The political death of Dominic Caserta has been reported with precision, passion and prolific phrasing.
We have not come to praise Caserta, but to bury him.
There was no escape from the avalanche of angry victims who sought retribution and only wished for the wrongs to be made right.
Every person who listened to the testimony of those offended felt compassion, empathy and appreciation for their courage to speak out.
Even as some of these allegations were being repeated at City Council Tuesday night, it was painful to listen, uncomfortable to watch and a tragedy for our City.
Then, dispensing with the testimony and Caserta’s resignation, the Council moved on to address the issue of filling his seat.
Caserta’s political body was still warm, but the plot around his funeral was already taking shape. Mayor Gillmor suggested that the Council would consider options for filling Caserta’s empty seat at next week’s Council meeting. But then, she asked City Attorney Brian Doyle to provide a synopsis of what those options would be.
Doyle noted the options provided by the City Charter, and one particularly, which included a 4/5th majority, could appoint a replacement for Caserta until the November elections.
Former Mayor and Council Member Patty Mahan pointed out that the citizens of Santa Clara deserved the right to pick their own Council Member. This should not be the decisions of four of five Council Members but a vote of our residents.
The City attorney admonished Mahan for speaking out in favor of an option before it was placed on the agenda for discussion. Really? It appeared more like an honest attempt by Mahan to let the community know what could be and most likely would be coming.
This ramrod Council has already lined up a group of potential candidates which they would like to have apply for the position.
One of Mayor Gillmor’s favorite tricks is to contact 15 or so likely candidates with the promise they will be seriously considered for Council. This Council then goes through the motions of interviewing them from the dais and pairing them down to the three finalists. She even promised some candidates they would be the one chosen for Council in 2016. It didn’t happen. Kathy Watanabe was chosen over the other promised candidates. What do you think the chances are that Watanabe was decided on before the interviews even took place?
Residents, readers or people who hate the Weekly, take note. If you still love Santa Clara demand the right to pick your own candidate for Council through the election process.
If this Council proceeds to a decision in the next week or two to make an appointment it would be a very dangerous precedent. That would mean of seven elected Council seats, we would have three that have been appointed. Watanabe of course was elected in 2016 after her appointment.
You can wager good money on the fact that this Council would never come close to selecting a candidate that represents the thinking of most residents of Santa Clara.
Mahan has it right. Let the voters decide who they want on the Council. That is the right and proper way for our elected officials to take a seat on this Council. This is a decision that should be decided by 40,000 voters, not 5 seated Council Members.