Santa Paula | Now is the Time to be a City Council Member

By Sheryl Hamlin

With the resignation of Martin Hernandez, effective August 1st, 2018, the council has options for filling this vacancy according to City Attorney Cotti: 1) appoint or 2) special election. The key time period is a 60 day window starting with August 1st, Cotti explained. There are variations on the appointment process.

Three speakers, Aaron Dunkle (citizen), Arely Preciado (CAUSE), Laura Espinosa (Former Council Member), spoke to issues of transparency, timing and cost, all of which favor the appointment process.

Martin Hernandez reiterated that one option includes an appointment drawn from any eligible citizen even those already on the ballot. Council Member Procter wants to avoid the confusion of a name in both places.

Mayor Gherardi said that the application period should be thirty days, which means it is impossible to complete prior to the August 14, 2018 deadline for council applications, so they must be prepared for a candidate in both pools of candidates

Mr. Cotti said there are ways to process this situation, such as taking the next highest candidate on the ballot or holding another application process.

Mayor Gherardi polled and it was clear no one was interested in the special election process.

In one of the most revelatory statements of the evening, Council Member Hernandez said that in some jurisdictions, the governing body tries to fill a vacancy with a person whose beliefs are similar to the outgoing member of the body saying he has had conversations with several such persons. Mr. Hernandez reminded that he ran on infrastructure and public safety.

Council Member Hernandez also said they cannot be responsible for the person’s choices, saying that he or she can chose to be both on the ballot and apply.

City Manager Rock reminded the council that there is no application for council on file. City Attorney Cotti was charged to produce such an application, which will be available on the City’s website as of August 1, when the 30 day period begins.

Mayor Gherardi said the application should include accomplishments and involvement in the community.

There was also a discussion about including FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) Form 700. The Form 700 will be included with the application.

The appointment process passed 5-0.

Mayor Gherardi presents Council Member Hernandez his plaque

Adjournment in Honor of Dan Garcia

Dan Garcia passed away Sunday. Mr. Garcia had been the Harding Park caretaker since 1990. There was nothing he couldn’t or wouldn’t do, according to City Manager Rock.

To watch the meeting, click here.

Note that Wednesday will be the new council day.


For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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2 Responses to Santa Paula | Now is the Time to be a City Council Member

  1. Sheryl August 1, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Here’s the link for the Councilmember Applications:

  2. Laura Espinosa July 27, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    I spoke to city attorney Cotti following the city council meeting. He explained that the form 700 is due in Santa Paula, upon assuming office when appointed to the vacant city council seat. (Other cities may have different rules). It is NOT due with submission of the application for those seeking appointment.


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