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One is Enough

By Alphonso Rodriguez



Imagine my surprise on witnessing the vote last Wednesday night by the Vallejo Charter Review Committee.


There were three motions for consideration.   They all dealt with section 809 of the City Charter.  Section 809 is the Charter provision that includes Binding Arbitration.  The first motion was whether section 809 should be left as it currently exists.  This motion failed by a 12 to 1 vote count.  The second motion was whether to remove section 809 from the Charter in its entirety.  This motion, if passed, would have the same effect as that of the citizen’s initiative which gathered over 6800 voter signatures.  The vote was 7 in favor of the motion (thereby removing section 809 from the Charter), to 6 (leaving section 809 in the Charter). 

Logic would seem to indicate the majority favored removing binding arbitration from the charter.  However, the Assistant City Attorney opined that the vote did not represent a majority as one committee member was absent.  He cited the City Council resolution that established the Charter Review Committee where it states that any item to be recommended to the Council must be by majority vote, or by a tie vote. 

It would appear that had the missing member been present to vote, there would have been one of two results.  The vote could have been 8 to 6 (a majority) and binding arbitration could have been forwarded to the City Council.  Or, the vote could have been 7 to 7, (a tie vote) and under the Council’s resolution, binding arbitration could have been forwarded to the City Council on the basis of a tie vote! 

It seems strange that in this city, where one vote could be enough to elect a Mayor, one vote is not sufficient to present a matter to the City Council for deliberation on whether to place binding arbitration on the November ballot as was clearly the choice of over 6800 Vallejo voters.