No applicants yet for Ukiah City Council seat
December 30, 2020 — The Ukiah City Council will be short one member as soon as Second District Supervisor-elect Maureen Mulheren leaves the council to take her seat on the Board of Supervisors next week. Earlier this month, the Council voted to fill her seat by appointment rather than special election. The council has replaced departing members by appointment at least since 1947, according to a document put together by City Clerk Kristine Lawler. In 2013, when Mari Rodin left, the council did call for a special election, but Steve Scalmanini was the only candidate, so the election was canceled and he was appointed instead. A special election would cost the city $30,000, since there are no other jurisdictions to share the check.
The application for the current open position is due at noon on January 21st. It’s pretty extensive, asking would-be council members about the top three to five most important issues facing the city, how they would resolve a situation where their personal philosophy is at odds with what’s best for the city, and requesting that they weigh in on public safety, infrastructure, economic development, and quality of life, among other issues.
The council meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month, and the meeting on the sixth has been cancelled, so it will be down one member for only one session. There is a special meeting on Thursday the 28th, where the council will review the applications, but no decision is required until 60 days after the official date of resignation, which is Monday, January 4.
Of the seven candidates who ran in November, Doug Crane and Josefina Duenas won the two seats in contention. Jenny Kimbler, who came in third place, created a social media furor when she used her candidate Facebook page to call for extra-judicial shootings of protesters. A screenshot of the post, which was filled with obscenities, misspellings, and unconventional punctuation choices, appeared on MendoFever a month before the election.
In a letter to the editor that ran in the MendoVoice last week, Kimbler thanked her supporters, who knew what was truly in her heart. “If we all agreed with one another all the time, no new solutions would emerge,” she wrote. She went on to say that the past few months have made her realize that she does not need to be on the City Council to make a difference for her community.
Earlier this week, we reached out to Scalmanini and Brian Erickson, who were also on the ballot, but both of them were undecided as to whether or not they would apply for the open seat. Ed Donovan said he was not planning to apply.
Ahead of the December 16 meeting where the council chose to appoint a fifth member, he and another community member wrote to the council recommending that they choose the remaining candidate, Cameron Ramos. In arguments to dissuade the council from choosing the third-place runner-up, Donovan quoted a few of the more pungent excerpts from Kimbler’s now infamous post, and another letter-writer said she trusts that anyone advocating violence will not be considered for the position.
Ramos had not submitted an application when we checked last night, but earlier this week, he said he was planning to.