Meanwhile, voters will have plenty of choices when it comes to casting their vote for City Council on Nov. 7, as the number of candidates on the roster jumped into double digits in the last days of the filing period, which closed Wednesday.
"Wow," said a surprised councilman and mayoral candidate Bob Taylor when informed Gutierrez had filed her candidacy papers late Wednesday. "Well, that's what makes this country great. If she wants to enter this race, God bless her. It could be a horserace, with three council members running for mayor. I don't think that's ever happened before in this town."
The other mayoral candidate, Councilwoman Annette Beckstrand, said she was also surprised.
"Very," she said. "I thought she had indicated that she was committed to the governor's race. She seemed to think we were both on the same page when it came to Brentwood's future."
Gutierrez did not return calls seeking comment.
In the council race, a dozen names, some familiar, some new, will appear on the ballot in the race for two four-year council seats.
Attorney Richard Bates is a veteran of three prior contests; Attorney and CPA Chris Becnel has run twice before; middle-school teacher Derrick Bullington was a candidate in one previous election; Gene Clare, making his first run for public office, is Director of Alternative Education for the Liberty school district; senior systems engineer Chuck Handwork is in his second council contest; Los Medanos College, Brentwood Division professor Dr. Laurie Huffman is running for the first time; and distribution manager Mike Hyde is in his first contest.
Resident Adam Liebow will also appear on the ballot for the first time; Concord police officer Brandon Richey is making his first bid for council; Roger Short, a private investigator, is another first-time candidate; fourth-generation Brentwood farmer Erick Stonebarger is seeking office for the first time; this will be the first race for resident Mark Underwood.
Early on, it appears that the slow-down in residential growth may provide the major issues in the council campaign. A number of the candidates felt it was time to take a critical look at the budget, and make sure that revenue connected to residential growth is replaced with sales taxes.
Bates said it was a good time to make sure funding is in place for needed roads and public buildings, and to review the size and scope of those facilities in the current financial light.
Short said that the reduced demand for housing provides an opportunity to review the General Plan, and perhaps scale back the planned build-out of the city.
Candidates also believe some attention will be given to the downtown area. Becnel said completing and implementing the Downtown Specific Plan will be important not only from an economic development standpoint, but for helping preserve the charm for which Brentwood is renowned.
Some candidates mentioned public safety issues as potential hot topics. Richey said there are choices that residents and the council will face in service levels and funding for the fire district.
Transportation will also be on people's minds, many candidates said. Several said Monday's quadruple fatality on Vasco Road will re-invigorate the call for the city to help bring about solutions there, while Handwork said pushing for the new Route 239 to Tracy for both traffic relief and economic development will be an issue.
Candidates also mentioned enhancing job creation, strengthening the Urban Limit Line around Brentwood and the completion of quality-of-life components such as the amphitheater at the Vineyards development as potentially important parts of the election debate. But the lack of clear-cut, hot-button issues and the absence of incumbents means the race is wide open, and candidates may have difficulty differentiating themselves from one another.
Clare said that the limited number of possible positions that can be taken on issues and the plethora of candidates could mean that voters will put a premium on the experience and personality of the candidates themselves in making their selection. Their ability to solve problems, analyze alternatives, meet, discuss and collaborate with others to effect solutions may be what sets them apart, he said.
Or, said many, it could be that whoever spends the most money on the biggest signs will finish at the top of a diluted field.
The election is in 82 days.