A Match Made In Marina
City Councilmembers choose Morrison’s replacement.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
When the Marina City Councilmembers pick their next colleague on June 5, it will be akin to speed dating. The council will hear from 15 different applicants who will have three minutes each to charm the dais. A red light will alert the rambling suitors—which Mayor Ila Mettee-McCutchon won’t hesitate to cut off—that their time is running short. Then the public will plead for its favorites. Finally, the four councilmembers will vote for their match with secret ballots. They will vote, and probably revote, until one of the lucky 15 wins a majority.
Though councilmembers say they haven’t made up their mind yet, this will by no means be a blind date. Several of the applicants have served on various city committees and commissions, while a handful have unsuccessfully ran for City Council. Perhaps the council has divided the applications into three piles: promising, possibly and precluded.
The first category consists of men—and they are all men—seasoned in Marina bureaucracy. Council members don’t want a government virgin who will require a tutorial on Robert’s Rules of Order. So, at the top of their pile sit applicants such as Planning Commissioners Jeffrey Post and Frank O’Connell. Post works at the Naval Postgraduate School and is 46, although he says he looks much younger. He is also the passionate type. “I am well qualified, through my education, but what makes the real difference is my heart, soul and dedication,” Post writes in his application.
O’Connell is a Monterey attorney and a six-time Grand Knight for the local Knights of Columbus Council. The fraternal Catholic organization believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman, but O’Connell didn’t propose an outright city ban on gay marriage. Instead he wants the council to consider providing free Internet service. “This service is not offered by any other Peninsula city and it would be a tremendous selling point for future businesses and private citizens to move to Marina,” he writes.
Speaking of Catholics, Ted Elisee is another promising applicant. Elisee is a former spokesman for the Diocese of Monterey. When Pope John Paul II visited Monterey in 1987, Elisee says he helped write the Pope’s homily at Laguna Seca. “I asked the Pope to say that it’s time to recognize migrant workers, document or undocumented, as citizens rather than strangers in our land.”
Elisee now works for Children’s Services of Monterey Bay, a nonprofit that runs a group home for abused and abandoned girls. He claims he is devoted to making the council relationship work—he outbid the rest of the applicants by saying he can spend 100 hours per month on council activities. By comparison, Richard Boynton put down 10 hours per month, which isn’t even enough time to attend the meetings.
Charles Scholl, a retired engineer executive, also says he has a lot of time to read budget documents. Scholl is a former Marina Coast Water District director, who pushed for maximum water efficiency for new homes built on Fort Ord. Scholl’s interests include ornamental horticulture, personal finance and pipe collecting. He says he has about 300 tobacco pipes, thanks in large part to eBay. Scholl, however, better not puff before the council meeting. Smoker’s breath is an automatic turnoff.
David Wayne Brown may win the council over by promising to help the city leaders get out of a speeding ticket. The Monterey lawyer is the author of Fight Your Ticket & Win in California and Beat Your Ticket: Go to Court & Win. Brown has served on the Marina water board since 1998. He says he’s now ready for a long-term relationship with the City Council.
Sid Williams sees the open seat as way to start dating the City again. Williams used to sit on the Marina Planning Commission, a gig he started in the mid ‘90s. In 2001 he became a property manager for the City but resigned several months later due to an illness. “My health is fine now,” Williams writes. “I suffer a little dryness in my mouth which is probably a good thing. It makes me want to use my words judiciously so as to get the most from each drop.” After sharing the dais with loud mouth Michael Morrison, a quieter partner may just be what the council is looking for. (Morrison, a former Marina councilman, resigned May 1 after he used his city position and lied to get quicker access to public records.)
Or the council may choose a finance-savvy man like Jim Ford who runs a tax, accounting and insurance firm in Marina. Ford has already scored some points with Mettee-McCutcheon because they both belong to Rotary.
Additionally, the possible pile includes Michael Derr, a contracts manager for Monterey County, and Joyce Simon, an economic development commissioner. Electrician David Deline seemed like a promising applicant—until he neglected to proofread his statement. “The knowledge I have gained in my business to Wright contracts and negotiate them will help the council,” he writes. But then again, council members read reports; they don’t Wright them.
Former council candidates like Boynton, David Hernandez, and LeVonne Stone fall into the precluded stack. Hernandez unsuccessfully ran in November 2006. The CSUMB graduate criticized the City for not stopping Wal-Mart and for approving big-box development University Village. Looks like Hernandez has some making up to do.
Stone would certainly shake things up on the council. She is the executive director of the Fort Ord Environmental Justice Network and the vice chair of the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee. With three of the four sitting councilmembers being registered Republicans, Stone better hope that opposites attract.
THE MARINA CITY COUNCIL MEETS AT 6:30PM TUESDAY, JUNE 5, AT CITY HALL, 211 HILLCREST AVE., MARINA, TO CHOOSE A NEW COUNCILMEMBER. 884-1278.