Council to fill vacant seat through appointment
by Jon Mendelson
Dec 21, 2012 | 2643 views | 3 3 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Tracy City Council outlined a procedure to fill a vacant council seat at its Tuesday, Dec. 18, meeting, following the resignation of Councilman Bob Elliott earlier in the evening.

Interim City Clerk Carole Fleischmann read Elliott’s letter of resignation to the council and a full chamber at City Hall. He will be sworn in as San Joaquin County’s 5th District supervisor Jan. 7, and by state law cannot hold both positions at once.

By unanimous consensus, the council decided that Elliott’s vacant position should be filled by appointment instead of through a special election. However, the council agreed to limit the field of applicants to the three people who ran unsuccessfully for council seats in the Nov. 6 general election.

Ray Morelos, Charles Manne and Roger Birdsall campaigned for two seats ultimately won by Nancy Young and Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel.

During a Dec. 4 meeting, Maciel favored opening the application process to all eligible Tracy residents.

But on Tuesday, he said moving to fill the seat in a timely fashion was important enough to warrant compromise. The seat must be filled or a special election must be called within 60 days of Elliott’s resignation.

“I’m willing to compromise that we limit the application to the three candidates who ran, but there needs to be a very detailed interview process that, in my opinion, should be very in-depth,” Maciel said.

Young also was willing to shift from her earlier position that Morelos should be appointed by virtue of his third-place finish in the recent five-person council race.

She said the appointment process should be “fully transparent” to the public.

Councilman Robert Rickman and Maciel volunteered for a subcommittee that is tasked with formulating questions for the candidates.

If the three candidates want to be considered for Elliott’s old seat, they must attend a meeting set for 5 p.m. Jan. 15 in City Hall.

During that meeting, the subcommittee will submit its drafted questions to the full council, which will need to approve them by a majority vote. Candidates will then be asked to answer the same questions on the list.

There will not, however, be a public comment period following the applicants’ answers, according to Mayor Brent Ives.

Moments after approving the applicant process, Maciel presented what appeared to be a lengthy list to council members.

“I’ve taken the liberty of drafting some questions,” Maciel said. “This is just what I would suggest.”

Young and Ives said some topics on Maciel’s list were especially relevant, including economic development.

Morelos said Thursday, Dec. 20, that he will “definitely” be at the Jan. 15 meeting seeking a seat. Morelos said his third-place finish in the recent election should be taken into consideration when the council makes its final decision.

“To me, if it would have been Charles Manne or Roger Birdsall, I would have supported whoever is in that position, because to me, it’s about serving the people in Tracy,” Morelos said.

Manne, who finished in fourth place in the November election, also said Thursday that he would apply to fill the vacancy.

“I believe that my financial background will add value to the council,” said Manne, a New York Life agent. “I owe it to my supporters to see the campaign through to a decision … But of course, I’ll respect any decision that they make.”

Birdsall publicly stated at a Nov. 20 council meeting that the third-place finisher should be nominated for the vacancy. He did not return a request for comment Thursday.

Valpico apartments approved

Despite a lengthy stream of residents voicing their opposition, the City Council unanimously approved two apartment complexes on the north side of Valpico Road near Glenbriar Drive.

Several homeowners in the neighborhoods around the proposed 144-unit and 60-unit apartment buildings said the project would increase traffic, negatively impact schools, elevate crime, decrease property values and change the character of the area.

Eric Taylor and Peter MacDonald, who own the property where the complexes are slated, said the project consists of high-end, upscale apartments that will benefit, not harm, area residents.

But many of the speakers said they moved to the surrounding area because of its quiet, single-family housing mix. They also criticized the city and the landowners putting forward the project for not casting a wide enough net when it came to notifying neighbors, though city staffers insisted they went above and beyond the legal requirement for notification.

The location of the future apartments was originally envisioned as a commercial center including the Rite Aid at the corner of Valpico Road and MacArthur Drive. But city staff said changing market conditions mean commercial development is no longer as financially viable in the space as a residential project.

• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or

At a glance

• WHAT: Tracy City Council regular meeting

• WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18

• WHERE: City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza

• DETAILS: Mayor Brent Ives, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel and council members Robert Rickman and Nancy Young
Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 22, 2012
Well, the council was deadlocked again 2 to 2...and Maciel conceded because something had to give. However, did you notice he then had to continue to control things with his prepared list of questions? Believe me, he knows how to bully.

At least, it's a start in the right direction to get an appointment.

How can we support Raymond Morelos further?
December 23, 2012

Why would you? What are your motives? Do you expect other readers to jump on your political bandwagon because you find it necessary to start name calling on a newspaper blog? Maybe one of these guys deserve it or not. But I question both your motives and your judgements. I did a google search and see negativity and you are true friends.

I have lived in this town long enough to see there are always a few groups of wannabe activists who have resorted to the same old heretical claims and dream up plenty of bad-mouthing of others. You are not alone in your own political quicksand. Your kind always seem to drag themselves down and take a few others with them.

Hopefully there still enough people in this town who can see right through you, cuz you just set off the BS meter. Just saying.

December 27, 2012
He had some questions prepared and that's being a bully? Have you thought about going to therapy?

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