ELECTION FALL OUT

CONCORD TO PICK COUNCILMEMBER   by Edi Birsan

Councilmember Tim Grayson was elected to the Assembly and will be sworn in on December 5th. He leaves the Concord City Council with two years left on his second term in office and the Council replacement process takes place. The process has happened twice in the last 9 years once when Michael Chavez died in office (2007) and once when Mark Peterson became sworn in as D.A. in 2011.

Concord is a General Law City and has the default of the City Council having to either appoint a replacement (by majority vote of the 4 remaining thus at least 3-1) or agree to a special election or if they FAIL to agree within 60 days then there must be a special election within 90 days. A special election costs the city somewhere between $175,000 and $250,000.

This is what comes next based on those experiences:

  1. The Council will call for applications of people who are qualified to run typically at least 18 years old and a resident of Concord.
  2. There will be a public interview of all the candidates gathered together at once in the City Council Chambers.
  3. The 4 Councilmembers will pick from a hat a question from a pool of set questions to ask the candidates. There will probably be two rounds of questions.
  4. The Council will then do a round of voting and then possibly a second round to get three votes for one candidate.
  5. People will say that the decision was already made and that the whole thing was a fixed.

I have campaigned for years on the proposal that “If there is a vacancy in the Council within 6 months of an election, the runner up should automatically be placed in the office if they have 70% of the next highest candidate.” I have proposed that this be an ordinance for the Council to remove the politics from the shadows and put it in the hands of the people’s choice. This will also be brought up before the selection process by me.

This has never gotten support from a SITTING Councilmember. In 2007 Ron Leone was the Runner Up by about 350 votes behind Helen Allen, and when the process came made an impassioned plea that as the runner up he should be assigned to the position. It went to Guy Bjerke. However, in 2011 when he had just won election to the Council and faced with the same choice (the Runner Up being Edi Birsan) he voted for Dan Helix.

I find it especially troubling from a philosophical point of view when Council folks reject the runner up and vote for those that came in worse in the standing. It appears to be an insult to both the runner up and the electorate.

This is what will happen this time.

  1. The Council will call for applications.
  2. There will be a public gathering in the Council Chambers of Candidates.
  3. Most likely 3 of the Council members will ask predetermined or set questions .
  4. Edi Birsan will make up his own questions to ask.
  5. In the first round, Edi Birsan will vote for the Runner Up- Hamish Kumar.
  6. If there is a second round of voting, Edi Birsan will not be voting for any of the other election candidates and will decide amongst the remaining applicants.
  7. People will say that the decision was already made and that the whole thing was a fixed.