May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
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Contested Water District Elections Stir Controversy

Elections are heady events, especially for those who run for office and their staffers who help them get elected or in some instances, lose the election. 

Or so I'm told. 

Beyond the November vote and the primaries sometime earlier in the year, the rest of us barely pay attention unless we're forced to look at those obligatory "Vote for Me" signs that sprout every September and never quite really tell us anything other than the candidate's name.  Oh, and I forget the amount of newspaper, television, radio and now internet bandwidth devoted to pre-election polls and outcome predictions based on exit polls. 

I'm not cynical, really I'm not.

But why the vote mattered to Thelma Jean Robson, I really don't know.  A Google search mainly reveals this case.  She's a voter in the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, and after one of the winners of the 2004 election resigned, she must have been very upset with the appointee.  Here's the deal.

There are five members of the board of directors who serve four-year terms.  Elections are held every two years, however, so three seats are up at a time.  Kenneth Manning won in 2004, and then four months later, resigned.  The board appointed Leon Garcia to take his place.

That's where the trouble began.  A dispute arose whether Mr. Garcia was appointed for the remaining 18 months of Mr. Manning's term or until the next November's election.  Perhaps it's more accurate to say that the dispute arose after the board (and Mr. Garcia) voted to have Mr. Garcia fill the remaining portion of Mr. Manning's term.

Believe it or not, this issue has never come up in California before.  It took the court only 18 pages, however, to uphold Ms. Robson's position that Mr. Garcia's appointment would last until the next general election, this November.  Perhaps Ms. Robson will run for the seat, now that she succeeded in opening it up. 

Best of luck to the candidates.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, September 08, 2006 at 13:05 Comments (0)


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