By Robert Haugh
Over the last couple months we’ve heard a lot of people say that Councilmembers Patty Mahan and Pat Kolstad should be “censured” because of the way that they played political games on June 12 to keep disgraced former Councilman Dominic Caserta’s seat vacant.
They had a chance to appoint some great candidates. But they faked everyone out. Between staff time and candidate time, people wasted hundreds of hours. This really made people angry because Mahan and Kolstad voted to appoint candidates to vacant seats in the past.
Tonight, the City Council will take an “admonition” vote. That’s not as serious or as strong as a censure. But it makes sense. A censure vote will require a lot more time and resources to gather and present evidence. The City has wasted enough time on this.
We hope the City Council votes to admonish Mahan and Kolstad. It would be the best way for the community to heal and move on. As a reminder of the strong feelings, here’s a replay of what some people have said.
What was said at the June 26 City Council meeting:
“Two Council members were not honorable or considerate … You should be ashamed of yourselves … people know … and we won’t forget. There’s such a thing as the Santa Clara way … it means we care about the City.”
Dorothy Rosa — Longtime Santa Claran who is seen by many as a grandmother figure in the Mission City. She rarely speaks out at council meetings.
“You are both my friends … You played them … it wasn’t democracy in action, it was plain dirty politics in action.”
Keri Procunier McLain — a respected and well-known former Councilwoman who hasn’t appeared in front of the Council in 20 years. She’s also considered a good friend of Kolstad and Mahan.
“Justifying the action using a false dilemma was wrong.”
Vickie Fairchild — a respected SCUSD parent and community activist.
Here’s what former Charter Review Committee Member and community leader Howard Myers wrote:
Several years ago, I served on a Charter Review Committee that redefined the provision that allowed council members to select a replacement when there was a vacancy. I promoted a portion of this which required a super majority, thinking it would be important to have more unity than a simple majority might provide. It never occurred to me it would be so misused…
Many of us think this might have been intended to strike back at fellow council members over some disagreement. If that’s the case, you didn’t strike at them, you struck at us the residents that you are sworn to serve…
It was mean and disrespectful. It is appropriate for the council to vote to censure these two members. Not just a s gesture of disagreement with what they did but to let us, the residents know you also take it seriously.
Here’s what former Charter Review Committee Member and community leader Teresa Sulcer wrote:
At the start of the Council meeting all of you took an oath to act in the best interests of the City and its residents. Then you all voted to accept the process put forward by the City Clerk on how the appointment would be conducted. And yet, when the time came to follow through on this, Councilmembers Kolstad and Mahan reneged on their duty and their oaths and refused to participate.
Councilmember Mahan read her prepared statement at 1:30 am – after most of the public had already left – while trying to persuade people that her decision was not pre-planned. Had she announced this earlier, concerned citizens would have had the opportunity to address this abdication of duty. Councilmember Kolstad didn’t even bother to justify his actions.
Here’s what candidate for the vacancy Dr. Mohammed Nadeem wrote:
Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe, Councilmembers Debi Davis and Teresa O’Neill all were willing to vote to appoint a candidate. And they voted for each of the final five candidates in succession.
However, after several hours of interviews, questioning, and multiple rounds of ranking candidates, two council members, Patricia Mahan, and Pat Kolstad voted for none. I felt betrayed and disgusted by their petty and dirty politics. My time wasted.
The night of the Council interviews was the night of the end of Ramadan nightly prayer called “Khatam” at the Muslim Community Association (MCA) and not only I missed that, but I also missed the much-revered celebration with my family and friends.