We watched the interviews last night, approximately eleven questions were asked of each candidate depending upon whether they had run for the council seat or not in the general election. One observation is that some of the candidates seemed more qualified to be councilors than those sitting, at least as regards to being alert, paying attention to what is going on in the city and working and playing well with others.

Amanda Davidson related her ten years in the Navy as part of her qualifications and appeared fairly comfortable in front of the council. John Spencer managed to weave in his entire life history, spending summers in Coquille as a boy, his August birthday, where his grandparents lived, how he rescued the Rotary clock and….

Local attorney, Matt Muenchrath, said he had not run during the election because he was not sure the time was right but decided to take a stab at the appointed position. He also took the opportunity to give a good thumbs up to the new police chief and seemed to be aware that the City had suffered under the past leadership. He further thought that many of the local ordinances might be updated or rewritten.

Dian kept her answers short feeling she had addressed most of the questions in her application. She was the only candidate that discussed her hope of helping the City become self sustaining and keeping dollars local and encouraging people to spend here.

I missed the final applicant to take my daughter home.

Eldon Rollins brought up a point to be considered regarding the city charter. According to Eldon, the Secretary of State says that local city charters supersede state law if, and only if, the charter addresses a matter. In this regard the charter does address the matter of eligible candidates and this gets back to how the council or counsel chooses to interpret the language.

SECTION 12. QUALIFICATION OF OFFICERS. No person shall be eligible for an elective office of the city unless at the time of the election he/she is a qualified elector within the meaning of the state constitution and has resided in the city during 12 months immediately preceding the election.

Vacating councilor Kathy Hagen was not qualified at the time of the election (unconfirmed reports state she was aware as far back as August she may not be able to take the seat). It would seem that the council could interpret Section 12 to mean that those votes cast for Hagen were forfeit and the next highest eligible elector should be seated.

By accepting Hagen as elected despite her ineligbility and then vacating her seat the council is effectively disenfranchising the collective votes of both Hagen and Dian or 1,500 plus people. There is nothing anyone can do about the Hagen votes but the council could choose to handle this matter much differently and listen to the 700+ votes that went to Dian.

The council is now supposed to vote immediately after the pledge of allegiance at the regular January city council meeting.