Here Bill raises what he apparently hopes will become yet another time-wasting and attention diverting controversy based on nothing:
Editorial, posted 1/17/12 - I was contacted by a reader today who asked me why it is that nominations for our April 10, 2012 election were closed to day for races in which an incumbent was running and tomorrow for races in which an incumbent is not running, when the governing code calls for five days difference. As I started looking into it, I discovered that there are others in town who shared the same concern as the reader that contacted me. The reader pointed out that the Government Code section on elections, which governs our election, states that nominations are due by the 88th day prior to the election, which was last Friday, if incumbents filed papers, and if an incumbent didn't run, the residents had another five days to file nomination papers for a seat in which an incumbent was not running. This would seem to indicate that incumbents needed to file their nomination papers by last Friday, not today, as announced by City Clerk Nancy Shollenberger on Dec. 17, 2011.
Bill then goes on to post, and in all of their glorious entirety, three different Election Codes on the matter supposedly in support of this baseless canard. All of which you can read by clicking here.
So what is the answer to all this? It is very simple. City Hall was closed last Friday. Just like it was also closed on Monday. This was a 4 day weekend for those folks. Something that anyone with even a modicum of sense would have considered before cooking this nonsense up. Of course, a modicum of sense being something sorely lacking in whatever persons raised this canard in the first place. Names that Bill does not cite in his editorial, probably in hopes of insulating them from the effects of their own intellectual paucity.
At the bottom of his article, and after futilely expending hundreds words to establish some sort of validity for the case, Bill then explains why it is a load of nonsense. And, of course, he does this with the usual gratuitous slap at Nancy Shollenberger. Something that seems pro forma for Bill.
Note that all three of the above sections reference either "normal business hours" or "regular business hours." City Clerk (and election official) Nancy Shollenberger usually works by appointment only, and does not keep regular hours at City Hall (an issue in the 2008 election campaign), so there may be some gray area here, particularly if it can be shown that she has kept appointments outside of City Hall's posted hours. But since "by appointment" hours are kind of nebulous, using City Hall's posted hours seems like the logical course of action. Since City Hall was closed on Friday, over the weekend, and on Monday for the holiday, normal business hours ended on Thursday, prior to the 88th day, and began again this morning. So it seems that "normal business hours" in this situation ended at 5pm today.
First let's deal with the slap at our City Clerk. Like all of the elected officials currently serving, Nancy is not a salaried employee. Neither the Mayor nor the Mayor Pro Tem keep full time office hours at City Hall, and our two remaining City Council members do not as well. The reason being that all are volunteers, with most of them holding down full-time jobs. And while Nancy does receive some small remuneration for business costs and the long tedious hours spent transcribing things like meeting minutes, it is a mere fraction of the $150,000 or so that is paid to our City Manager. And good luck seeing her without an appointment.
The only reason why this nonsense became "an issue in the 2008 election campaign" was because Bill made it an issue by writing about it on his site and elsewhere, and more than once. All in support of Karma Bell, a then candidate for City Clerk that Bill supported quite vociferously at that time.
In a previous article posted by Bill on his site yesterday there was an allusion to this cooked up controversy over the City Council candidate filing timeline. I called Nancy Shollenberger and, after a few laughs on the topic of "usual suspects," she explained the care she took in establishing campaign candidate filing dates. This question had occurred to her, and she specifically raised it with Martin & Chapman, the recognized experts on all things election law. And they confirmed that because both Friday and Monday were dark days at City Hall, the due date for a filing such as MaryAnn's was yesterday, January 17.
As in so much of the nonsense coming from that quarter, it turns out that there is nothing behind it. And while I am certain those usual suspects will still try to get some traction with this one (the lack of reality thing has never slowed them down before), anyone with a modicum of sense will know that this poor little canard was dead on arrival.
It would be nice if we could have an election based on discussions about the real and very serious challenges that the City of Sierra Madre is facing right now. But apparently for Bill Coburn tall tales about bogus controversies that even he confesses are completely without merit seem to take precedence. And that is very unfortunate. We deserve so much more than a steady diet of nothing.