By JOSHUA WOLFSON
Jim Garaventa has spent the past few years watching the Sonora City Council. Now he's hoping to serve on it.
The Sonora native and council regular said he is running for one of the three Sonora City Council seats open in the March election.
"I just care about what is going on in the city and county," he said. "It is important to me. I think there are a lot of people who care, and I feel I can represent those people who have been here for a long time."
In addition to his council attendance, Garaventa has been one of the few regulars at the city's various committee and commission meetings.
"You don't get informed about the issues very much unless you go to these meetings," he said.
Garaventa, 41, said he would bring a younger perspective to the council whose five members are all in their 60s and 70s.
"I am running because I feel I can contribute," he said. "I feel I come from a different perspective than the people that are there now."
A volunteer at the Tuolumne County Museum, Garaventa said Sonora's historic character must be preserved as much as possible.
"Sonora is unique in its history and it is a major drive for its economy with all the tourists coming up," he said.
Garaventa graduated from Sonora High School and received a degree in history from the University of California, Davis. While there, he led several committees in student government which, he said, had a larger budget than the city of Sonora.
In addition to attending city meetings, Garaventa serves on the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Tuolumne County Transportation Council.
As it stands now, Garaventa will challenge council incumbents Ron Stearn, David Sheppard and Marlee Powell.
Stearn is seeking his 11th and what he said would be his last term on the council. Sheppard is in his first term and, under city law, would take over as mayor if he's reelected.
Mayor Marlee Powell, whose two years in the city's top spot expires in July, is seeking a third term on the council.
The filing period to run for City Council began Nov. 10 and closes Friday.