Debating (?) Who Will Succeed Mehaul as Mayor on MondayBy Ari L. Noonan @ 3:00 PM April 20, 2012
(See pdf below)
The warmest political question around town on a warm weekend is:
Who will be elected Mayor at Monday evening’s 7 o’clock City Council installation meeting?
It was supposed to be Scott Malsin’s turn.
By now, though, nearly everyone knows what happened to him: Voters last week stopped him considerably short of regaining his Council chair.
Since he resigned not only his Councilmanic position last Dec. 12 but his Vice Mayorship, Culver City has been without a Vice Mayor.
Not exactly an emergency.
This is not quite parallel to a family of 10 suffering sudden foreclosure,
However, it may lead to uncomfortable stickiness on Monday night.
Whomever is elected, it is assured there will be a tone change in the coming 12 months. The ever present Mehaul O’Leary, elected a year ago, has brought the honorary office new prominence.
Playful, serious, ripely enthusiastic and ubiquitous, he has arguably openly enjoyed the job more than most of his predecessors.
Under the semi-proscribed rotation system, newly re-elected Andy Weissman and third-year Jeff Cooper are the putative candidates.
The ostensible advantage goes to Mr. Weissman.
But will he be elected?
Two years ago after an argument, a revised four-point mayoralty rotation plan was adopted:
1. The Vice Mayor would rotate annually into the Mayor’s chair.
2. The new Vice Mayor would be “the most senior member in length of uninterrupted service who has not previously served as Vice Mayor.” In case of a tie, the preference will go to the member who received the most votes in the most recent election involving those with equal seniority.
3. “If all members have served as Vice Mayor, the position will be filled by the member who has not served in that role for the longest time.”
4. The Vice Mayor shall serve as chair of the (now defunct) Redevelopment Agency.
The central barometer – length of uninterrupted service – weighs unmistakably in Mr. Weissman’s favor. He has logged twice as many years as Mr. Cooper.
But notice the squishy, conditional door half-open language in the Charter rewrite.
The most threatening passage in the policy occurs in the second sentence of the rotation description:
“The following shall be the preferred method of selecting the Mayor and Vice Mayor.”
The rewritten policy was supposed to crystallize the selection process and halt arguments.
Does this mean voters have an option if they are in a bad mood and want to support an outlier?
Jim Clarke, who will be one of two rookies on the reshuffled City Council, said this afternoon he was “not prepared” to say who he will vote for.
“Of course I have thought about it,” he said. “I will just tell you this: I won’t be voting for myself.”