J. Carlos Avila, a possible successor to outgoing South Ward Councilman Jim Coston, wants a special November election to choose who fills the South Ward seat until May of 2010, according to The Times of Trenton.
Such a position is contradictory to that of Mr. Coston, who has voiced his support for having City Council name a replacement sometime after Sept. 2, ensuring that the appointee serves for the remainder of Mr. Coston’s term. Mr. Avila also said Mr. Coston will recommend him to City Council, although Mr. Coston has not confirmed his support publicly.
Mr. Avila made the statements in a press release.
As a reason for supporting a special election he cited outcry over the possibility that the next South Ward council member will be chosen by six non-South Ward resident council members rather than the people actually living in the district.
“I was hearing from other constituents that they would like to have elections, that they don’t want council appointing people,” said Mr. Avila, according to The Times. “I’d be glad to participate in democratic elections.”
A sudden special election in the South Ward would certainly be a good thing.
Not only will the people get a chance to decide, but such an event will short-circuit the possibility of arming a City Council appointee with the considerable benefits of incumbency, even in a limited form.
Also, any appointee emerging from deliberations of the current City Council would certainly face skepticism and a label of illegitimacy, given the reputation of the majority of council members as rubber-stamping, dependent city officials.