By John Earl
Surf City Voice
Councilmember Joe Carchio will drive his shiny white (and, finally, fully licensed) 2010 Toyota Venza into the Huntington Beach mayor’s official parking space for the next year, thanks to the same council member who had hoped (informed sources say) a few months ago to put him out of office.
Don Hansen was supposed to be mayor, with Carchio following next year, according to Resolution 6320, which says that council members will rotate based by seniority to serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore for a one-year term.
Any council member who declines his or her turn goes to the end of the line, according to the resolution.
The 1991 city council enacted the resolution in order to prevent future councils from manipulating the selection process on behalf of special interests, according to current council member and former mayor Keith Bohr.
This is the first time since the resolution was passed that a city council hasn’t followed it.
But the resolution can be broken by a majority vote and that’s what happened during last Monday’s City Council meeting at Don Hansen’s request, with Carchio gladly accepting the honor of becoming mayor.
The vote was no surprise to readers of the Surf City Voice, which exclusively revealed last August that the seat swap between Carchio and Hansen—which will theoretically give the latter a campaign image boost if he decides to run for higher office in 2012—was as good as a done deal.
New council members Joe Shaw, Connie Boardman and Matt Harper, as well as reelected City Attorney Jennifer McGrath, were also sworn in.
As Hansen started the new city council’s first meeting with the motion to make himself Mayor Pro Tem and Carchio the mayor, his reason for it came across like the proverbial student’s claim that the dog ate his homework.
“As many of you know, I work in the financial sector and the economy…has really taken a toll on my business,” he explained. “And I had always looked forward to serving as mayor when I could do the best job that I possibly can.”
Unfortunately for Hansen and citizens both, “after deep reflection” about what would be best—not just for him and his family, “it did not seem to me that this would be the time where I could do the best for the citizens of Huntington Beach and the best job that I could possibly do.”
Considering that the mayor of Huntington Beach is a figurehead, with few additional duties attached to the role, one wonders how Hansen can give sufficient devotion to his current—less glamorous—but equally demanding role as a city councilman during the same economic hard times that, regrettably, now prevent him from serving as mayor.
Fortunately for Hansen and Surf City’s “citizens,” however, his admirable sacrifice can end in exactly one year. That’s because—almost paradoxically—even though the economy is bad now it is also getting a lot better now, according to Hansen.
“We are seeing the resurgence of my business,” he continued, “and I don’t want to forfeit in any way my ability to serve [as mayor] and do like to serve [as mayor] in 2012.”
Thank you, President Obama.
The new city council approved Hansen’s plan unanimously, 7-0. He will be Mayor Pro Tem now and Mayor in 2012, just in time for the next election campaign season, if he so chooses.
But as Carchio read an unusually coherent acceptance speech that he, wishfully perhaps, claimed to have “hasently” (sic) written, there seemed little doubt that a deal had been signed, sealed and delivered.
“When you get elected to the city council,” he said in deep reflection, “you realize that one day it would be your turn to be mayor.”
Mayor Joseph John Carchio is in good company, however, at least some of the time. “It’s so humbling to follow in the footsteps of some of the great mayors in the past,” he said, noting some of the ones who left well honored paths: Ralph Bauer, Dave Sullivan, Shirley Detloff, and Debbie Cook, to name a few.
“These are big shoes to fill,” he said in conclusion, promising that, “I will continue to carry the great traditions of the city.”
Cover photo: Arturo Tolenttino, SCV.