SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | When the remaining members of the San Leandro City Council meet Sept. 13 to choose a replacement for former Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak, who resigned last August, there will only have four candidates to pick from.
Planning commissioner Tom Dlugosh was the only unanimous choice of the council. Former Mayor John Faria received five votes (sans current Mayor Stephen Cassidy), Charles Kane garnered four votes, school teacher Dana Chohlis, three.
None of the three candidates on the November ballot, Benny Lee, Chris Crow and Darlene Daevu received any consideration. Starosciak would have been termed out at the end of the year. If an new council member is named Sept. 13, the appointee will only serve until Dec. 31.
After initial reservations from Councilmembers Diana Souza and Ursula Reed about cutting the list of eight applicants without any vetting, both acquiesced to each member ranking their top three picks. "When we put out an application for anyone to be on city council and we get eight applications," said Reed, "I would hate to impede the process and stop the public being interested in the city council process."
Councilwoman Pauline Cutter said she can attest to the rigors of learning the council process on the fly. She was elected to the council in 2010. "It takes a while to get up and running," she said, adding she prefers a candidate with experience on a city commission or city council and not one of the current candidates running for election this fall.
Prola shared Cutter's opinion, but added if the appointment was longer than the over 100 days in office, his thought process might be different. Prola, himself, was appointed to the council in 2007, said choosing one of the three candidates campaigning for the seat would give one person an unfair advantage. In addition, with a nod to the potential close race in District 4, Prola added, "That individual might not even be elected."
When the council meets for a special meeting Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, the four remaining applicants will be asked six questions, Cassidy said Tuesday night.
Whomever is chosen next week, the stakes may be high with a number of controversial issues to be heard by the new council, including medical marijuana dispensaries, the potential for approving a controversial wind turbine near Heron Bay and, most importantly, negotiating and signing new public employee and public safety labor contracts.