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Poll: Should Councilman Shaw Be Replaced?

Councilman Tom Adams suggested this week that a caretaker replace Clarence Shaw on the council until he returns from active duty in the military.

A councilman called for a temporary replacement for Clarence Shaw on the this week after the council deadlocked in a vote for the first time since Shaw took a leave of absence for a military deployment.

Councilman Tom Adams asked that the council consider appointing a caretaker for Shaw's seat Tuesday after a 2-2 vote in a special meeting Friday prevented a quorum from being reached in a bid to buy property for a .

The council has only had four voting members since Shaw, a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, was .

"I think we were all hopeful that we could continue to conduct business without Shaw and at least that one meeting we couldn't," Adams said Wednesday. "I think it's a disservice to the community to not be able to conduct business on everything that comes before us."

The council was able to reach a quorum, however, on Adams' idea: they voted it down 3-1. Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said she didn't think Shaw's absence would pose a continuing problem.

"The rest of us feel that that's one vote and it wasn't precedent setting and it didn't rise to the occasion of replacing Mr. Shaw," Lutz said.

The pocket park was a pet project of Adams, who has pushed for a park on the south side of town since he began campaigning for reelection earlier this year.

The council has the to hold Shaw's seat while he's away, according to City Attorney Craig Steele. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office recently cleared the council from when deciding not to appoint a proxy.

Though the council voted against replacing Shaw while he's away, they also directed staff to contact him to see if he can participate in future decisions.

So far, Adams said, he's been unable to.

