Pacific Grove City Council: Jenny McAdams, Amy Tomlinson will not seek reelection

Pacific Grove City Council members Jenny McAdams and Amy Tomlinson will not be running for reelection in the fall, both announced at Wednesday’s regular council meeting. They are the two sole women currently serving on the seven-member body.

With the nomination filing period for November’s general election opening later this month, four Pacific Grove City Council seats will be on the ballot: Three council members slots, Councilman Joe Amelio’s seat being the third up for reelection, and mayor. While McAdams and Tomlinson prepare to step down, Amelio and current Pacific Grove Mayor Bill Peake announced their plans for reelection to The Herald Thursday.

Both McAdams and Tomlinson were City Council newcomers when elected in 2018.

McAdams, reached over the phone Thursday, cited family as her motivation for stepping down.

“Next year, my son is going to be a senior in high school and busy touring colleges, so I want to be present as much as possible and absorb every last second before he moves out into the world,” she explained.

Reflecting on her time spent serving the city of Pacific Grove, McAdams said the experience “was just incredible.” Accomplishments the 47-year-old listed as both political and personal triumphs through her four-year term include the creation of Pacific Grove’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion last year; a City Council resolution demanding state and federal gun reform passed last month; the hiring of a new city attorney; and how the City Council managed challenges through the pandemic.

“I really learned so much,” she said. “Not only in local government and politics but personally as well. I learned how to be patient and have difficult conversations with people.”

When asked if she would run for an elected position again, McAdams said she didn’t know, adding that she plans to represent the local community elsewhere. She now serves on a host of Monterey County boards and committees, including Central Coast Energy Services. McAdams also works full-time for Monterey County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew.

“I’m pretty young. … I love local government and policy advocacy, so who knows,” she said. As for who will step in as her successor, McAdams said she’d like to see someone “who really cares about the community and doesn’t have a selfish motivation” fill the seat. Though assuring she hopes voters select whoever is best suited for the job, McAdams also said she’d like to see a female candidate take on the role.

“With Councilmember Tomlinson not running as well, that’s two women not running for reelection,” she said. “I want to see women up there.”

Tomlinson did not return requests for comment ahead of The Herald’s afternoon deadline.

As fellow elected leaders eye a change, Amelio confirmed by phone Thursday that he will seek reelection in November. Amelio, also elected as a first-time member to the Pacific Grove City Council in 2018, said he “loves being a council member” and that he wants to continue “to try to make a difference for Pacific Grove.”

If elected for a second term, Amelio said he hopes to focus on keeping the city fiscally solvent, maintaining the coastline’s cultural heritage and helping restaurants’ ongoing recovery from the pandemic.

“The experience has been amazing, and I just want to continue to do what’s best for Pacific Grove,” he said.

As for the mayor’s seat, Peake guaranteed he plans to run but did not provide further comment, saying he will put out an official statement on reelection at a later date. Peake was elected Pacific Grove mayor in 2018 and, after running unopposed, again in 2020. He previously served the city as a council member, elected in 2014.

The regular nomination filing period opens July 18 at 8 a.m. and closes Aug. 12 at 5 p.m. Nomination forms must be obtained from, and filed with, the city clerk’s office during the filing period.

While voters will decide on individual changes to the City Council, broader changes to the body will also be up for voter consideration in the fall.

Wednesday night, the Pacific Grove City Council voted 5-2 to approve a ballot measure that, if passed in November, would change the number of City Council members from six to four over the course of two election cycles. The item was brought forward by Councilman Luke Coletti in May, arguing a city of Pacific Grove’s population would be better served by a smaller council. To pass, the measure will need a simple majority of votes cast, or 50% plus one.

Contributed by local news sources

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