City Council Undecided on Special Election

This evening, the city council was to adopt official council districts, and decide on holding a special election to overturn the results of ...

This evening, the city council was to adopt official council districts, and decide on holding a special election to overturn the results of Measure G.

Measure G was the ballot measure voters decided on a year ago, choosing "by district" over "at large".

In the end, the council adopted district boundaries, but a motion to hold a special election went down in defeat, with Mann, Edgerton, and Twyman voting no.

The audience cheered. However, the cheering was quickly quieted when Mann asked if he could offer an alternative motion. He said he still supported holding a special election this November, to overturn the results of Measure G, but wanted more details in the special election.

That is, the reason why he voted "no" on the special election is because he felt the details of that special election was not definitive enough. John Denver made the original motion as simply, "should we adopt at large council elections, yes or no".

Mann wanted more detail, including other options such as "from districts", and how the mayor would be elected. Mann thereby motioned that the city council hold a special council session, sometime between now and August 4, to iron out the details of what that special election would be about.

Considering that both Denver and Kuenzi at this point had been defeated in their quest to create a special election, they had no choice but to hear Mann out if they still wanted to seek that goal.

Mann said that he would not support a special election if it was simply going to be a yes/no vote on at large. That had the effect of giving Mann some power to dictate the terms of the special election. It also made Mann the swing vote, with Edgerton and Twyman voting no, and Kuenzi and Denver voting yes.

Kuenzi however, stated that there certain alternatives to governance that she would not support. But nonetheless, seconded Mann's motion to have a special council session to iron out details on this special election.

In the end, all five council members voted to hold a special council session.

However, the council could not immediately agree on the date of the special session. Edgerton stated there were certain days he could not be present. Denver stated that he too had days he could not be present. Douglas Johnson, the consultant they hired to look at all this, also has a limited schedule. It's still not known at this time when that special session will be.

Council Member Positions

When the council voted on the original motion, for a straight up yes/no vote on adopting at-large elections, the council members explained their positions...

Fred Twyman said he would be open to having an election to overturn Measure G, however he would not support having such an election this November. Having it this November would make it a "special election" because it would be held at a time when there were no other elections. That would therefore cost the city about $38,000. However, he'd support that election if held in 2010, on a date when there were other elections, which would then spare the city that expense.

Darcy Kuenzi said her support for switching to an at-large city council election has nothing to do with protecting her political career, but that she genuinely feels that is the best choice for Menifee, and pointed that she's been resident here for many years, and plans to be a resident for many more, even after retiring from elected office.

John Denver said that he learned a lot from the work Douglas Johnson performed. Johnson is the consultant from National Demographics Corporation, the company the city hired to iron out all the details of city governance structures, and came up with recommended district maps. Denver pointed out that cities the size of Menifee are typically ran at-large.

Wallace Edgerton said that while he had expressed his preference for at-large elections, he noted that the voters had already spoken through Measure G, choosing districts. He said that even though the vote was close, it was still a majority vote, and decisions should not be overturned just because they're close. He also expressed his unwillingness to spend money on a special election on something the people already decided on.

Scott Mann did not originally explain his opinions, but instead rebutted