Council to Appoint Replacement for Vreeland Until November

People interested in a short-lived city council seat should send letters of interest to the city by March 23.


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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hutch March 15, 2012 at 12:27 AM
You're funny Bruce. And if you want to change the California statute so the next person in line gets the appointment thats fine. But hurry up. It's ridiculous to think that the LOSER by a very wide margin from an election held many many months ago should be handed the seat. Should McCain take over if Obama leaves? It makes no sense man and it's not the way things are done in America. And would you still say that if the runner up was Susan Vellone as Steve pointed out. A very transparent attempt to get someone in there that agrees with Digre and De Jarnett about driving this city further into the mire.
concerned voter March 15, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Why this self-serving political focus on Leon? Everyone on the school board got more votes than him AND balanced budgets AND brought in a big modernization on time and under budget. School scores are climbing. That's all pretty good from where I sit. This Mr. Leon also had an open government complaint plus had to unwind a big part of a planning commission meeting because of the violation. I didn't vote for him in 2010 and I don't support him now.
Dogbert March 15, 2012 at 03:39 AM
I'm agreeing with Bhatman and Bray on this one except, and I'm sure they would agree, that since it is a four year term for an elected Council member, it is only fair that we go back two elections (4 years) and rank the candidates by their total votes. If that is the case, here are the top five ranked selections to replace Vreeland: 1. Cal Hinton (2008 - 6,386 votes) 2. Jeffrey Simons (2008 - 4,508 votes) 3. William "Leo" Leon (2010 - 3,280 votes) 4. Susan Vellone (2010 - 3,180 votes) 5. Tod M. Schelsinger (2008 - 2,513 votes) No need to thank me. Bringing honesty and integrity to the political process is what I do.
ian butler March 15, 2012 at 05:50 AM
That's pretty funny! Dogbert, who is actually Jeff Simons, wants to go back two elections, since two elections ago he got more votes than Leo Leon. He leaves out the fact that in 2008 there were only five candidates, whereas in 2010 there were 7 candidates, therefore each candidate got proportionally less votes. If Jeff wants to play with numbers let's look at how many votes they were behind the top finisher: 1. Leo Leon: 1,168 2. Susan Vellone: 1,369 3. Cal Hinton: 2,558 4. Jeff Simons: 4,436 5. Tod Schlesinger: 6,431 As you can see this paints a very different picture. Of course, no one seriously thinks we should be basing any decisions on anything that happened 2 elections ago. I will assume Jeff was just trying to be clever while tooting his own horn. But to do so while pretending to be somebody else is just creepy.
Steve Sinai March 15, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Where did I say that Susan Vellone should be appointed, Mr.. Hallman? You're imagining things.
Jeffrey Simons March 15, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Butler, stop being the village idiot. You know I am not "Dogbert". Don't you have an illegal pot shop to shill for? I've already told Camden I'm fed up with your continued defamation of me. Either prove I am Dogbert, or you both can hear from my attorney. No wonder Pacifica is swirling around the toilet bowl, with this magnanimous brain trust at its helm. As for the council replacement? Well why doesn't a smart know it all like you apply? Or Bray? or Sinai? Between the three of you, you've got this town miraculously saved! You've got all the answers! Hurrah! You three can rotate once every third meeting. You'd still all attend more meetings than Vreeland.
Day-Oh March 15, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Am I the only one concerned with the phrase, "...the council passed an ordinance that permanently sets procedure for future vacancies unless they vote to void or change the ordinance in the future."? Isn't HOW a council seat filled something the electorate should have a say in?
Steve Sinai March 15, 2012 at 06:23 PM
"...you both can hear from my attorney." I'm sure Camden and Ian are both quaking in their boots.
hutch March 15, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I saw that. What is the ordinance? They can not enforce any ordinance that is weaker that state law.
Pacifica Index March 15, 2012 at 07:53 PM
hutch, California Government Code § 36512(c)(3) provides for the construction of just such an ordinance as the one enacted by Council. The ordinance itself may be found here: http://www.pacificaindex.com/citycouncilagendas2012/2012-03-12-CCMA.pdf#page=62 Please note that during the March 12, 2012 Council Meeting the ordinance was amended to include SECTION 5 which establishes a one-year sunset clause (whereupon the ordinance will no longer be in force).
