Barring 11th hour shifts in candidates and commitments, City Council will convene for a special meeting Tuesday morning without a consensus of who will be elected interim mayor to succeed outgoing Mayor Julián Castro.
Four of the 10 Council members filed letters of interest to become candidates, while a fifth presumed candidate, District 7 Councilman Cris Medina, decided not to run amid a developing political crisis set off by a widely disseminated anonymous email detailing alleged ethical violations in the handling of his official finances.
Medina denied the allegations, and then announced his intention to take a leave of absence from Council to fulfill a prior reserve military commitment. Tuesday’s Council session could include discussion of the process for soliciting applications from District 7 residents interested in serving as the acting Council member in Medina’s absence.
The two senior Council members seeking the interim mayor’s post, District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor and District 6 Councilman Ray Lopez, both three-term officeholders, appear to be the frontrunners leading into tomorrow’s public vote. Each has a few “committed” votes and some tentative support, but neither has a definitive advantage.
“I’m not sure anyone has committed to anything,” one Council member said. “The process has been equally uncomfortable for candidates and those who are not candidates. We’ll find out tomorrow where people really stand.”
District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales and District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg, both in their first term, do not appear to have gained traction in their bid for the interim mayor’s seat.
One or both could throw their support to one of the other candidates and help them draw closer to the necessary six-vote majority. Or one or both could become alternate choices if Council is unable to agree on either Taylor or Lopez, and members consider other options.
The special meeting starts at 9 a.m. It will include what could be a longer-than-usual Citizens to be Heard segment, and Council might then go into executive session to review the voting procedures and the rules that will be applied in the event of ties or a stalemate. Mayor Castro will preside Tuesday but will not vote. He has announced his intention to resign his post once an interim mayor is chosen by the Council.
Mayor Castro has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next Secretary of Housing & Urban Affairs in the Obama administration, and is expected to be sworn in as a Cabinet member by July 28.
A number of Council members have privately said they intend to use tomorrow’s special meeting to publicly praise the mayor and recount the many achievements of the Castro era. It could take some time, then, before the actual voting on an interim mayor begins.
Tuesday’s meeting also will be the first Council meeting, which normally are not held in July, since Police Chief William McManus announced his retirement. McManus will continue to serve as police chief until the end of 2014 and then become the senior security executive at CPS Energy.
No candidate at this juncture believes they have reached a six-vote majority, so Tuesday’s meeting promises some political drama if the balance doesn’t change overnight.
Interested viewers can watch proceedings on Time Warner Cable digital channel 21/99, Grande channel 20, and AT&T Uverse channel 99. The session will also be live streamed at www.sanantonio.gov/tvsa/liveontheweb.aspx.
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