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Cerritos City Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS
HELD FEBRUARY 4, 2008

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Cerritos City Hall, 18125 Bloomfield Avenue, Cerritos, California.

INVOCATION

Reverend Charlie Ara offered the invocation.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Mayor Pro Tem Edwards led the assembly in the salute to the flag.

ROLL CALL

The City Clerk noted attendance of the following Members of the City Council:

Councilman Bruce W. Barrows
Councilman Joseph Cho, Ph.D.
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Edwards
Mayor Laura Lee

PUBLIC COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Catherine Gaughen, Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce, announced the launching of the re-designed Chamber website at www.cerritos.org.

Chris Fuentes, Cerritos resident, referenced an anonymous comment in the January 25, 2008 edition of the Los Cerritos Center Community News regarding the dome associated with the proposed 5-story building in the Towne Center, stating that the dome would not impact the rental value of Towne Center property and the iconographic structure of the Towne Center is the Performing Arts Center, not the dome.  He also referenced the arterial wall rehabilitation project, comparing the cost of the dome to the cost to replace the walls, and asked the City Council to reconsider the dome when the project is considered again in the future.

City Manager Gallucci observed that redevelopment monies cannot be used for the wall rehabilitation project.

ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION AND/OR CONSIDERATION

Consideration to waive reading of and adopt A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF CITY OF CERRITOS DECLARING THE EXISTENCE OF A CITY COUNCIL VACANCY; and

Consideration of options related to a City Council vacancy including appointment or special election and adoption of related resolutions as appropriate.

City Attorney Steres reported that former Councilman Crawley's office became vacant on February 1, and he reviewed the options to fill that vacancy as contained in his memorandum of February 4, 2008 and the staff report of the same date.  He commented on the Charter provisions governing a vacancy on the Council, the declaration of that vacancy, making an appointment within 30 days or the calling an election to fill the vacancy, and related deadlines.  Mr. Steres added that resolutions declaring the vacancy, providing for an appointment, and providing for consolidation with the County's June 3, 2008 election had been provided to accommodate potential Council actions.  The options for elections included the June 3, 2008 or November 4, 2008 consolidated County elections, a stand-alone election date selected by the Council by adoption of an ordinance held not less than 114 days from the call of the election, and an all mail ballot election option, also subject to the 114-day time frame.  The cost savings associated with a consolidated County election were addressed as well as the scope of the County's responsibility in such an election.  Mr. Steres observed that the last day to make an appoint would be March 5, and the deadline to notify the County of a cancellation of the June 3 election would be 5:00 p.m. March 7.  Additional information requested by the City Council included a history of Councilmember resignations and a sample appointment application from the City of Hayward.

In response to Council inquiry, Mr. Steres confirmed the 114 day time frame discussed earlier and a correction to the staff report timetable changing February 6 to February 4 was noted.  It was also pointed out that it appeared that in previous instances where resignations had occurred, appointees were not asked to promise not to run for the next City Council election, and it was further noted that a consolidated election held June 3 would cost approximately $83,000, while the cost of a stand-alone election would be approximately $150,000 to $160,000 for the unexpired term of John Crawley, which expires in March 2009.

Larry Sagert, Cerritos resident, supported the idea of appointing instead of having an election, which he asserted would save significant money, save candidates time, effort and money from campaigning twice in a one-year period, and allow for a full complement on the Council to avoid tie votes on issues requiring immediate attention.  Mr. Sagert called for maintaining the full-term integrity, suggesting that the appointed person sign an affidavit not to run for the four-year term at the next City election, expressing that an appointee would enjoy considerable advantage running as an incumbent in that subsequent election cycle.  He offered an additional option to appoint a candidate to serve on the Council until a special election in June or November, and offered his qualifications for consideration of appointment to the vacant seat.

Sherman Kappe, Cerritos resident, recommended the Council make an appointment to fill the vacant Council seat, citing the cost of an election, an empty Council seat for five months, and tie votes.  He indicated that the appointee should promise not to run in March 2009 to avoid being in continual campaign mode instead of acclimating to being on the Council or being given an unfair advantage in running as an incumbent.  Mr. Kappe offered his qualifications for appointment, noting that he would not run for City Council in the subsequent election.

George Ray, Cerritos resident, indicated that he recognized the difficult decision facing the Council and would support the Council's final decision in this matter.  He noted that if the Council decided to consider appointment, that he would be honored to fill that position for the next year.  He offered his qualifications for appointment.

Howard Spitzer, Cerritos resident, observed that he was the fourth candidate to throw his hat in the ring if the Council should choose to make an appointment, indicating he would complete the unexpired term and not run in the subsequent term.  He offered his qualifications for appointment.

James Yee, Cerritos resident, concurred with the previous speaker in favoring an appointment to fill the vacancy.  He suggested the resolution of appointment contain language that the appointee is filling a second, unexpired term and would not be eligible to run in the next election, which would give that person an unfair advantage.  Mr. Yee also commented on the high cost of conducting an election to fill the vacancy.

