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Tacoma City Council vacancies: Lobbying by Facebook

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Nov. 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
November 17, 2009 11:15 am

With Tacoma City Councilwoman Julie Anderson set to vacate her council seat next week for the Pierce Co. Auditor’s Office, and Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland to leave her seat for the mayor’s office early next year, the (normally) 9-member council soon will have two vacancies to fill.

facebook(Before the general election earlier this month that set the coming council vacancies  in motion,  I wrote about this exact turnover scenario that now faces the City Council here.)

Under the city’s charter, the council (or rather, its remaining members) has 60-days from the date that each seat is vacated to appoint a successor for each vacancy. If council members fail to make an appointment for either seat or both, the appointment decision would fall to the mayor.

The city council has yet to decide how they’ll handle the appointment process, but council members are expected to discuss the matter during tomorrow’s noon study session.

Among other questions they’ll need to soon answer:  Should the 2010 council (which already includes three new members) be allowed to make both of the appointments, or should the sitting 2009 council make the first one (for Anderson’s seat, which opens Nov. 24 when she officially takes the auditor’s job) and leave the other vacancy (Strickland’s seat, which opens in January when she’s sworn-in as mayor) to the incoming council?

Throwing a monkey-wrench into the mix is the fact that two sitting council-members – Rick Talbert and Connie Ladenburg — each have expressed an interest in being appointed to fill either seat.  Talbert and Ladenburg, who each have served two four-year terms and face term-limits at year’s end for the seats they now hold, still have two years of eligibility to continue serving in other council seats under the city’s charter.  The unexpired terms for both soon-to-be vacated seats also run about two years.

Besides Talbert and Ladenburg, several other names of potential candidates for appointment have emerged, and, although the formal application process has yet to kick-off, lobbying is long underway.

In fact, at least two of the candidates — David Boe and mayoral runner-up Jim Merritt now have Facebook pages campaigning for the council openings.

If Facebook “friending” were to decided who’d win an appointment between the two architects, Boe’s group had 72 members to Merritt’s 29 as of 3:30 p.m. today.

UPDATE: (11:15 a.m Tues., Nov. 17) I’ve gotten word of more Facebook campaigns for the open city council seats, including pages for R.R. Anderson (who referenced his page in the comment thread to this post) and Julio Quan. There may be others, as well …

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