City Council To Conduct Private Election

Calabasas council member Jonathan Wolfson resigned from his publicly-elected post last month.  With one year left on his term, the City Council decided to ignore the results of the public election from 9 months earlier, and privately elect Mr. Wolfson’s replacement.  It’s a bad idea, for a few reasons.

First, there are now 22 applicants for the post, from which the 4 remaining members of the City Council must choose.  To select fairly among the 22 requires the establishment of criteria, which is new and dangerous territory for the City to move in.

Second, the Brown Act stipulates, with only 4 members, that no two City Council members can discuss any issues outside of a public meeting that are material to the business of the Council.  That now includes this election.  If any of the 22 applicants feels that two members of the City Council collaborated against them, they could sue the City.

Perhaps its time to review the results of the election held 9 months ago in March 2011.  Voters were asked to select two new Council members, of which 3339 voters responded.  The results below:

candidate votes %
Fred Gaines 1387 42%
Lucy Martin 1361 41%
Bob Sibilia 1161 35%
Martha Fritz 946 28%
Alicia Weintraub 695 21%
Roxsana Sepanlou 241 7%
Terry Stobie 216 6%

Of course, Mr. Gaines and Ms. Martin were elected and are now in office.  But each of the remaining candidates are among the 22 applicants.  Wouldn’t there be a lot less risk of litigation if the City simply accepted the next most popular candidate, backed by the votes of its citizens?

May the best candidate win.