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Incumbents, two newcomers pull paperwork for April 2014 city election


Published: December 20, 2013

ALL THREE incumbents have retrieved the papers they need to run in the April 2014 Carmel city election, as have two council challengers: planning commissioner Steve Dallas and Lucas Austin, owner of Mail Mart.

No one has yet indicated plans to run against Mayor Jason Burnett.

Just because they have picked up the necessary paperwork from city hall does not mean their names will appear on the ballot, but its the first crucial step in the municipal election for two city council spots and the mayors seat. The candidates must file financial and other forms, and collect the signatures of 20 registered voters in Carmel, in order to run.

Incumbent Steve Hillyard, who was appointed to replace Burnett on the council when he was elected mayor in April 2012, said this week he still does not know if hell run for a full four-year term.

Incumbent Carrie Theis, who was appointed to replace councilwoman Paula Hazdovac when she resigned from the council in August 2012 after more than 18 years in office, has already announced she is planning to run for a full term.

And Mayor Jason Burnett said hell run for another two-year term.

Poised to face the council incumbents are Dallas, who was appointed to the planning commission by former Mayor Sue McCloud in 2010 and reappointed to a full term by Burnett in 2012, and Austin, a 30-year-old Army veteran who bought Mail Mart on Dolores Street with his wife, Li, three years ago.

Dallas, who lives at Santa Fe and Third with his wife, Madeline, and daughter, Alexandra, is a lifelong Carmel resident who attended Junipero Serra and Carmel High schools before obtaining a BA from Golden Gate University. He worked for decades in the family real-estate-development business with his mother, Mitzi Dallas, and has spent time attending and participating in hearings before the forest and beach commission, the historic resources board, the (now defunct) design review board, the planning commission, the city council and the California Coastal Commission. He is set to chair the planning commission starting in January.

I feel it is time to expand and to share what I have learned from my experience. I am running in the hope my voice will be a part of the protection and preservation of the unique character and beauty of my home, Dallas said. My philosophy on public service is based on the belief that all voices must be heard and their concerns received with respect and understanding.

Dallas said his time on the planning commission has made him very aware of the needs of residents, merchants and visitors, and he wants to take part in setting the policies that govern the city.

As a third generation citizen of Carmel, I have knowledge and passion for maintaining what has made Carmel a desirable place to live, he said. I wish to serve on the council to continue to protect our village character while serving our citizens.

Austin and his wife, Li, live at Dolores and Fifth, not far from Mail Mart, which they bought three years ago and have worked to rejuvenate. Although Austin said he has voted absentee in Monterey County races, he has not participated in past city elections, nor has he held a position on any city board or commission.

I wasnt planning on running until the next election [in 2016], but having gotten to know business owners and others in town, and hearing about improvements needed in city hall, I decided to run, he said, though he wouldnt elaborate on what those improvements or issues are.

Austin said he and his wife have been all over the world and decided Carmel was the place they wanted to be. He also said hes always made a point of knowing the issues affecting wherever he was living at the time, and here, hes observed a couple of city council meetings to get a feeling for the members and their decision-making practices and policies.

I was very involved pretty much everywhere Ive been, in the local government, just to know whats going on in my town, said Austin, who is from Chicago and speaks Japanese. I know Im a newcomer to this race, but Im very passionate about this town, and Im hoping people will come to see my perspective on things.

Potential candidates have until Jan. 10, 2014, to return their forms and the required number of signatures.

After that deadline, only write-in candidates can be added to the ballot during a special filing period from Feb. 10 to March 25, 2014, which is also the last day a resident can register to vote in the election, which will be held April 8, 2014.