Jan 26 2014

Time to Vote: Your Vote Does Count

On Tuesday,  February 4, Piedmont will elect two members to the School Board in a contested election between Doug Ireland, Amal Smith and Hari Titan.   And in an uncontested election, Teddy King, Tim Rood and Jeff Wieler will be elected to the City Council.  The terms for School Board and City Council are four years. 

The Piedmont City Charter language states:


The Board of Education shall consist of five (5) members elected from the City at large for a term of four (4) years. Board members shall be elected at the times and in the same manner provided for members of the City Council and shall be required to meet the same eligibility qualifications. No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a member of the Board of Education shall be eligible to hold office until one (1) full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. Any person who serves as a member of the Board for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.

City Council election is specified, as follows:

(D) ELECTION. The regular election of Councilmembers shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of February in each even-numbered year, in the manner provided by State law. The terms of elected Councilmembers shall begin the second Monday after their election. They shall hold office for four (4) years. Elections shall be alternately for two (2) and three (3) Councilmembers, excluding elections to fill an unexpired term of office.

Race for Mayor – 

Actually, in Piedmont there is no race for mayor, because the City Council elects amongst themselves who will hold the two year mayoral term.  Voters do not determine who will be the mayor. Usually, but not always, there has been an orderly transition when the Council chooses the next mayor.  Some think the mayor should be the highest vote getter in a class of candidates.  Tenure also plays a role in the selection of a mayor. But this has not always been the rule. In fact, some years ago, when a Council member was in line to become the next mayor, the Council voted to elect another Council member, and the spurned council member promptly resigned from the Council.

The mayor’s term is for 2 years, providing a fast turnover in mayors.  The  frequent turnover in the mayor position supposedly has kept power or control within the Council as a whole and depoliticized the position.

The job of mayor as specified in the City Charter:


Following each general municipal election, the City Council shall elect from among its member officers of the City who shall have the titles of mayor and vice-mayor, each of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the Council. The mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council, shall be recognized as head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes and by the Governor for the purposes of military law, but shall have no administrative duties. The vice-mayor shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the mayor. In case of the temporary absence or disability of both the mayor and vice-mayor, the Council shall select one of its members to serve as mayor pro tempore.

The mayor works with the staff to approve the Council agendas and presides over the Council meetings.  Unlike many cities, the Piedmont mayor has no special authority or powers other than those determined by the Charter or City Council.

Election signage – 

When driving around Piedmont during this campaign period, one will see lawn signs for School Board and City Council candidates. A new campaign promotional tool has been a large banner covering the driver’s side of a red convertible parked on major Piedmont thoroughfares. Some residents do not like the littering aspect of campaign signs and may view them as unnecessary.  Candidates often want their name better known and want their community support communicated by signage.

All candidates want your vote, contested or uncontested.

The more votes a candidate receives, the greater the perception that the individual is liked in the community and their actions are respected.

In an uncontested election, it is unusual to have an all-out campaign when the individual candidates will unquestionably be elected. 

Bullet votes –

Voters who do not know all the candidates, or support only one candidate, may do what is known as bullet vote for one candidate,  which weights their vote for their preferred candidate.  While campaigns rarely advocate it publicly, the tactic of bullet voting is perfectly legal and it allows voters to place a higher value on their vote for a preferred candidate. 

Measure A –  The Piedmont City Council has placed on the February 4 ballot a bond measure allowing the City to pay with bonds the CalPERS pension side fund obligation and reducing the amount of interest charged for the amount owed to CalPERS.

Piedmont voters must cast their vote on or before Tuesday, February 4.  Each vote counts. 

Election article by PCA.

Prior article in The Piedmonter

City Charter

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