Shooting the Moon

The Council met last Friday to discuss when to schedule the election to fill Andy Klein’s seat, and the process we’ll use to make an interim appointment. Despite two compromise proposals put forward by Matt & I we are still deadlocked.

The idea I presented would call an election for November, 2012, but focus the six month interim appointment process on experienced individuals who could hit the ground running. I further proposed we not ask appointment candidates to pledge not to run (i.e., any appointee would be welcome to run in the election this fall). I thought this would address, at least in part, Ron’s & Bob’s concerns over experience level, candidate qualifications and allowing candidates to serve the City as they saw fit. It isn’t what I believe we should do, but politics is the art of compromise.

Matt’s idea went further. He proposed not having an early election, and instead look to the regularly-scheduled November, 2013 one. He only asked that appointment candidates pledge not to run in November, 2013. This also addresses the concerns I thought we heard from Ron & Bob at our first meeting, while avoiding bestowing unearned incumbency on someone. It is, I believe, what the Council opted to do in the spring of 2011 when they filled Omar’s seat.

When Matt teed up his proposal I thought to myself “well, that’s that; no early election to give voters a chance to choose their leaders”. I fully expected Ron or Bob or both to agree to Matt’s idea.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when they proceeded to reject both compromise proposals.

What in the world is going on?

I’m not sure. But I’m growing concerned there’s a not-so-hidden agenda here, and that Bob and Ron each have a particular candidate in mind they want to see appointed. Who they also don’t want to have to seek validation from voters until a significant period of time has passed. Or maybe it’s that they don’t want their candidate to have to run in back-to-back elections.

I hope the first concern is not what’s in play, because it’s fundamentally undemocratic. While I understand the second concern, it places the personal interests of the appointee above the rights of the community. Neither of these are platform planks on which I’d ever want to face voters.

If there are candidates waiting in the wings I would ask them, whoever they are, to think about the message being sent by the way this is rolling out. Do you really want to rejoin the Council on a platform of “my needs come before your rights, San Carlos?”

And if there aren’t, I hope either Bob or Ron or both of them step up and offer some compromise to break the deadlock. Rejecting what Matt & I suggested is one thing. Trying to shoot the moon and grab it all is another. Sometimes that works…but more often it doesn’t.

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