Wanted: One city council member for San Luis Obispo

November 24, 2010

Jan Marx is set to be sworn in as the next mayor of San Luis Obispo on Tuesday night. One of the first challenges for Marx, along with Andrew Carter, John Ashbaugh, and Kathy Smith will be to fill the empty council seat created by the election.

According to the city charter, “Pursuant to Charter Section 406 (Attachment 1), the Council by a majority vote of its remaining members (“the new Council”) “. . .shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy until the person elected to serve the remainder of the unexpired term or new term takes office.” Should the new Council successfully nominate and appoint an applicant, the City Clerk could immediately administer the Oath of Office to the newly appointed Council Member. If the Council fails to fill the vacancy within thirty (30) days following its occurrence, it shall call a special municipal election to fill the vacancy, to be held not sooner than ninety (90) days or not later than one hundred and fifty (150) days following the occurrence of the vacancy. In this case, the election could occur no sooner than March 1, 2011, and no later than April 30, 2011.”

The earliest the issue could be discussed, according to staff, is Dec. 17 since the City will be required to post a legal notice at least 10 days prior to holding a council meeting. People interested in the open council seat may nominate themselves in writing: The minimum requirements for the appointment are at least 30 days residency in San Luis Obispo prior to the appointment and elector status.

If the four sitting council members are unable to agree on a candidate within 30 days, a special election will be called. City officials claim that using an outside contractor to run a special election would cost between $67,500 and $81,000. There would be additional city staff costs, pushing the final total closer to $100,000.

Thus far, two candidates have publicly declared their intention to file: Dan Carpenter, who finished third behind Smith and Carter in the November election, and Kevin P. Rice, a firefighter and local activist.

Patty Andreen, formerly on the San Luis Coastal School District Board, and Carlyn Christianson, who currently serves as Adam Hill’s county planning commissioner, are also expected to submit their names.

According to Rice, both Andreen and Supervisor Hill donated to the recent Jan Marx for Mayor campaign.


16 Comments

  1. rogerfreberg says:

    calm down, dweebs!

    It really doesn’t matter… the city is now as nutty green as it has ever been, Marx can enact virtually whatever she wants without much consultation… and I think we need to let them have their way.

    I would hate to see anyone from any other political perspective becoming ensnared in the potential mess to come…

    This is so a non issue,

    Roger Freberg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  2. Crusader says:

    WOW! Mr. Kevin P. Rice sure does a wonderful job of explaining just how wrong Jan Marx was not to relinquish her council seat before running for mayor. It truly was a selfish move on Marx’s part and we do need to pass a law to keep people like her from taking away the voters’ voice in the future.

    Watch the video…

    http://slovoice.org/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 9

    • R.Hodin says:

      In his video, Rice gives a cheap solution to the vacancy issue. Do what Morro Bay did and change the city charter with a referendum requiring a sitting candidate to resign from the seat they occupy if they are running for Mayor, in advance of the election.

      But Mr. Rice doesn’t want to do this. Instead he wants to do what he does best, and that is to whine and grandstand and in the process, promote the most expensive solution to the vacancy issue — a special election.

      If this is Mr. Rice’s approach to problem solving, how do you think he would do as a council person?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

      • Crusader says:

        From listening to Mr. Rice’s segment on Congalton he does want to change the city charter — that’s one of his group’s long term goals. It’s going to be a lot of work though. No way will the SLO Mayor and City Council do anything on their own to constrain themselves with such a law. It will have to be put on the ballot (the hard part) but if it was, I would bet it would easily pass.

        I know of Mr. Rice only through his video, his comments on Congalton and some Google hits on his advocacy with respect to Pismo Beach. He seems to be bright and informed but I have no idea how good or bad he would do as a councilman.

        What I will say is that I would take him over a Patty Andreen or a Carlyn Christianson type who would only make it onto the council via backroom sleaze.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

        • ThomasPaine says:

          Rice’s actions on several local Internet forums are like those of a unbalanced and possibly dangerous individual. Be careful of what you wish for.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

          • Crusader says:

            Why would you make such a comment? While I don’t know Mr. Rice and never heard of him until I saw his group’s video, I just Googled him and he appears to be a firefighter who works someplace in LA and lives in SLO. They usually don’t hire “unbalanced and possibly dangerous individuals” to be firefighters but you never know…

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

            • SLORider says:

              Crusader, I’d love for any interest parties to contact me.

              kevin@slovoice.org
              (805) 602-2616

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

            • ThomasPaine says:

              Look at his past comments on the Trib web site over the past year and decide for yourself. Then figure out his aliases and look at those comments over the past year. If you like what you read then good for you. Most people would run away.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

          • SLORider says:

            T.P.—

            I will repost, and I ask for YOUR proposed solutions:

            (1) Fix our city charter.

            (2) The ONLY way to dig out the present empty seat is a special election. Unless you feel Democracy isn’t worth $3 to 4 per voter then go ahead and call that “expensive”. In the alternative, there is only one person that LOST the election, but by a close margin that could be appointed. But I prefer a council member that WINS an election to an insider appointee.

