Sara Rubin here, thinking about how elections get a lot of attention – for the candidates, they take a lot of work – but the work doesn’t really start until the officials are elected.
Some initial assignments are usually mostly ceremonial. This includes appointments to the various committees, boards and commissions where most of the actual policy work is done.
Who gets the powerful appointments is naturally a political question. This is also a representation issue. Sometimes, these things conflict.
When the Salinas City Council met on Jan. 10, Mayor Kimberly Craig proposed appointing a series of board and committee members. She described a process that involved a range of factors: MP demands; scheduling and availability; and gaining new voices on boards with multi-year representation.
City Councilman Anthony Rocha is preparing for a political fight over who will represent the city on the board of Monterey One Water, the area’s sewerage agency that recently found itself in the middle of the Monterey Peninsula water supply. The highly political saga of the future and Cal Am’s role in it.
Craig suggested appointing himself (previously an understudy) to M1W’s board of directors, while Rocha advocated his appointment. “The area [Craig and I] What disagrees is M1W — I believe she and I have very different philosophies … as it pertains to water policy,” Rocha said.
Then he said directly to Craig: “I think you’re a smart guy, a capable guy — I think that’s something you and I have in common, but it’s not about intelligence or ability, it’s about vision and values.” problem. We actually have different parliamentary majorities and they have different views of the city.”
Rocha was referring to the chaos in District 5, where Councilman Andrew Sandoval ousted incumbent Councilor Christie Cromeenes. The thinking was that Sandoval — who was backed by Rocha and three other Latino members of the city council — would consolidate the 5-2 majority vote. But in the first test of what was seen as a potential voting block – whether to appoint Rocha rather than Craig as M1W – the test failed.
Councilors Rocha, Sandoval and Carla Viviana González voted for Rocha. Two of Sandoval’s political allies, Tony Barrera and Orlando Osornio, voted to keep the mayor in her seat, which she won 4-3. Political winds don’t always blow in the direction you expect.
Such votes are ubiquitous in the appointment of the elected, as well as ordinary people in various leadership positions. In Pacific Grove, Mayor Bill Peake has faced criticism for suggesting that the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force be restructured, even though former members are interested in staying on — despite their impressive short-term performance so far. (Given the political nature of such appointments, I am not surprised that Peek chose not to recommend Mike Vaux for any of the four positions he applied for; Vaux ran against Peque in November and lost.)
Most dates happen with little discussion. Due to the importance of the committee, the appointment of the regional planning body LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Committee) is usually a hot issue, especially now that LAFCO is in the public spotlight with a highly tense and important decision regarding the Monterey peninsula of Soledad. Water providers and growth.
At the County Board of Supervisors meeting on Jan. 17, Board Chairman Luis Alejo submitted recommendations on who should be appointed to the two LAFCO seats: himself and Supervisor Chris Lopez ), all of whom had served at LAFCO.
Supervisor Wendy Root Askew has a proposal of her own: appoint herself and the newly elected Glenn Church, and remove Alejo and Lopez from the influential committee. Lopez offered a compromise: reappoint himself and add Church to the roster.
As I write about in this week’s column, it’s a political hot potato that tests the new board’s coalition. Will Church stick to the status quo and wait a year for his turn, seek compromise, or upend the power structure? He chose the latter.
The new LAFCO board is now meeting for the first time, including the swearing-in of new commissioners and congratulations to old commissioners. You can join the meeting online through this link.