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    Public Vote, Not Council Appointment, Will Decide Next 2d District Councilmember

    (February 15, 2006) -- At their Feb. 14 meeting, LB Councilmembers voted 8-0 to direct the City Attorney to prepare papers for action next week officially calling a June 6 special election to fill the unexpired term of Councilman Dan Baker who unexpectedly resigned last week.

    It will be a "winner take all" election -- with no runoff -- in which the candidate receiving the largest number of votes will represent an area including the Port of LB, prime parts of downtown LB, the East Village, Alamitos Beach, Rose Park and much of LB's bluff beach areas.

    The Council had the option of appointing a new Councilmember but there was no audible Council or public support for this at the meeting.

    City Attorney Bob Shannon indicated the new Councilmember's term-limited term of office (for which his/her name could appear on the ballot) could exceed that of regularly elected Councilmembers: roughly two and half years remaining on the unexpired term (until July 08) plus two regular four year terms.

    In a colloquy prompted by a question from Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal, City Attorney Shannon indicated that LB has a valid candidate residency requirement (requiring candidates to live in the 2d district)...but LB's durational residency requirement (the amount of time a candidate must live in a Council district before filing papers to run) is in his opinion unconstitutional under a late 1990s CA Supreme Court ruling and is unenforceable. (The Charter language stemmed from the mid 1970s).

    Rewording the durational residency requirement to pass legal muster (if the Council is so inclined) will require putting a Charter Amendment on the ballot for voter approval...and City Clerk Larry Herrera told the Council the deadline to make June ballot is March 7 (and early August for the November ballot).

    Later in the meeting, Councilwoman Rae Gabelich withdrew a request that would have sent the issue to the Charter Amendment Committee [comprised of the entire Council], indicating she's inclined to review the issue -- and other possible Charter revisions -- in the coming months for placement on the November ballot.

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