable housing and transportation.
Brockbank realizes that running against Phillips could be risky, considering his seat is up in November and he could potentially lose his place on the Council.
“I could lose this race, but I feel that if (Gary was elected) he would continue in the same vein as Al Boro, so it’s a risk I have to take,” he said.
Due to the support he’s received from neighborhood leaders, environmental groups and others, Brockbank said he doesn’t think he will regret rolling the dice.
“Last Thursday, I asked Gary to give me a reason not to run,” he said. “And he didn’t do it.”