Clarke and Weissman, and What They Have in CommonBy Ari L. Noonan @ 2:00 PM April 18, 2012
Had not newly elected Council members Jim Clarke and Andy Weissman wandered into Council Chambers out of curiosity yesterday afternoon, the slender crowd for the counting of the final ballots from the week-old election would have been an embarrassing 5 instead of a lusty 7.
Looks as if they will be friendly teammates when the reconfigured City Council is installed on Monday evening at 7 in Council Chambers at City Hall.
For an hour yesterday, while City Clerk Martin Cole delivered well-spaced pronouncements for the belated absentee and provisional votes in each of the 13 precincts, Messrs. Clarke and Weissman kibitzed.
Both witty, they are as light on their tongues as they are on their feet.
Although they have trod separate career paths – Mr. Clarke, lifelong political operative/strategist, Mr. Weissman, Downtown attorney and arch-community activist – they had plenty to shmooze about.
Contemporaries, at 63, Mr. Clarke is a year older than Mr. Weissman, whose birthday is this month. Together they will be the senior members of the Council.
Abandoning their audience seats, they drew up folding chairs and parked side-by-side, directly below the giant screen on the eastern wall that held a small-print graph of precinct by precinct.
Mr. Weissman finished 174 votes ahead of runnerup Meghan Sahli-Wells.
Mr. Clarke, by placing fourth, 72 behind Mehaul O’Leary and 383 ahead of Scott Malsin, landed the final two years of Mr. Malsin’s unexpired term. Last week’s other three winners will serve full four-year terms.
As Mr. Weissman neared the bright line of 3,000 votes after nine of the 13 precincts had been counted, Mr. Clarke could not resist.
“You’re going over 3,000,” he jabbed. “Time for an oil change.”
“Need to rotate my tires, too.”
“You should –they’re pretty bald,” the thick black-haired Mr. Clarke quipped, wincing at the glare slanting back at him from Mr. Weissman’s shiny pate.
Mr. Clarke, a principal deputy to Mayor Villaraigosa, imbibes all things political at all hours.
True, Not much happened at the counting, but a devotee does not need a train work to maintain attention.
“It went along the same lines as before,” he said, “but it was interesting because these are voters who come in at the last minute. You are wondering if there will be any changes in their voting patterns.
“It looks pretty consistent this afternoon. But I want to go through it and look more closely later.”
Mr. Clarke was asked when he would open his re-election campaign for the spring of 2014.
But he smilingly interrupted his interrogator.
“You mean when did I open my ’14 campaign?”
Nearby, Mr. Weissman was surveying his cell phone screen.
“All of the statisticians who said there weren’t going to be many changes proved to be correct,” he said.
“I am happy with the final results. “I look forward to the swearing-in on Monday and to helping the Council solve the problems of the city.”
By the Numbers
With 4,889 ballots counted, 19.7 percent of registered residents went to the polls...
Mr. Weissman was named on 68 percent of ballots, according to analyst George N. Laase, Ms. Sahli-Wells on 59.5 percent, Mr. Clarke on 57.6 percent, Mr. O’Leary on 55 percent, Mr. Malsin on 50 percent.