2011-09-08 "Kondylis, Vallejo's county supervisor, calling it quits when term ends; Solano supervisor, a longtime Vallejo politician, won't seek re-election in 2012" by Sarah Rohrs from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
After nearly 30 years in public office, Solano County Supervisor Barbara Kondylis said Wednesday it's time for her to retire, travel and spend more time with her family.
Kondylis, 68, now in her fifth term as a county supervisor, announced she will not seek re-election in next year's June primary.
A supervisor since 1993, Kondylis also served on the Vallejo City Council from 1979-88.
"It's been a privilege to do what I've been doing for the last 30 years and it's been fun and rewarding and I hope nobody gets mad at me for being selfish," Kondylis said.
With Kondylis retiring, the field is wide open for newcomers in the 2012 election.
Kondylis easily won re-election in 2008 against one challenger, ran unopposed in 2004, and in 2000 narrowly defeated former mayor Terry Curtola.
Vallejo City Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said she is "seriously considering" running for Kondylis seat, but has not yet finalized her decision. Kondylis and Gomes have been political allies for years.
Fellow County Supervisor Linda Seifert said she was surprised to hear of Kondylis' announcement, and wished her well.
"She's a strong advocate for children and the downtrodden," Seifert said. "She's been very committed to environmental issues and not ever hesitated to take on the majority when her position differed. Her kind of courage is something that I personally will miss," she added.
Longtime supporter Richard Martinez, a Solano County Fair Association board member, said Kondylis' biggest accomplishments have always revolved around children, families and low-income residents.
"She's always worked hard for the underdog," Martinez said.
Her 2008 campaign manager, Pam Keith, said Kondylis deserves a break but said it's bittersweet she's stepping down.
"You would be hard put to find anybody who will be as strong and as a committed advocate for the children of Solano County as Barbara Kondylis," Keith said.
Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, emailed a comment saying he has appreciated Kondylis' service.
"She has been a great advocate for children, families and for the environment. She never shied from controversy and she will leave big shoes to fill," Miller said.
Often the lone member of the board minority, Kondylis is known for speaking her mind and taking stands. She voted against the 2010 budget, publicly claimed her colleagues had committed open-meeting law violations and said that sexism has prevented her from being selected board chair over the years.
Kondylis also opposes the Solano360 fairgrounds development project as a waste of money, and angrily denounced her removal from a fair committee.
While on the City Council, Kondylis sued her own city over traffic impacts related to Cullinan Ranch development along Highway 37.
Of her City Council years, Kondylis said she is most proud of helping to make property available for a battered women's shelter now run by SafeQuest Solano.
Children also are at the center of Kondylis' list of her major county achievements, including the Office of Family Violence and Prevention and of the Court Appointed Special Advocates. The latter helps abused children through the court system.
Despite strides, Kondylis said continuous state and federal budget cuts have made the county's social service role nearly impossible to carry out.
A relatively new Vallejo resident in the mid-1970s, she said she never intended to get into local politics. She said, however, that she got mad at the city for its plans to build a 180-unit apartment building along the waterfront. She got hooked on Planning Commission and City Council meetings.
She ran for City Council in 1977, lost and then ran again and won in 1979. After two terms she ran for mayor and lost to Tony Intintoli, Jr. A year later, she ran for supervisor, but lost in a race against current Mayor Osby Davis. She ran again and was elected in 1992.
Kondylis said if she was younger and had more energy, she would eagerly run for a sixth term. She added she's been thinking about stepping down for about a year.
"The basic fact is that I'm 68 years old," Kondylis said. "So when I retire I will be 70 and that will be
30 years. I want to have fun. I don't want to feel guilty because I take a weekend off."