City Council re-votes Sherri Lightner as Council President

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego City Council took re-vote on selecting a Council president only six days after choosing Sherry Lightner. On Tuesday, they re-voted Sherri Lightner as City Council President. 

Since last week’s vote, questions arose about Council members deciding the outcome, among themselves, before the public vote. If that had been the case, it would have been illegal because it would have been a violation of California’s Brown Act if there was intent or collusion that would deprive the public of what they discussed.

It was reported that there were a series of one-on-one meetings involving six council members.

If all six were meeting together that would definitely be a violation, but one-on-one meetings would also have been a violation of the act because it is a serial meeting.

“If there’s five of us having a meeting, not in the same place, but by meeting with each one of them separately and discussing the same topic,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

Goldsmith says even if there was a violation, the solution is simple to have a re-vote.

“That’s the normal correction under the brown act is a re-vote,” he said.

If the City Attorney had hard evidence the act was violated, the would have had the duty to investigate last week’s vote.

But the Council could kill the investigation by having the re-vote.

So technically, the law could have been broken, and Council members escape penalty.

“If the Council wants to vote in advance of that to remove a cloud without us having to do an investigation, I’m okay with that,” he said.

Todd Gloria did not lose the Council presidency because of this allegation. He was simply out.

On Good Morning San Diego, he said it was not personal, but his words said otherwise.

“I had an opportunity to speak with Ms Lightner. We have been friends for years, you know, I supported her in 2008, and 2012 when she had a very difficult election. I selected her to be my Council President Pro-Term, my vice president,” said Gloria.

Gloria got high marks for his performance as acting mayor, and moving the city forward.

He was asked if that would continue under Ligthner.

“I don’t think what’s happened in the last couple of days helps that, but I’m committed to getting back on track and move things forward. We’ll see what the future holds,” he said.

The four Republicans sealed Gloria’s fate when they backed Lightner giving her the five votes necessary to get the job.

It helped that some members wanted a woman to lead the Council.

“I’m certainly unhappy. I’m very disappointed, but again I don’t take it personally because I know it wasn’t about the job performance I was doing. I think San Diegan’s by and large like what I was doing. I know it was not about policy issues, it was about politics,” said Gloria.

Why the easy way out for Council members?

One reason may be the Brown Act applies only to local government officials.

Perhaps Sacramento legislators felt guilty about exempting themselves from the law.

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