Bragman and O'Neil win election to Fairfax Town Council

By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal.

Fairfax voters Tuesday decided to stick with the status quo by giving incumbent Councilman Larry Bragman a third term and electing Ryan O'Neil to his first term on the Town Council.

Bragman finished first with 43.88 percent with Ryan close behind with 41.82 percent.

Chris Lang, the odd man out in this three-man race for two seats, got 13.46 percent. Lang opposed a local sales tax measure, which was also on the ballot and was backed unanimously by the Town Council. 0'Neil voiced his support of Measure D.

Bragman said "keeping our services going at the level that the community expects and deserves" will be his first priority. He learned soon after the polls closed that Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh has decided not to move forward with plans to build a music venue, dubbed Terrapin Crossroads, in Fairfax.

"The tragedy of the situation is that we never got to go through it and weigh the impacts and the benefits to the community," Bragman said.

Ryan attributed his victory to the conscientious nature of the Fairfax electorate.

"They may not come to all the council meetings but they do their homework when it comes time to vote," Ryan said. He also expressed regret regarding Lesh's decision.

"I'm disappointed that a small fraction of the community can alter the course of the process," Ryan said. "It got thwarted even before it got started. It just got hijacked."

Lesh began to reconsider after someone posted signsreading "No Terrapin, Please," along his normal morning walking route near his home in Ross.

Bragman said that while the town's finances will be his top concern, he expects the Town Council to continue to address broader issues. In his campaign, Bragman, a lawyer who was elected to the council in 2003, said it was important that Fairfax maintain its autonomy as a "laboratory for democracy."

Lang, who failed in his third bid for a seat on the council, had to explain six arrests by Fairfax police in the past 18 months, including two for driving under the influence to which he eventually pleaded guilty.