Valllejo Times-Herald: Hughes, Schwartzman not running for re-election to Benicia council

Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald
[Editor: Thanks to Vallejo Times-Herald reporter John Glidden for this. Like so many print newspapers, the Times-Herald is operating under severe financial duress.  We recently lost the Times-Herald’s only Benicia reporter, and last I knew, the paper had no plans to cover news in Benicia. Yay – thanks John! – RS]

Hughes, Schwartzman not running for re-election to Benicia council

By John Glidden, 08/13/18, 4:22 PM PDT

BENICIA >> Changes are coming to the City Council as incumbents, Mark Hughes and Alan Schwartzman, failed to file candidacy paperwork prior to the Aug. 10 deadline, the Benicia City Clerk’s Office confirmed Monday.

This has triggered an automatic extension of the filing deadline — which is now 5 p.m. Wednesday — allowing the opportunity for additional residents to submit candidacy paperwork.

The current council contest is shaping up to be interesting as three residents have already qualified for the November ballot. They include former Benicia Councilwoman Christina Strawbridge, chair of the Planning Commission Kari Birdseye, and current Economic Development Board Chair Lionel Largaespada.

Strawbridge served on the council from 2011 until 2016 when local voters decided to go in another direction. Largaespada was spurned by voters too in 2016 as he placed fourth out of five candidates.

Having served on the council for 13 years, Hughes said he had decided to focus more on his family.

“Spending more time with my family, including my 96-year-old mother, my 11-month-old granddaughter, and all family and friends in between, is a very high priority for me,” Hughes wrote in an email to his supporters, which was shared with the Times-Herald. “And at this point in our lives, it’s important for Michele and I to have more flexibility in our schedule to accomplish this.

Prior to his run on the council, Hughes was appointed to the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Commission.

In 2016, Hughes ran for mayor, but was defeated by incumbent Elizabeth Patterson.

Schwartzman also has an extensive political history in Benicia having being first elected to the council in 2005 after serving six years on the Planning Commission.

He couldn’t be reached for comment Monday regarding his decision to not seek re-election.