The Pacifica City Council voted to appoint a replacement for Jim Vreeland, who , until November, when voters will choose someone to finish his term.
The council had four options in replacing Vreeland. They could have appointed someone for the remainder of his term, which ends in 2014, held a mail-in election before November, not appointed anyone and let voters choose in November, or appointed until November.
By choosing to appoint Vreeland’s replacement until November, the council introduced an ordinance that would permanently set procedure for future vacancies unless they vote to void or change the ordinance in the future. The ordinance will be voted on at the next meeting.
To seek an appointee, the council asked that interested candidates send staff letters of interest, complete with a resume, for review. Letters of interest are due to the city by March 23. The council must choose an appointee by April 27.
There was some discussion about possible candidates for the seat, although the council could not, by law, make an appointment Monday night.
Councilwoman Sue Digre tried to make a motion to appoint Leo Leon, who was the next vote getter in the 2011 city council race, on the spot.
“What kind of information could possibly match someone who was already in the public debate arena?” she asked.
A representative of the city attorney’s office and Councilman Pete DeJarnatt quickly informed Digre that she couldn’t make a motion to appoint someone that night.
Councilwoman Mary Ann Nihart said she was concerned about the possibility of appointing Leon because he lives so close to her and Digre in Manor, which would cause issues if all three members need to recuse themselves from an item like Palmetto undergrounding, for instance.
Digre said she felt that Leon was being slighted.
“I’m concerned about the civil rights of the runner up [Leon],” she said. “It sounds like we already excluded him by saying that you can’t elect three people on one block.”
Members of the public also weighed in on what they think the council should do.
“Due to the fact that we have quite a bit of work to be doing, I would say that the best option for this council is to appoint someone for the duration of [Vreeland’s] term through 2014, said Pacifica resident Sam Casillas. “It’s one of options before you, it’s not disenfranchising anything, it’s there in the bylaws for you to do that.”
Thom Clifford, a former city council candidate, warned the council against appointing someone for the time period leading up to November and agreed with Casillas that the appointee should finish off Vreeland’s term.
He said that if someone were selected only to serve until November, they might feel pressured to vote in such a way that would gain them votes if they were to run in November, and the accountability that goes with the office could be lessened.
“I want full reasoned thinking, not political pandering,” he said.
Pacifica resident Cynthia Rees recommended Gil Anda, Pacifica Climate Action Plan Task Force member, for the appointment.
“He’s been on many task forces, he’s an astute business man, and at this time, with our economy the way it is, he would help city stay green and beautiful and to put green in our coffers,” she said.
Pacifica Passions owner, former San Bruno mayor and Pacifica resident Gary Mondfrans proffered himself as a candidate for appointment, and announced he would be a candidate for a council seat in November.
“I had already planned running for council come November, but what happened with the announcement of Mr. Vreeland has caused me to expedite my own plans,” he said. “I will be active part in council until next election is called, I would like to put my name in the hat. It would be an honor to serve the community. I have loved becoming a business owner in Pacifica.”
Who do you think should receive the appointment?
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