A smooth election for East Palo Alto's new mayor and vice mayor
By Henrietta J. Burroughs
Posted December 3, 2009
In a process that left some residents frustrated and others seemingly content, the East Palo Alto City Council elected city council member David Woods as its new mayor and council member Carlos Romero as the city’s new vice mayor. As the vice mayor, Romero is now the chair of the city’s Redevelopment Agency. Both Woods and Romero were elected on the first ballot receiving four out of five possible votes.
Council member Peter Evans left the council meeting before it officially began on the grounds that the resolution specifying the procedure for electing the mayor and the vice mayor was not in the council’s packet and was, thus, unavailable to the public before the council meeting.
Considering Evans’ objection, Romero proposed at the start of the December 1 meeting that the election of the new mayor and vice mayor be delayed until the next council meeting. But none of the remaining council members supported his proposal, preferring instead to proceed with the election of council officers as scheduled.
Audience members at the East Palo Alto city council meeting approach council member
David Woods and Carlos Romero after the council meeting to congratulate them on their
Woods’ election marks the third time he has served as the mayor of the city. At one point during the community forum session at the meeting, East Palo Alto resident Michael Francois said, “I don’t agree with the way you run this election thing,” he said. As Francois quickly jumped from side to side, he said, “Me mayor, you mayor, I mayor. That s… [profane word is deleted] has been going on about three years now,” he said.
In making his remarks, Francois referred to the fact that Evans has served several terms on the council while being denied the chance to serve as mayor, unlike several of his colleagues who have literally switched seats with each other at each election to preside as mayor of the city.
The fact that the meeting started a half hour late left Charles King upset. King, who serves on the East Palo Alto Transportation Advisory Committee, chastised the council for allowing Evans to throw the council meeting off schedule with his complaints about the resolution not being in the council packets. King accused the council of letting one man derail the whole process.
“I don’t feel comfortable bringing my concerns here…. We have a mayor and a vice mayor who look like they can work together, so I hope something can be done so that we don’t waste the people’s time like this,” he said.
In showing support for the absent Evans, Lorraine Holmes, who is a familiar face at the East Palo Alto council meetings said, “I was hoping Peter Evans would be here to discuss it, to harass it, to do whatever. But he didn’t show up. I think everyone should take a turn. If you don’t take a turn, there’s something wrong somewhere and if something’s not right, it’s not right,” she said.
Patrick Brock, a business owner and developer in the city, said that he thought the economy of the city should be a priority for everyone and he hoped the city would come together to support its current leadership. “We don’t need a new horse in the race,” he said. “We need a horse in the race that has been there before.” Brock said that the current council has, at least, shown it’s members can work together to get things done.
East Palo Alto’s Chief of Police Ron Davis recommended that the council’s abbreviated meeting be adjourned in memory of the four police officers, who were gunned down in Lakewood, Washington on Sunday. So, it was in their memory that the council meeting was adjourned less than an hour after it began. Council members and those at the meeting helped themselves to the refreshments at the reorganization reception that followed.