From emails today:
Felix Hunziker: If we don’t have a special election I think this is a very appealing alternative. Gosney, a labor leader and community activist, is respected by many and has provided years of volunteer service and insightful commentary to our City. I’m really pleased, though not surprised, with his honorable offer to hold Gary’s seat only until he becomes well enough to serve the voters who elected him.
From: Don Gosney [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2013 10:33 AM
To: Don Gosney
Subject: Gary Bell’s Vacant Council Seat
Gary Bell’s inability to be sworn in as a member of the Richmond City Council—a seat which he earned with the 11,474 votes cast on November 6th supporting him—has thrown Richmond into a situation which will be nearly as divisive as Point Molate, as the soda tax or as Chevron.
What to do with that vacant seat? Should it go to the next runner up? Should the Council make an appointment? Should they throw it back to the people for a Special Election? These are all subjects for future discussions (which I will elaborate on in due time).
Right now, though, I’m announcing that when the Council formally declares the seat to be vacant, I will fill out the paperwork seeking the appointment from the Council. My own qualifications to serve on the Council and to represent my community—the entire city—makes me a candidate who should be given due consideration. In particular, my core beliefs are very similar to Gary’s and my representation of the people would be similar to the representation that Gary would have provided. On the other hand, appointing the next highest vote getter from the November 6th election would seat someone with dramatically inconsistent views from Gary’s and would go contrary to the wishes of those 11,474 voters.
It is my firm belief that this seat belongs to Gary Bell. I would much rather that the Council wait as long as possible to allow Gary an opportunity to become healthy enough to take the seat that has his name on it. Political expediency for the sake of retaining control over the Council would be a selfish thing to do and would not serve the best interests of the City as a whole.
Absent that as an option, though, I’m seeking the serious consideration of the six remaining members of the Council for their appointment.
I’m making a commitment here and now—in writing—that my appointment would be as a temporary placeholder until Gary becomes healthy enough to take the seat that is rightfully his. I would publicly commit that if I could get signed commitments from a majority of the Council that they would appoint Gary to fill a vacancy should I resign, then when Gary tells me that he is ready to take his rightful seat, I would step down without hesitation so he could serve this community as they have asked him to do so.
I support Gary Bell as I have since I first met him nearly 15 years ago. I personally supported Gary Bell for every local position he’s sought and I’ve used my limited influence with Organized Labor, with the business community and with my neighbors to encourage them to support Gary as well. My support has not diminished just because he’s not yet able to be sworn in.
I will be actively seeking the support of all six members of the Council and will strive to meet with each one as soon as possible to discuss my qualifications and viewpoints so they can assess my qualifications based on what I’ve done, what I believe in and what I can do for our community.
I welcome the thoughts from each and every one of you on this.
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