Council ended for a winter break with a challenging set of meetings to appoint an interim councilor for Ward 7.
Initial motions on Monday reflected a council divided evenly between two candidates, with a third candidate who emerged strong after the interviews on December 5th. Barbie Walker and Lyndsie Leech each drew three votes after their interviews; Thomas Hiura had not been interviewed but was championed by Emily Semple. Council has received many emails about all of the candidates; and the last week in particular heard from folks across the city about Hiura.
After postponing the vote to Wednesday, Councilor Evans launched the balloting once again. After a couple of rounds to vote on Barbie, Lyndsie and Thomas, Councilor Evans brought Lyndsie back for reconsideration and he and Councilor Groves changed their votes in her favor.
This is an extraordinary and difficult transition and I know that some councilors are frustrated and resentful that their preferred candidate was not appointed. It is also an agonizing experience for the candidates. Normally, a candidate has an election season to hone their message, create their key talking points, and study up on issues. They have a chance to spend time meeting with councilors. In this case, there was little time for that. I know that councilors met with candidates and had many conversations with constituents. We endeavored to make this process transparent, responsive and fair. Council accommodated time for new candidates to be heard.
As I said at the end of the meeting, it is good that Council has a break before reconvening with their new colleague at the table. We have hard work on contentious issues that is awaiting us. Lyndsie has now been sworn into office and I am confident that she brings a thoughtful, constructive voice and I look forward to getting to know her better.
A friend told me recently that she had seen a house decorated with holiday lights that spelled “Listen.” That is a good message for this season. I hope you all have a restorative and healthy holiday season and that you will attend or zoom in to the State of City, January 4th at 5:30 at the Hult Center.