If San Carlos residents put Michael Corral on the City Council this fall, the 51-year-old wine specialist says they’ll be getting someone whose attributes might be unique for the city’s elected body.
Corral is openly gay — which he admits shouldn’t matter but might to some voters, both negative and positive — and he is a registered Republican. Again, a feature that the pretty moderate but “a little more conservative leaning” Corral said could work both for and against him.
Most importantly, Corral said, he’s approachable, which is what he thinks some residents, particularly those with eastside interests, are missing.
“Clearly a lot of those people feel they are not being heard and their interests are not being addressed,” Corral said, noting in particular those who worry about the proposed Transit Village. “In some way, they may be right. Part of that reason is the council in general may seem a little inaccessible.”
Corral hopes to remedy that by snagging one of three council seats in the November election. But to do that he will be running against at least one incumbent and at least two challengers. Mayor Bob Grassilli is definitely seeking another term but Councilman Matt Grocott has not publicly confirmed another bid. The candidate pool also includes former councilwoman Inge Tiegel Doherty and Cameron Johnson who sits on the city’s Economic Development Advisory Commission.
Corral filed his intention to run with the city a few weeks ago and made a public announcement at the last Planning Commission meeting. The following week, the City Council voted 3-2 not to reappoint him to the commission when his term expires June 30. Corral plans to reapply when the council meets to make the appointments July 8, saying he wants to continue his work there, particularly if he does not win a council seat.
The City Council named Corral to the Planning Commission in June 2012 after Karen Clapper moved from that board to the council following former mayor Andy Klein’s resignation. Clapper herself has been named as a possible council contender although she has not made any public indications one way or the other.
But while the possible political machinations churn, Corral is focusing on his candidacy and the type of leader he’d like to be for the community. Although Corral said he doesn’t always agree with Grocott, he appreciates the councilman’s accessibility and willingness to contribute minority — even unfavorable — opinions.
“The council needs more like that,” Corral said.
For instance, he questions the caveat in some tax measures that allow seniors to vote but escape having to pay.
Corral said the city is fed up with the status quo, evident with former councilman Randy Royce not being re-elected, and even among the challengers is “the freshest one on the ballot.”
Corral, a Bay Area native, and his partner have lived in San Carlos for 10 years and have three dogs. He said his campaign plan is again one of accessibility.
“The best advice I’ve been given is that almost no strategy matters other than getting a good pair of shoes,” he said.
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