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Council Launches Process to Choose New Member
By Jorge Casuso
January 9, 2019 -- The City kicked off the application process Wednesday morning for candidates wanting to fill the City Council seat vacated by Tony Vazquez on Tuesday.
Application forms were made available online shortly after 7:30 a.m., according to the City Clerk's office, and will be accepted through noon next Thursday.
On Tuesday, the Council voted to accept Vazquez's resignation and launch a process that could see a new member chosen at its meeting January 22.
If no candidate wins the four votes necessary, the Council could re-open the application process and vote again on January 29 and, if need be, February 5.
It has 30 days to choose a new council member, otherwise voters would choose a replacement in a special election November 5.
In an effort to be transparent, the City will make all applications available online as soon as they are received.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, no applications had been posted on the City Clerk's website.
At Tuesday's meeting, Mary Marlow, who heads the political watchdog group Santa Monica Transparency, asked the City Council to go further in its effort to be transparent.
"The process so far is a good idea, but I don't think it goes far enough," said Marlow, who sponsored a successful initiative last November to impose term limits on the Council.
"You also need to add what the criteria is for choosing a new City Council member and I think the discussion should be public," she said.
Marlow added that the Council should also reveal if they spoke with the applicants.
Some privy to the Council members' preferences say they are seeking a woman, ideally a Latina from to Pico Neighborhood, to replace Vazquez, who was the City's first Latino mayor.
With the departure of Council member Pam O'Connor after she failed to win re-election in November, the seven-member Council is left with two women -- Mayor Gleam Davis and Sue Himmelrich.
The City also is embroiled in a voting rights lawsuit filed by Latino activists and is expected to appeal the judge's preliminary decision to impose districts once it becomes final.
At the meeting Tuesday, Councilmember Kevin McKeown included a friendly motion that the City Council will only choose a replacement from among those "who have filed applications available to the public."
The new Council member would serve a term ending November 3, 2020.
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