PERRY: Time’s up, Aurora City Council. Cut the political vacancy drama and pick a card.

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Screen shot of a marathon virtual Aurora City Council meeting where lawmakers were unable to break a tie vote for a city council vacancy.

Hopefully, tonight will be the final episode of Aurora City Council’s Political Theater of the Absurd.

If you’ve been following Aurora’s frothing inability to replace Ward II Councilperson Nicole Johnston’s vacated seat at the dais, which few insomniacs are, the week’s long conundrum has finally reached its pinnacle.

Current city council members say the problem is a political schism among the nine remaining city lawmakers and the mayor, who must agree upon Johnston’s replacement. They say they can’t because the small group is hopelessly divided between two contenders: a Democrat and a Republican.

You can see where this is going.

The city’s charter, which is similar to a state or federal constitution, is clear about what happens when a city council seat goes vacant, months before an election. The majority of the remaining council must pick a replacement within 45 days.

Today’s the day. City council is slated to meet, again, at 6:30 p.m. to get this over with.

To date, Aurora City Council has met three times trying to do the deed. They’ve held well over 100 votes, all ending up in a 5-5 tie.

The time spent not pitching the same, unbreakable tie has been spent trying to find a way around it.

So determined are these people to not follow the city’s clear and explicit law, that some have now invited legal opinions from outside the city to see if they can get away with it.

Since neither side will move on their choice between the two contenders, they just want to move on and let voters take care of this in November.

Besides being derelict and impossibly stubborn, the city council invites very real trouble by just running out the clock and looking the other way.

If they don’t choose a replacement, it’s clear, even to those who don’t have a law degree, that this city council has violated the city charter. Members don’t have to sweat police swooping in and making arrests at 12:01 a.m. Friday. They do, however, have to sweat every single ordinance approved or denied, every resolution and budget measure approved from now until the next election. That’s because anyone — and especially someone with an ax to grind against either or every side of this quarrelsome city council — can sue the city to stop official action, pointing out that this city council is in violation of its own charter for not having made the required appointment for Ward II.

Could they win? Maybe. They don’t need to. Just by holding important city business up, they win.

The battle has become ridiculous and unnecessary. Either by appointment or at an election, one side of this split city council is going to lose.

Councilman Juan Marcano has accurately pointed out that what the politically right side of the city council is trying to do is force a political shift on the dais, from left to right. Would the left side do the same thing if the opportunity arose? Probably, even though some have assured they would not. 

The honorable thing to do would be to choose the candidate on the left to replace the outgoing candidate from the left, whom voters chose three years ago.

There’s a wee lack of honor in politics these days, Aurora included.

Overlooked, even though city officials have mentioned it several times, is a tried and true and perfectly legal solution to deadlocks and ties: coin toss.

If city lawmakers don’t like throwing money around, and since when has that ever been the case, then draw straws. Pick a name out of a hat. Play Jenga with bamboo barbecue skewers between their teeth.

But it’s time to do what has been accepted practice for breaking election deadlocks for generations: gamble on the winning side instead of the public’s fortune by not following the law.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]

 

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FeelingsAreNotFacts
FeelingsAreNotFacts
1 month ago

Nope.

Let it go to the voters. Appointing Ross will ensure a wave of costly, “social equity” ordinances this year from an emboldened socialist left. Appointing Sundberg will postpone the bloodletting of the aforementioned until at least the election, at which time the voters will reveal their referendum.

There is no way to know who Ward 2 voters want representing them other than Johnston, who was duly elected. Ross is not her. Sundberg is not her.

FactuallySpeaking
FactuallySpeaking
1 month ago

Letting it go to the voters is a great idea except that option is, as pointed out in the editorial, illegal.

ImmovableLadder
ImmovableLadder
1 month ago

Overlooked, even though city officials have mentioned it several times, is a tried and true and perfectly legal solution to deadlocks and ties: coin toss.

If city lawmakers don’t like throwing money around, and since when has that ever been the case, then draw straws. Pick a name out of a hat. Play Jenga with bamboo barbecue skewers between their teeth.

No. The answer to broken democratic systems is not to flip coins to keep the charade going. Fix the systems, or make the people who refuse to do so uncomfortable until they do.

None
None
1 month ago

Where is my social equity monthly payment? Where is my free college? Where is my free food stamps? Where is my free cell phone?

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago

“Councilman Juan Marcano has accurately pointed out that what the politically right side of the city council is trying to do is force a political shift on the dais, from left to right. Would the left side do the same thing if the opportunity arose? Probably, even though some have assured they would not. 

The honorable thing to do would be to choose the candidate on the left to replace the outgoing candidate from the left, whom voters chose three years ago.”

First off, anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that the DSA wing of the council would happily do the same thing if the situations were reversed. “It’s okay when we do it!” is how political authority is achieved, and they have no credibility claiming that they’d do otherwise. Appeals to vague concepts of honor have no place in an existential struggle, especially given Perry and the Sentinel’s open, decades-long political bias and their clear interest in the outcome.

A couple of years ago, the Sentinel inadvertently admitted that the environment of collegiality of the council took a turn for the worse when the radical left “Emerge” claque starting winning seats on the council and brought their puerile, attention-mongering, combative attitudes along with them. Prior to their arrival, Republicans and Democrats on the council were able to treat each other amicably and come to a consensus on most issues. Those days are long gone thanks to the DSA/Emerge wing of the council and their Grand Canyon-sized sense of entitlement, due in no small part to the enabling of this situation by their political partners at the Sentinel as it endorsed and cheered every Democrat victory, irrespective of the long-term consequences. Now they’re standing amidst the rubble of the institution they ruined, and complaining that no one stopped them.

DICK MOORE
1 month ago

Well, I was going to reply but then this Factory person said it exactly, maybe a bit more, like I believe. Well put.

Important to remember that almost all the Council conflicts began with the Emerge program. Let’s get them all out of office. We’ll call ourselves “Unemerge”.