East Bay Parks Board to Fill Vacancy By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday March 10, 2006

Directors of the East Bay Regional Parks will meet this afternoon (Tuesday) to pick one of the six finalists to fill the seat left empty by the death of Jean Siri, who represented Ward 1. 

The district, one of seven, includes parts of North Oakland and Pinole and the cities of Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, El Sobrante, Kensington and San Pablo. 

Siri, a San Pablo resident, died Jan. 20 at the age of 85. An environmental activist who has served as president and later a director of the Sierra Club, she was one of the founders of Save the Bay. 

Siri was first elected to the parks board in 1992 after serving several terms as a city councilmembers and later mayor of El Cerrito. 

The candidate named to replace her will have the advantage of running as an incumbent for a full four-year term in the November election. 

The open seat attracted 13 applicants, of whom the board selected six as finalists during their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday. 

Finalists are: 

• Former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, who served 24 years on that city’s council, including 8 as mayor, until she was unseated by Tom Bates in 2002. 

• Sierra Club attorney/activist and former El Cerrito City Councilmember Norman La Force who has been active in parks issues and spearheaded the successful opposition to a group campground in the parks district’s Sibley Regional Preserve. 

• Whitney Dotson, a Richmond environmentalist and parks activist who also serves as chair of the Community Advisory Group working with the state Department of Toxic Substances Control on the cleanup of the controversial Campus Bay site in Richmond. 

• Former Berkeley City Councilmember Nancy Skinner, one of the founders of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and the U.S. director of the Climate Group, a non-profit organization rallying governmental and corporate support on climate change issues. 

• Oakland Deputy City Attorney Richard Illgen, a former Berkeley planning commissioner and rent stabilization board commissioner. 

• Former Berkeley school board member Carroll Williams, who represented Ward 1 until Siri unseated him in 1992. 

The selection meeting is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in the district’s Headquarters Building, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland. 

The district administers more than 95,000 acres of parks, including 65 regional parks and recreation, wilderness, shoreline, preserve and land bank areas in both Alameda and Contra Costa counties. 

The district’s 2005-2006 fiscal budget is $159 million and its staff includes 596 full-time and up to 80 seasonal and temporary employees.