Martin Grossman, Cerritos resident, asked if there is a document that would be legally binding to prevent a person from running for City Council.  He discussed the considerable effort and commitment in time and money in running for City Council and expressed that if the Council decides to make an appointment to fill the vacancy, to appoint one of the candidates who ran in the last City Council election.  He urged the Council to consider having an election to fill the vacancy and not place any restrictions on candidates who wish to run again.

Gordon Hom, Cerritos resident, urged the City Council to appoint Carol Chen, who received the next highest number of votes in the last election, put significant effort into running in the last election, and is concerned with the best interests of the citizens of Cerritos.  He commented on the cost of a special election and addressed the challenge of coming to a unanimous decision if an appointment option were pursued by the Council.

Gail Grossman, Cerritos resident, asserted that the citizens would prefer an election and gave Carol Chen a lot of votes in the last election.  She opined that an election would be costly, but is the only fair way to fill the vacancy, noting that if an election is called it should be a stand-alone election, and not an election that is consolidated with the County, which would result in the loss of control of the election process.

Chris Fuentes, Cerritos resident, concurred with the comments of Martin and Gail Grossman.  He indicated that there should be a stand-alone election to fill the vacancy, noting that an election is an investment and $160,000 is not too high a price to pay for a fair and democratic election.  He also questioned the constitutionality of preventing an appointee to run in a future election.

With regard to an appointee promising not run in the next election as a condition of appointment, Mr. Steres indicated that there is no legal prohibition to an appointee running for election if that appointee made a previous promise not to run. 

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Barrows and seconded by Councilman Cho to waive reading of and adopt Resolution No. 2008-3 entitled A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF CITY OF CERRITOS DECLARING THE EXISTENCE OF A CITY COUNCIL VACANCY.  The motion carried unanimously

MOTION DIES FOR LACK OF A SECOND:  It was moved by Councilman Barrows to appoint Carol Chen to fill the vacancy of an unexpired City Council term expiring March 11, 2009.  The motion died for lack of a second.

Discussion ensued regarding the possibility of calling a June election while pursuing an appointment process.  It was noted that the election could be canceled, with the County requiring notification by 5:00 p.m. March 7.

MOTION:  Following discussion, it was moved by Councilman Cho and seconded by Councilman Barrows to waive reading of and adopt Resolution No. 2008-4 entitled A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS, CALIFORNIA, CALLING AND GIVING NOTICE OF THE HOLDING OF A SPECIAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION ON TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2008, FOR THE ELECTION OF A MEMBER OF THE CITY COUNCIL TO FILL A VACANCY AS REQUIRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE CERRITOS CHARTER.  The motion carried unanimously.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Cho and seconded by Councilman Barrows to waive reading of and adopt Resolution No. 2008-5 entitled A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS, CALIFORNIA, REQUESTING THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES TO CONSOLIDATE A SPECIAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION TO BE HELD ON JUNE 3, 2008, WITH THE STATEWIDE PRIMARY ELECTION TO BE HELD ON THAT DATE PURSUANT TO SECTION 10403 OF THE CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS CODE.  The motion carried unanimously.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Cho and seconded by Councilman Barrows to waive reading of and adopt Resolution No. 2008-6 entitled A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS, CALIFORNIA, ADOPTING REGULATIONS FOR CANDIDATES FOR ELECTIVE OFFICE PERTAINING TO CANDIDATE'S STATEMENTS SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS AT AN ELECTION TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2008.  The motion carried unanimously.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Cho and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards to call a special City Council meeting on February 11, 2008 to consider a possible appointment to fill the City Council vacancy, and if an agreement cannot be reached regarding the appointment, then to proceed with the June 3, 2008 special consolidated election.  The motion carried unanimously.

Staff was directed to use the City of Hayward City Council appointment form as a model form and require a cover letter to be submitted with the application, directed that the deadline for submittal of the application be Friday, February 8, 2008 at 5:00 p.m., and further directed that the submittals be filed with the City Clerk by the deadline and that the consideration of possible appointment be publicized on Cerritos TV3.

Consideration of City Commission and Committee Member terms related to vacated City Council seat.

City Attorney Steres discussed the options available to the City Council outlined in his memorandum dated February 4, 2008 with regard to the term of John Crawley's Commission and Committee Member appointees, in light of the vacancy of his office.

Chris Fuentes, Cerritos resident, supported extending the terms of Commissioners and Committee Members appointed by John Crawley.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Barrows and seconded by Councilman Cho to extend the terms of Commission and Committee Members appointed by John Crawley until replacements are appointed.  The motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

/s/ Josephine Triggs       
Josephine Triggs, City Clerk

ATTEST:

/s/ Laura Lee      
Laura Lee, Mayor

Approved:  February 14, 2008

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