This question refers to the whole, extremely strange and rather suspect Vice Mayor/Mayor selection thing that happened in December 2011 and which had some follow-on weirdness in 2012. Anyone else care to speculate? This episode with the Atherton council went largely unnoticed by many in town. Yet, this small act and possible major violation of the law, set the stage for much of the subsequent hostile actions perpetrated against the residents of the town relating to the Library Project. Love to hear what others think, as it is possible to suspect that this little incident, more than any other, reveals the ugly under-belly of the beast that we are dealing with.
As I understand it, Carlson nominated Lewis, whose turn it really was, having had three years of service on the council. Lewis probably seconds that motion. Then they vote. Carlson and Lewis vote “Aye” and Dobbie and McKeithen vote “Nay.” Widmer stuns everyone by abstaining from this vote, so the nomination fails.
Think about this. You are a brand new council member, newly seated five minutes ago. The next most junior council member colleague of yours who has already served three years on the council, was just nominated to be Vice Mayor, according the the council’s long-standing protocol of nominating that member of the council who has served the longest without having been Vice Mayor. What do you do to launch your political career? Abstain, force that nomination to fail? For what beneficial purpose?
I don’t know about others, but I find this little episode to be hitting a nadir in the chambers of Atherton’s not always so genteel politics. What happens next is both surprising and not so surprising: McKeithen and Dobbie nominate Widmer and the three vote to put him into the Vice Mayor seat. Just like that.
It happened so fast, people changed seats, and then the meeting moved right along. A lot of us were just staggered, downright uncomprehending. It seemed to be merely outright meanness by Widmer. We didn’t really have any clue of why McKeithen and Dobbie would line up like that, until this past fall, when residents begin to call out their concerns about the ALBSC and we started to see Widmer squirm under the spotlight of McKeithen’s botched Library outreach job and so many suppressive council votes. He didn’t seem at all convinced about what the ALBSC was doing, yet dutifully marched in step with McKeithen, despite awareness of all of the ALBSC’s “failings” as he called them.
It was John Danielson who let slip a little information: he said Dobbie prided himself on having mentored Widmer. It makes you wonder what that mentoring consisted of.