Jeffrey Simons March 15, 2012 at 08:32 PM
glad Sinai chimed in . . . so let us ask, what got us into this mess? The Fix Pacifica blog was established by myself and another concerned citizen with the explicit goal of making sure Vreeland did NOT get re-elected. By documenting his continued malfeasance and habitual absences - from both City Council and the county boards where he represented Pacifica - we wanted to create a groundswell of opposition. And we wanted to endorse candidates in the 2010 election to oppose him. The along comes Sinai. Who hijacked the blog for his own nefarious purposes, and locked out myself and the other blog editor. And then he refused to run articles which exposed the corruption and malfeasance of which Mr Vreeland was a party. And then he refused to use the blog to inform voters or endorse specific candidates. Rumor has it Len Stone refused to be associated with a supposedly pro-economy blog!! How many votes did Sinai's actions cost Susan Vellone? (cont.)
Jeffrey Simons March 15, 2012 at 08:41 PM
in fact, the supporters of Leo Leon should be upset with Mr sinai as well, for how many votes did Sinai and Fix Pacifica cost Leo Leon by refusing to pressure Mr Vreeland from running at all? Surely all the "pro-environment" votes that got split between Mr Vreeland and Mr. Leon would have gone solely to Mr. Leon. So 18 months later we have this debacle of Vreeland not attending meetings. His "personal problems" aside, I was instrumental in documenting his chronic absenteeism as far back as 2006. Of course you never read about this on the blog Mr Sinai hijacked. I think you can place this consitutional crisis and endemic failure on the same old story of someone who put his own self importance above the good of the community. As for the rumors of the polcie search for Mr vreeland - which were quickly supressed in the media by members of City Council - all I can say is I wish such sympathies for his well being had been so publicly extended to the families of Mike Angel, Dave Carmany, Maureen Lennon, and so many other dutiful city employees who have suffered the wratch of Mr Vreeland over the years. You know what Camden, I changed my mind. Keep Butler's idiotic comments on the website. Expose the community to the brain trust which has systematically destroyed Pacifica with their perpetual obsession with being WRONG.
Jeffrey Simons March 15, 2012 at 08:48 PM
that should say the "wrath" of Mr Vreeland, which can be mighty. Heard he had quite the meltdown at City Hall the day I helped put a halt to his pet biodiesel project. I take great pride in stopping that debacle. Was Sinai a part of that? Sadly NO. His list of accomplishments for the betterment of Pacifica is small indeed, consisting solely of latching on to the efforts to stop the first attempt to impose a brutal sales tax on Pacifica. of course, others did most of the research to bring that inept decision to a halt.
Pacificat March 15, 2012 at 10:28 PM
The ordinance allows them to make an interim appointment. Without it, they couldn't do that. The ordinance was introduced at the meeting, then it is voted on and adopted at the next meeting. The appointment can't be made until the ordinance is passed.
Pacifica Index March 15, 2012 at 11:00 PM
You are correct; the March 12 action was Introduction of the ordinance, not Adoption. Thank you for the clarification.
Camden Swita March 15, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Clarified in the article, too.
Steve Sinai March 16, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Therapy, Jeff. Seek therapy.
Jeffrey Simons March 16, 2012 at 12:26 AM
classic response, Steve. Personal attack devoid of substance.
Steve Sinai March 16, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Jeff, you were kicked off Fix Pacifica after you threw a tantrum (like you're doing here) and deleted dozens of articles
Jeffrey Simons March 16, 2012 at 02:14 AM
no tantrum here, and your version of events is inaccurate. why are you and butler so focused on me? I thought the brain trust of Pacifica was focused on fixing it? what have you or Butler or Bray done in the last 5 years to fix it?
Pacificat March 16, 2012 at 03:22 AM
I just read the article. Nihart wasn't concerned that she lived so close to Leon and Digre. Her concern was that DeJarnatt, Digre, and Leon are all close neighbors in Manor. Nihart lives in Sharp Park.
