SLO decides on special election for $62,000

Vote-by-mail likely to be in summer; mayor’s proposal to name temporary replacement for Councilman Andrew Carter goes nowhere

acornejo@thetribunenews.comFebruary 5, 2013 

San Luis Obispo voters will decide who will fill the two-year vacancy on the City Council created by the resignation of Andrew Carter.

The council voted 4-0 Tuesday night, with Carter recusing himself, to hold a special vote-by-mail election later this year, likely in June or July, instead of appointing someone to fill the vacancy.

That election will come at a cost of more than $62,000.

As a result, the council will spend the majority of the first half of the year reduced to only four members.

Mayor Jan Marx cautioned her colleagues on the dais that a four-person council could prevent decisions on key items such as the city’s budget because a 2-2 vote means no action can be taken.

Marx asked the council to consider appointing someone, which would fill the vacancy in mid-March, to avoid future stalemates, but none of the other three council members budged.

“I know compromise is sometimes difficult for you,” Marx said to Councilman Dan Carpenter, who has often been a minority vote on the council.

Carpenter rebuffed the comment, saying it was the council’s job to move the city forward.

“We have a job to do up here,” Carpenter said. “We cannot be stagnant.”

Carter will step down Feb. 20 with two years remaining in his term because he took a job as the city administrator of Guadalupe.

A handful of community members lobbied Tuesday night for the council to appoint Jeff Aranguena, a teacher, because he was the next runner-up in the last election.

However, council members said they wanted that decision to be made by the voters.

A number of residents have already expressed interest in Carter’s seat, including Kevin Rice, a Los Angeles County firefighter who ran for the council and lost in November.

Other possible candidates include former San Luis Obispo Councilman Paul Brown, a police officer in Guadalupe, who served one term on the council in 2004 but was not re-elected.

Andrea Miller, owner of Spike’s Pub in downtown San Luis Obispo, is also thinking about putting her name in the ring. Miller ran for council in 2010 but lost.

Amy Kardel, co-owner of Clever Ducks, an information technology services company in San Luis Obispo, said she will also vie for the seat.

The candidate filing period for the seat will likely begin in March. That date will be set at the council’s next meeting.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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