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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Piedmont picks a new mayor as city moves forward following Wieler resignation

Robert McBain, left, seated withCouncilmember 
Teddy Grey King, was chosen as Piedmont mayor 
Tuesday night. PHOTO/Keegan Tatum
PIEDMONT CITY COUNCIL
By Keegan Tatum

Bob McBain tapped his left hand on the papers of an open binder with an obvious mixture of nerves and excitement as he addressed a few dozen people for the first time as Piedmont’s mayor.

McBain succeeds Jeff Wieler after Wieler made bigoted comments on social media; resigned as mayor; and, then, left the City Council entirely on Aug. 31. Piedmont’s mayor is elected by vote of the city council.

The now four-person council voted unanimously for McBain, who is the only remaining member to have already served a full term in office. Teddy Grey King was elected as vice mayor without a single “nay” vote.

Jeff Wieler resigned from the Piedmont

City Council Aug. 31 following public
uproar over comments he made on
social media.
Mentions of Wieler during Tuesday night's council meeting were rare. The first came during McBain’s first comments as mayor. After admitting that everyone knew he desired being mayor, he had not wanted or expected it until after the 2018 election, he expressed his feelings towards the Wieler fiasco by using words like “disgusting.”

The new mayor told the few dozen people in the room that Wieler’s bigoted words regarding LGBT people and his racist comments were not reflective of Piedmont’s citizens.

Councilmember Jen Cavanaugh soon after said the situation regarding Wieler was a distraction in addition to being bigoted. McBain said much of the same in his first speech as mayor.

One Piedmont resident, Kathleen Quenneville, told the council she was not surprised by Wieler’s offensive posts on social media as Wieler had used similar comments in the past.

No member of the council came to Wieler’s defense at any time Tuesday night. The same can be said of the public commenters.

The only hint of opposition to the vote for mayor came from two representatives of the League of Women Voters.

“I would have liked to have heard from Teddy [King] and Bob [McBain] about what they feel they’ve done for Piedmont,” said Lianne Campodonico, “and what kind of work they have done on the council.”

The LWV does not support or oppose individual candidates or political parties. Campodonico stressed that this was not personal against McBain.

“I hope in 2018 we can see the city council have a larger discussion about criteria other than who got the most votes [in the last election] and seniority,” said Campodonico. “There are some good people on the council who should have the opportunity to become our mayor or our vice mayor.”

After the session, McBain was forthcoming with his policy goals. McBain first mentioned developing Linda Beach play field in addition to improving other parks and recreational areas.

“We need to continue to make improvements in our infrastructure,” the new mayor said. “There’s been a lot of deferred. We need to fix electrical [systems] and plumbing in old buildings. We do a lot already to improve our streets. But we also need to work hard to improve our sidewalks.”

State law requires that someone be appointed to fill the seat vacated by Wieler within one month of his resignation.

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