Columnist: History repeats itself with council appointment
“POLITICS: A STRIFE OF INTERESTS MASQUERADING AS A CONTEST OF PRINCIPLES.” – Ambrose Bierce.
A prime example is what occurred in 2008 and again this November 18th when a vacant seat became open on the Antioch City Council.
In 2008, when a seat opened up as a result of Jim Davis being elected Mayor, council make the decision to interview applicants for the position rather than appoint the next highest vote getter who was Arne Simonsen. After a three hour interview process with 13 applicants, the field was narrowed to four candidates – former Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman Manny Soliz, Jr., Supervisor Federal Glover’s former chief of staff Vincent Manuel, high school administrator Jason Miller and Martha Parsons, a Democrat fundraising consultant for Torlakson, DeSaulnier and Kalinowski. The council, of course, appointed Martha Parsons to fill the remaining two years of Mayor Jim Davis’ council term.
This year, Mayor Jim Davis decided not to run for re-election but for run for council instead and councilman Wade Harper decided to run for Mayor. Harper was elected Mayor and Mary Rocha was re-elected to Council, along newcomer Monica Wilson, Jim Davis coming in third, all of which resulted in a vacant council position (Harper’s council seat prior to becoming Mayor). This left council with the following options: leaving the seat vacant and letting voters decide in a future election, appoint the next highest vote getter (Davis), or solicit applications for the council vacancy, which is exactly what they did.
Applicants were asked to apply for the position by submitting a nomination paper with signatures of at least 20 but not more than 30 Antioch registered voters, write a 400 word statement of interest, and submit a Statement of Economic Interest.
Nine people applied including former Mayor Jim Davis, former Mayor Don Freitas, Soliz – again, District Representative for Supervisor Federal Glover and Antioch Planning Commissioner Vincent Manuel, attorney Robert Miller, Mental Health Advisor Debra Vinson, Chief Executive Officer of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and chiropractor Sean Wright, bail agent Jonathan Hernandez and retired steelworker/political adviser and former Political Director for the Contra Costa Labor Council Tony Tiscareno, who was also Campaign Director for Democrat Jim Frazier during his run for State Assembly.
Guess I don’t need to tell you who council picked. Hint – his initials are T.T. (Tony, the tiger?. I guess we’ll find out).