The four-member National City City Council at a special council meeting Jan. 29 failed to reach a majority vote on appointing a replacement for the vacant city council position left open by now Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis.
The council will convene again Tuesday, Feb. 5, to see if they can fill the void.
Beginning late last year the city accepted applications from individuals who wanted to be appointed to the remaining two years of Sotelo-Solis’s four-year term.
The Tueday night meeting saw the four current council members, Mayor Sotelo-Solis, Councilwoman Mona Rios, Councilman Jerry Cano and Councilman Ron Morrison, listen to applicants describe their qualifications and answer their questions.
The candidates were Javier Alvarado, Ruble Mitchel Beauchamp, Stephen De La Cruz, Sherry L. Gogue, David Leland Hernandez, Daniel Perez, Gonzalo J. Quintero, José Rodriguez, Richard T. Shigley, Robert “Dukie” Valderrama and Ditas Delossantis Yamane.
The format for the selection gave each candidate an opportunity to introduce themselves in a timed two-minute speech followed by answering eight questions presented to each candidate. The questions included: What do you know of our city’s budgetary state? What are your long-term ideas to bring in revenue? If you were chosen to fill a vacancy, what would be the top three items on your agenda? After answering the questions, the candidates were given one minute to do a closing statement.
“Make sure that we create a business friendly environment,” said Rodriguez, on what he sees partially needs to be done in National City.
Dozens of members of the public, who filled out speaker cards, spoke to the council members lauding or voicing concerns about candidates such as Yamane, Gogue, Rodriquez and Valderrama.
“I’m here to support Ditas and support diversity on the City Council,” said Jacob Veritas.
“Hopefully we can have a Filipino on the council.”
“I’m concerned about 26 percent of the Filipino voters,” said Florfina Arce, “I’m concerned about diversity.”
“He (Valderrama) is willing to give up a seat on the Port (of San Diego),” said Augie Bareño, of Valderrama’s willingness to clear his calendar to serve as a council member.
The voting process went into three rounds. The final vote consisted of council members Cano and Morrison both voting for Ditas Delossantos Yamane and Mayor Sotelo-Solis and Councilwoman Rios voting for Robert “Dukie” Valderrama.
“The outcome of the vote was a 2-2 tie,” said applicant Robert “Dukie” Valderrama. “All I know, there was a vote taken and there were two finalists. Because there was no candidate who received three votes they will take it up at the Feb. 5 meeting.”
The other finalist appeared to be Yamane.
Instead of holding a special election which City Attorney Angil P. Morris-Jones said could cost the city between $850,000 and $1.2 million, the city opted to appoint the next council member.