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Albany has been well-managed through the past five years of economic downturn.

The city has benefitted from a rising property tax base while many cities have watched those revenues decline. At the same time, city leaders have taken steps to control rising retirement costs that have heavily burdened other municipalities. Nevertheless, 7 percent of police and firefighter jobs have been cut, and 17 percent of other city positions have been eliminated.

The seven candidates running for three council seats agree city leaders have done a good job of managing finances. It's a key reason we endorse the only incumbent on the Nov. 6 ballot, Peggy Thomsen.

Our other two picks, Peter Maass and Michael Barnes, were not as easy. That's because of the high caliber of all the candidates and the respectful tone of discussion even when they seriously disagreed on issues ranging from cell phone towers to the future of Golden Gate Fields and property in the city owned by the University of California.

Maass, a residential contractor, brings solid experience after six years as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Barnes, a former member of the school board and editor of the magazine for the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, was sophisticated in his thinking about development issues.

The three candidates we endorse do not agree on all issues. Far from it. But they were the most thoughtful. We wish more communities had such strong fields of candidates.


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