Charles Dodgson March 16, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Why are they so focused on you?!??! Are you insane? How long are you going to keep beating your dead horse from 2000 miles away?
Chris Fogel March 16, 2012 at 05:52 AM
I was the one who addressed Council about this and a number of other things during the Mar. 12 meeting -- I'm afraid it was my first time in front of Council and I was so nervous, I could barely articulate myself. I was concerned that since Council chose the whole "immediate appointment" option so they could go forward with their work, they should be mindful of selecting someone who wouldn't have to recuse themselves from issues, putting them right back in the conundrum they find themselves -- with quorum problems. I pointed out to Council that DeJarnatt and Digre live within a few doors of each other. If they selected another individual from the same neighborhood, Council wouldn't have a quorum on issues involving that neighborhood. At the time I pointed this out, I had absolutely no idea that Leo Leon lived in that same neighborhood (full disclosure: I voted for Leo Leon in 2010). Likewise, appointing someone who lives near the proposed Senior Center means no quorum on that matter as well (Stone and DeJarnatt have to recuse themselves). I also suggested to Council that they may want to look into adopting a Charter in order to codify future appointment and election processes. One of the many things a charter would allow is separating the City into districts with a Councilmember from each. This way you can better avoid multiple recusals and lack of quorums. One could also codify an attendance policy and many other things as well. Just food for thought.
hutch March 16, 2012 at 03:08 PM
This whole recusing crap has got to be changed. Can the rules be modified on this? What if all 5 were in proximity of a project. Or 3 or 4? This is a small town, almost every project is going to affect Council members personally.
hutch March 16, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Or is it "effect"
Jeffrey Simons March 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Mr Dodgson, Ian Butler falsely and knowingly attributed comments to me that I did not make, in an effort to ridicule me, and in this publication. Please google "defamation of character". But more to the point, I did not originally post to this news article. Ian Butler defamed my name, and I responded. Your comments seem to indicate that if I engage with a stalker to tell him to leave me alone, I am guilty of stalking. That seems rather odd. Since I am not the one who initially engaged, I am not beating a dead horse. However, I do find it interesting that Mr Vreeland's chronic absences are now news worthy when I have documented them as far back as 2005. I appreciate Lionel Emde's articles, but I was complaining about the deceptive increases in sewer fees since 2006. In 2007, I went before City Council and voiced my concern that public employee salaries and benefits were increasing while staff levels were decreasing. but I never implied that was "larceny" by the city employees (police, fire, etc) whom I have unhesitatingly supported in the past. It was basic municipal economics that should have been addressed. Really, the dead horse being beat here is the "know nothing do nothing" crowd who like to drag my name through the mud as a distraction to their lack of action in "fixing" Pacifica. The city is broke, in more ways than one, I worked tirelessly for years to help turn things around.
Paul Slavin March 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Excuse me, but could we stop this trivial chatter and get back to the soap opera? In the last episode, the banished, dejected Jeffrey, having been swindled out of his inheritance by the smarmy, fast-talking Sinai, casts a rueful backward glance at the fading, fog-shrouded City-by-the-Sea and sobs, "I worked tirelessly for years to help turn things around!" Is this a veiled threat to return from exile, to reclaim his estates and clear the family name? Or is it a subconscious plea for forgiveness and reconciliation? And what of the cunning Ian; is he really the affable troubadour, or a sinister behind-the-scenes manipulator? Tune in tomorrow.
Pacificat March 16, 2012 at 05:00 PM
... changing the channel ...
Laurie McComb McClellan March 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Why not Jinny Jaquith? In the pass, she did a very good job for all of us in Pacifica. I do not think she is the type of person who play's game's. Like some on the city council. You know who you are!! Now the resiedents of Pacifica do aswell!! If not Jinny, Then leave it open and let the voter's elect who we want. Instaed of A YES person! That is the kind of person the council want's. In order to get thing's pass now. Before they get recalled. ( with any luck!) Give the Job to the voter's in November. So we can vote for a person or person's who really care about Pacifica the city. Also the people and family's who live here.
Erin Macias June 13, 2012 at 06:09 AM
For those of you involved in the libelous dialogue on the thread, please review the Terms of Use http://pacifica.patch.com/terms.


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