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I have debated with myself during this campaign about whether to write a letter to the editor about my preference for a mayoral candidate. I had the opportunity to see and hear the two candidates in a political forum at Vineyard Valley this past Thursday. It prompted me to write a comparison of the two men, not on the basis of policy but on the basis of what kind of men they are.

Mayor Galbraith is an East Coast lawyer with impeccable pedigree and education. He was born into money and grew up in a house with a maid. I know this because he has told me stories about her. Alan then continued to practice law for 40 years on the East Coast traveling on occasion throughout the United States.

Geoff Ellsworth on the other hand is strictly a local product, a California man. He went to school in St. Helena with college in Oregon but returned to his home base. His family were certainly not paupers but lived a fairly modest lifestyle with Geoff’s mother Phoebe working as an artist and his father Bob having his own business that serviced the wine industry. Geoff worked with his father but ultimately his creativity called and he entered the field of art where he is a successful artist.

Alan is the consummate politician who loves wearing the mayor pin on his vest or suit coat. He loves shaking people’s hands in restaurants and other public places. He started his remarks by touting the endorsements of Congressman Thompson, Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon, all the Napa County mayors and the St. Helena Star. Geoff on the other hand is an unwilling politician who has stepped up to fill an obvious need in our city when no one else did. He was proud that his endorsements are from friends.

When they spoke at Vineyard Valley, Alan presented as very conservative, spoke so quietly that many people could not hear what he said. Geoff spoke up loudly and clearly. He speaks like a visionary who see issues from all angles. Alan expressed conservative viewpoints on housing, fee structures within the city and utility rates. Geoff was up to date on the most recent workforce housing opportunities, sympathetic with the business community as it pertains to fee structures and willing to investigate all possibilities for the utility enterprise rates.

Alan took credit for the Las Alcobas Hotel being opened. Geoff took credit and rightfully so for finding relief for downtown businesses when their utility rates went up to the point of threatening their ability to conduct business. Even though the mayor is only one vote, the leadership style is important. My observation is that Mayor Galbraith has exhibited an authoritarian style. Mr. Ellsworth is collaborative and transparent.

When the forum was completed one of my neighbors said of Geoff: “He was like a breath of fresh air and he has my vote.” He has my vote as well.

Pat Dell

St. Helena

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