Choice of officers for Yorba Linda public panels will signal possible presence of election enmity
Acrimony that develops in hard-fought elections – as seen in the recent contests for several of Yorba Linda's top government positions – sometimes lingers long after the ballots are counted.
A reliable indicator of any continuing enmity is selecting next year's officers by less than unanimous votes when the governing bodies hold organizational meetings in December.
These are largely ceremonial positions, with few specific duties, such as serving as presiding officer at meetings, so the panels normally rotate the offices among all members for one-year terms, despite personal or political differences.
The City Council used a rotation policy for many years after incorporation, but in later years, members on the short end of 3-2 and 4-1 votes were excluded from serving as mayor and mayor pro tem, notably Hank Wedaa and Mark Schwing near the end of their long tenures.
And Councilwoman Jan Horton, serving as mayor pro tem in 2008, was denied the mayor's chair for 2009 on a 3-2 vote. Out of 32 council members, she's the only one to not serve as mayor.
In a surprise move after the 2014 election, the council vacated all 20 city commission positions, even though most of the terms had not yet expired, on a 4-1 vote (Schwing dissented). Most commissioners were reappointed, but some opponents were dropped.
This year, the sitting commissioners are probably safe, and Mayor Pro Tem Peggy Huang is expected to succeed Tom Lindsey as mayor. Either Gene Hernandez, mayor in 2015, or Tara Campbell, top vote-getter this year, would fit into a traditional rotation policy as mayor pro tem.
Selection of a president in the Yorba Linda Water District will be more revealing, since Phil Hawkins is the only holdover director, and four newly elected members will be taking office. Three – Brooke Jones, Wayne Miller and Al Nederhood – make up a “reform” board majority.
Hawkins, president in 2012, would be next-in-line for the top spot, since Vice President Mike Beverage is retiring. But with controversy over a raise and three-year contract extension for General Manager Marc Marcantonio by departing directors, a different choice is likely.
In the Placentia-Yorba Linda school district rotation expect Yorba Linda resident Karin Freeman to be selected president, Placentia resident Carol Downey vice president and Yorba Linda resident Carrie Buck clerk. Freeman is the district's longest-tenured trustee at 27 years.
North Orange County Community College District trustees also are expected to rotate, with Fullerton's Molly McClanahan named president and Anaheim's Jacqueline Rodarte vice president. A southwestern part of Yorba Linda with 1,635 registered voters is included in Rodarte's Area 5.
Yorba Lindans Jeff Brown, whose Area 6 includes a tiny section of the city's west end with 848 registered voters, and Ryan Bent, whose Area 7 includes most of the city with 40,046 voters, await turns in the rotation.