There has been great speculation since the night of Nov. 6 as to how the vacancy would be filled on the Tracy City Council created by Bob Elliott’s win to become the new supervisor representing the 5th District on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. It appears that there are two options available to the City Council to address this issue — one is to hold a special election, at a cost of about $365,000, and the second option is to have the council make an appointment to fill Mr. Elliott’s soon-to-be vacant seat for the two years remaining on his council term.
Given the cost associated with a special election and the time that would take, it appears that the council may well opt to take the appointment route, as it did in 2006 when Brent Ives was elected mayor and Steve Abercrombie was appointed to fill the two years left on Ives’ council seat.
If the council does opt for an appointment, the choice is clear. Ray Morelos should get that appointment.
According to that hotbed of Tracy political activity, i.e. the local coffee shops, the word on the street is that Charles Manne, who finished fourth out of a field of five candidates, has been lobbying heavily for that appointment, as has Mr. Morelos. In my opinion, both Mr. Manne and Roger Birdsall have no business seeking the appointment to Mr. Elliott’s seat.
The council needs to be reminded of the fact that each was elected to the city’s governing body through the democratic process. That means the people chose them.
The democratic process resulted in Mr. Morelos being the third top vote-getter. The individual council members need to respect and abide by the same process that got them on the council in the first place.
Any other action on the council’s part would be reminiscent of the old Soviet system of government, in which the Inner Circle would choose who would be on the government-running Politburo when a vacancy occurred.
It would also smack of machine politics if the council were to pass over Mr. Morelos for the appointment to Mr. Elliott’s seat and give it to someone else.
Finally, there are people who have tried to justify passing over Mr. Morelos by pointing to what happened in 2006, when Mayor Ives’ seat on the council became open and Mr. Abercrombie was appointed over Michael Maciel, who was the next highest vote-getter.
That was in direct contradiction to our democratic principles. Although I have the greatest respect for Mr. Abercrombie and consider him a good friend, the integrity of government and the faith of people in that government to do the right thing are greater than any one person.
I hope our council members take all this into consideration and do what’s right by appointing Mr. Morelos to Mr. Elliott’s seat on the council.