lynne palmer December 09, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Major Shaw is serving his country and should hardly be penalized for doung so. While I understand that there may be someone waiting in the wings to step into his council seat (placeholder or otherwise), the Council should tread very carefully. In addition to being wrongheaded and disrespectful, it may violate federal laws designed to protect serving members of the Armed Services.
Tom Adams December 09, 2011 at 05:01 PM
Lynne, the last thing any of us want to do is to disrespect Councilmember Shaw. Any replacement would ONLY be until he returns.
Heather Shaw December 09, 2011 at 07:20 PM
If one looks at the City's ordinances there is a provision for what Tom Adams is asking the Council to do; Temporarily replace an exisiting member during deployment. This is not a big deal. The concern I have is why Mr Adams is so keen on getting this done following this vote. Why now? The division amoung council members will not be solved by another person being appointed. The division can only be solved by politicians getting back to reality, that sometimes the actions that have a good appearance are not always the best overall for the community.
Dr. Swanson December 09, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Is Major Shaw available to communicate with the city council remotely by email or text? It is the 21st century after all! We do have the technology. It's not as if he is on the moon or planet Mars for "heaven's sake." Why not let him continue to participate, even if "only" by virtual presence.
Myrtle December 09, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Replacing him at this time seems disingenuous to me. I'm sure Mr Adams will be politicking hard to replace Clarence with someone who agrees with Mr Adams on this issue. It's too late, you guys already decided not to replace him. As far as a tie vote is concerned, I'm satisfied that the council did not agree on this vote, so the result is No.
Tom Adams December 09, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Heather, this is the first time this came up and I thought that it best be dealt with before another issue comes where we can't take care of the peoples business.
Tom Adams December 09, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Dr. Swanson, the Army has indicated that it will not allow Major Shaw to participate in these decisions as long as he is deployed.
Tom Adams December 09, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Myrtle, actually no decision has been made, to replace or not. This would only be temporary and it would need to be someone that 3 members of the council vote for so it would be impossible for me to do what you have suggested.
Ellen Zunino December 09, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Since the voters elected Councilman Shaw, if need be, he should appoint a proxy to serve in his place until he is home and is able to serve. I'd hate to see his seat become a reward for a crony of the remaining council members who does not have the legitimacy conferred by the voters and whose decisions may not mirror those of Major Shaw.
Pam Fitzpatrick December 10, 2011 at 12:42 AM
When Council Member Shaw was voted in it was very clear that he could be called to duty, so the voters knew what they were doing. I hope the Council shows reason by not temporarily replacing Clarence Shaw. So far there has only been one split vote, and that clearly was not a division in concept, because everyone agreed on the concept of "pocket parks", but simply on that specific small piece of property which is not an urgent enough issue to warrant the disrespect of Mr. Shaw. This is no time to play politics.
Tom Adams December 10, 2011 at 01:40 AM
Ellen, that would be nice but the law doesn't allow him to appoint his proxy. Only three votes of the council can appoint a "temporary" replacment, until he returns.
Tom Adams December 10, 2011 at 01:43 AM
Pam, I agree, we all knew he could be called for duty, what we didn't know until yesterday was that he counld not participate in any votes. We had all hoped, in fact the Mayor called for him to participate via telephone but the Army does not allow that. Se at this point we either have a "temporary" replacement, maybe even Bob Bartlett, someone who could step in and know how things work immediately, or we run the risk of not being able to conduct the peoples business.
Pam Fitzpatrick December 10, 2011 at 02:19 AM
Well, as great as it would be so Bob Bartlett on council again, I just can't see the need. Even the "non vote" -- the split vote -- looked like it conducted the people's business very well, especially taking into consideration Larry Spicer's poll of the neighborhood. I've always been so proud of our city government, and I've seen in the past, and continue to see, that despite the ever-present personal irritations on the council, you all come to an agreement and I suspect you always will when it comes to servicing the will of the people.
Jill Ramirez December 10, 2011 at 02:50 AM
I don't see it as a disingenuous decision to have a temporarily appointed person fill his seat in his absence. In fact, it would be showing exactly the democracy he stands for. Interesting enough, even on our school PTA's there must be a quorum to hold a meeting and vote, and without that last voting person, the meeting is not of record. Perhaps I am wrong, but hard to believe PTA holds this as the letter of the law but not a city council.
Dr. Swanson December 10, 2011 at 04:58 AM
So how does Mayor Lutz and Council Members (Shaw, Shevlin and Garcia) feel about the issue? Their comments are welcome! :-)
Gary Schaeffler December 10, 2011 at 06:55 AM
If there was not a need for a five person council why do we have one, Tom adams is right to say that there should be a temporary person put in place. Peaple should focus on what is right for the city. There is no one trying to disrespect Mr. Shaw and that is what seems to be the focus not what is right for the citizens of are city.
Heather Shaw December 10, 2011 at 12:31 PM
I believe the Mayor got it right as stated in the article: there is one person pushing for a replacement. Everyone else on the Council is fine with the way things are currently. My opinion that there is too much magananimous posturing going on by the commenting Council member still stands.
Tom Adams December 10, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Heather, actually 3 members of the council brought forward names that they felt may be a good temporary replacement so the statement that the rest of the council is fine may be a mis-quote. In fact, the entire council asked for staff to find out if Shaw could participate in the future before we take another step towards temporary replacmenet. We now know that the Army will NOT allow him to participate in anyway. I do find your comment about posturing interesting. Frequently we hear that elected folks are unwilling to comment in places like Patch, then when they do it is posturing. I guess it goes back to damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Karen Suarez December 10, 2011 at 07:50 PM
His deployment will be over before we know it. All seems fine until then.
NWT December 10, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Adams needs to give it up. This is obviously an attempt at a political power grab. Of course Adams wants an interim replacement, and he'll no doubt push hard for one of his cronies or some easily manipulated lamb to fill in for Mr. Shaw. Having a puppet in a council seat (even on an interim basis) will make things like Adam's push to fulfill his Pocket Park pet project, or derailment of the sale of MRA owned property to the GCLA for use as a maintenance yard (thus stalling or possibly even killing the Gold Line extension) much easier for him to attain. To Mayor Lutz, Council Members Shevlin and Garcia, I ask that you please hold your ground on this one!
Barb ZIegler December 11, 2011 at 05:30 AM
I applaud Tom Adams for engaging with the community on an ongoing basis. Regarding this issue, my feeling is that WHY Mr. Shaw's seat is vacant should not be considered in discussing whether or not it should be filled. If he was away for some nefarious reason would everyone be so protective of his seat? And filling his seat (until he returns, of course) is not just about breaking ties. Having another voice present during discussions might lead to all sorts of interesting things.

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