TOM BUTT'S Jan. 10, 2013 E-FORUM UPDATE:
The following emails have been circulating publicly:
Below, Councilmember Jim Rogers declares his position to a constituent on the appointment replacement for Councilman Gary Bell. While I share a few of his opinions such as should Rogers hold fast, there is only three votes for Eduardo Martinez or any other RPA candidate and it is unlikely any of the three RPA council members, McLaughlin, Butt and Beckles will break rank and vote for anyone other than a RPA candidate. Therefore it becomes a stalemate.
For whatever it is worth, I have a different perspective in which I hope the council will consider and that is to not rush into any appointment at this time. Out of respect to Gary, Shelley, his family and the 11,474 voters and supporters who work hard to elect him, the council should relax and provide ample time and opportunity for his recovery. Gary could wake up in a few days, weeks or a month and the medical doctors could declare him fit and capable of serving. Should this occur, the council would be wise and morally correct to unanimously appoint him to the seat he was elected. However, if his condition remains the same as today, within a week of the deadline of 60 days, March 8th, per city charter, the council should call a special meeting on or about March 1, 2013 to consider an appointment and failure to do so, place the matter on the ballot.
This has been an unfortunate and tragic situation to a candidate who deserved better and now need our love and support. We oftentimes forget, for the grace of God this tragic situation could have happen to any one of us. Lets keep praying for Gary and his family.
Councilman Nat Bates
This is Jim Rogers' response to an acquaintance's email requesting he support Eduardo to fill Gary's council seat.
Have at it!
Thanks for your email requesting that I "consider saving Richmond the
time and expense of a special election and support the appointment of Eduardo
Martinez to Mr. Bell's unclaimed seat". Some have argued that Eduardo as
the runner up should be appointed.
Others argue that we should appoint someone more consistent with Gary Bell's philosophy. They point out that the Charter asks the Council to exercise our discretion, and that no runner up has been appointed in the last 4 appointments. I can see the logic in both sides of this argument. If Eduardo is appointed he serves for 2 years.During that time, as pointed out by Carolyn Jones' recent story in the
"In the end, it might not matter who fills the seat. The progressives already have four votes - Butt, McLaughlin, Jim Rogers and Jovanka Beckles - while the more pro-business faction usually consists of Bates and Corky Booze." While there will be at least a 4 person progressive majority for 2013 and 2014 regardless of who wins, 2015 and 2016 are a different story, as there are 4 seats up for grabs in the November 2014 election. If Eduardo is appointed he would need to defend his seat in a high turnout election in 2014, and it would be much easier for a deceptive Chevron campaign to buy the election, as many believe they did this time (e.g. the Birthday party picture of Eduardo which was misrepresented to be pro-anarchy headgear.) If Eduardo (or some other Chevron-independent candidate) wins the special election, he/she is in office till 2017. In a low turnout special election the high turnout precincts would be much more important. Eduardo generally won these high turnout precincts 2-1 over the Chevron backed candidates in the recent November 2012 election.
Eduardo generally lost the low turnout precincts by a 2-1 or 3-1 margin. So if the voters who are likely to turn out vote the same way in a special election, Eduardo wins easily.It won't be so easy for Chevron to reach into their deep pockets and pull out a bag of tricks to buy a special election, voters would focus on this one election (not on the 40 or 50 other votes on their ballots) and supporters of Chevron independent candidates (whether Eduardo or others) could focus on raising money and ringing doorbells for one candidate, not for several candidates and causes. This would help equalize the overwhelming financial advantage Chevron will have. (Also the campaign public financing law which I authored will help reduce that advantage.) The 5 political consultants/observers I have surveyed (representing pro and anti Chevron viewpoints) unanimously believe that Chevron would be very unlikely to prevail in a low turnout special election in June of 2013, and would have much much better odds of defeating Eduardo in 2014 if he is appointed. If Eduardo is defeated by a Chevron friendly candidate in 2014 Chevron only has to win 2 of the 4 other races to retake control of the Council. Some have argued that the Council should appoint a candidate to avoid the cost of a stand alone special election. In recent years, the Council has voted on 2 different 1 billion dollar projects (Casino and Chevron Renewal), and we also negotiated a $115,000,000 settlement of tax disputes with Chevron. The School District will very likely have a ballot measure on in June, which reduces the cost to $100,000. $100,000 is 1/100 of one percent of the billion dollar project. That is a small price to pay to have the best possible Council.
I am in the process of pondering this complicated matter, and I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me.
If you have additional thoughts to add, please feel free to call me
(510.867.5725) or email me.