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Santa Monica City Council to Launch Process to Fill Vacant Seat


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January 3, 2019 -- The City Council could have a new member as early as January 22 under a process that would be launched with the acceptance of Tony Vazquez's resignation next Tuesday.

Vazquez announced in a letter to the Council that his resignation would become effective Monday when he assumes the seat on the State Board of Equalization he won on November 6.

Once the Council formally accepts the resignation, an online application process for the open seat would be launched no later than noon on Wednesday, according to a staff report by the City Clerk.

The application period would remain open for eight days, ending at noon on Thursday, January 17, staff said.

The Council would then consider the applicants at its next meeting January 22.

"Notices advertising the vacancy will be posted on the City’s website and social media sites, by distribution to local media sources and in other appropriate locations," according to the staff report.

The appointee would hold the seat until the next general election.

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"Should the Council fail to fill a vacancy by appointment within thirty days after the office has been declared vacant, the Council shall forthwith cause an election to be held to fill the vacancy," staff said.

That election would be held on November 5, according to City Clerk Denise Anderson-Warren.

The council would continue with six members until a new member is elected, she said.

Vazquez's resignation marks the first time in recent memory that a Council seat is vacated in mid-term after a Council member wins a seat on a conflicting governing body.

In the past two decades, three Council members have either resigned or died in office, forcing a vote for their replacement.

In 1998, Asha Greenberg resigned from her seat, but the six Council members on the dais failed to make an appointment and a special election, won by now-Assemblymember Richard Bloom, was held in April 1999.

Two other seats became vacant when longtime Council members died in office, and in both cases the Council appointed a replacement.

Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis was appointed after Herb Katz died in January 2009 two months after being elected to a fifth four-year term ("Davis Picked to Fill Katz’s Seat," February 25, 2009).

A year later, Terry O'Day was appointed after Ken Genser died during his 22nd year on the Council ("O'Day Picked for Vacant Council Seat," February 24, 2010).

Vazquez, who became the City's first Latino mayor in 2015, has served half of his third four-year term. He was elected in 1990 and served four years before being elected again in 2012.

There had been speculation that Vazquez would attempt to retain his seat, but they were laid to rest last month after City Attorney Lane Dilg asked the California Attorney General if that would be legal.

The Attorney General ruled that the two offices are “incompatible,” and Vazquez announced he would step down ("Vazquez to Step Down from Council Seat," November 28, 2018).

In his letter of resignation Vazquez said he was "thankful for the opportunity to have worked towards and accomplished so many City objectives during my tenure."

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