            So, the question now is: Are you going to honestly address the issue of democracy, or just make ad hominem attacks? Detractors will chose the latter because arguments against democracy are a losing cause.

            What are your proposed solutions? Do you have ANY?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • SLORider says:

        You couldn’t be more wrong.

        (1) Fix our city charter.

        (2) The ONLY way to dig out the present empty seat is a special election. Unless you feel Democracy isn’t worth $3 to 4 per voter then go ahead and call that “expensive”. In the alternative, there is only one person that LOST the election, but by a close margin that could be appointed. But I prefer a council member that WINS an election to an insider appointee.

        So, the question now is: Are you going to honestly address the issue of democracy, or just make ad hominem attacks? Detractors will chose the latter because arguments against democracy are a losing cause.

        What are your proposed solutions? Do you have ANY?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        • R.Hodin says:

          Yours is only one of many fixes the the SLO City Charter which should be considered and pursued. I wish you success.

          Another would be adoption of a ranked voting system.

          A third would be an initiative to repeal mandatory arbitration in union contract negotiations.

          A fourth would be an initiative to repeal the formula for setting salary levels based on comparable counties.

          I still think you are wasting the public monies forcing a special election when the mechanism exists for the selection of a qualified candidate. The fact that you are putting your name forward (if I understand you correctly) for the empty seat means that you agree that it is a valid way to fill the seat. If you think that I make arguments against democracy, then you don’t know me or my work.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Crusader says:

    It will be interesting to see if Marx and Company have the integrity to do the right thing — appoint 3rd place finisher Dan Carpenter to the vacant seat. There was less than a 1% difference in the voting between 2nd and 3rd place while there was a 10% difference between 3rd and 4th place. Given the cost of a special election, this is the only responsible and honorable thing to do.

    I have my doubts if they will do the right thing though. Marx already failed to do the right thing by not vacating her council seat before running for mayor. Shame on you, Jan. It’s clear she not only wanted a fall-back should she not be elected mayor, she also wanted to be able to dictate (along with her fellow Democrats on the council) who would fill her former seat. Given the fact that Marx and all three council members are supported by the Democratic Central Committee (DCC) it’s likely they will be pushed to appoint another party loyalist.

    If one listens closely one can hear Marx float names like Patty Andreen (who managed Marx’s campaign — it would be a severe conflict of interest to appoint her) and Carlyn Christianson to see peoples’ reactions. Both Andreen and Christianson are DCC loyalists who lacked the character to run for council. If either are elected we will have 5 of 5 DCC members governing the city of SLO and that sort of imbalance is frightening.

    Do the right thing, Marx and Company.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 8

    • R.Hodin says:

      You have a very narrow conception of the “right thing” that you want imposed on others who have earned the people’s vote to sit on the council. But you’re probably right about Marx. I’m sure she’s part of a vast, left-wing conspiracy. Why don’t you put your name in for the empty seat?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

      • Crusader says:

        The right thing would have been for Marx to vacate her council seat before she ran for mayor. That’s precisely why other cities have laws that require such from political candidates. The second best would be to have a special election paid for by Marx or her PAC, the Democratic Central Committee. The third best thing would be to choose the candidate who got the next largest number of votes. The fourth best thing would be to use taxpayer money to fund a special election during tough economic times. The worst thing would be to appoint a political insider through patronage.

        Marx lacked the integrity to do the right thing. That opportunity is lost. It would be nice if Marx or her PAC (the DCC) had the class to pay for a special election but I suspect she/they do not. Picking the next highest vote getter (#3, Mr. Dan Carpenter) seems to be the best alternative. Unfortunately I think Marx and Company will try to slither whomever the DCC wants them to slither onto the board — probably Carlyn Christianson.

        I’m not sure about a “vast, left-wing conspiracy” but it’s clear the local membership of the DCC has made local SLO politics very partisan. Marx was offensive when she claimed she had no PAC. The DCC is her PAC. It’s also the PAC of every other councilperson.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

        • SLORider says:

          Crusader,

          I join R.Hodin in encouraging you to apply if you are a SLO city voter. The larger the candidate pool, the more diverse the choices. Alternatively, come and speak at public comment, or write the council, or write a letter to the editor.

          It is at their own peril that opponents to an election and choice of the People speak. Come, speak with me for democratic representation. We can’t lose.

          Kevin

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

          • Crusader says:

            R.Hodin asked “Why don’t you put your name in for the empty seat?” My answer is that I probably wouldn’t make a very good councilperson, particularly given the mayor-elect and the three other councilpersons. I suspect I lack the patience to work effectively with this group of people, at least in a governmental setting.

            I don’t equate my dislike with what’s going on right now with the notion that I would necessarily make a good councilperson and I think some people do just that. I certainly don’t think I would be as effective as the third place finisher (Mr. Dan Carpenter) for example.

            Finally there is a reticence on my part to be directly associated with Marx and Company, particularly through an appointment. That’s a turn-off whose repugnance is difficult for me to articulate. An appointment that would only take place in the wildest of dreams…

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

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