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Movement Grows to Draft Shirley Dean For Mayor Run

By Judith Scherr
Friday July 28, 2006

Former Mayor Shirley Dean didn’t ask anyone to take out election papers in her name. 

But ever since community activist Merrilee Mitchell did it for Dean without consulting her, Dean said her phone has been ringing off the hook with people offering to go out and gather signatures. 

The papers that Mitchell got from the City Clerk’s office are “signature-in-lieu” petitions that candidates can circulate to get 150 valid signatures to avoid paying the $150 fee. This is a voluntary step in the nomination process. 

The city clerk’s office reported Thursday that signatures had been turned in for Dean. They will be validated within 10 days. 

Will she run? 

“I’m really torn,” Dean said Thursday afternoon. “Fifty percent of me says ‘yes’ and 50 percent says ‘no.’ I’m really, really torn.” 

This came at a time when Dean said she had “settled comfortably into the idea of not running.” 

If she changed her mind now, she would have a late start. And it’s only a two-year term, she said. She said she will be thinking very hard about what to do. The nomination period closes Aug. 11.  

Mitchell said: “In Oakland they drafted (Ron) Dellums and he came back and ran. I think Shirley Dean has good character. I don’t want to live in Batesville.” 

Mayor Tom Bates defeated Dean four years ago. Announced challengers include Zelda Bronstein, Zachary Running Wolf, Richard Berkeley and Christian Pecaut. Berkeley, Bronstein and Bates had all turned in signatures-in-lieu by the Thursday deadline. They still must be verified by the city clerk.