“I apparently set off conspiracy theory excitement in the city,” Mayor Gleam Davis half-joked when introducing a motion that would have made a minor altercation to the city’s rules for selecting a Mayor.
The motion would have made it possible, with a super-majority, to suspend the Council’s rules for the purpose of selecting a different mayor than the one who would have been appointed under the “rotation system.” It was rejected a 3-4 vote with Mayor Davis and Councilmembers Caroline Torosis and Jesse Zwick voting in favor and Councilmembers Phil Brock, Oscar de la Torre, Lana Negrete, and Christine Parra all voting against.
Davis proposed the change because under the current system that was just put in place last year, it wouldn’t be possible to stop someone from ascending to the mayorship if they were under indictment or investigation. Davis used examples both locally where Los Angeles City Councilmember John Lee refuses to step down from his seat and nationally where Senator Bob Menendez and George Santos cling to their seats.
“Hearing your reasoning is offensive to me,” commented de la Torre who noted that several Councilmembers that could be mayor in future years would be himself, a Mexican-American and Parra, a Salvadoran-Argentine. “I would hope that we would really put the interest of the governance team ahead of trying to score political points.”
Assuming that de la Torre and Parra are re-elected in 2024, the three mayors following Davis would be Brock, Parra and de la Torre in that order under the new rules put in place this year. Despite the breathless headlines in the Outlook, there has not been a public discussion on trying to block Phil Brock from becoming Mayor next year.
Davis pushed back at the notion that the proposed changes were about anyone who was currently serving on the Council or who could be mayor in the next couple of years. The timing is only because the rule was put in place last year and she was seeking to improve it.
“It’s not about anyone who’s currently on the dias,” Gleam responded. “If someone were under investigation or indictment without this change the Council would have no choice other than to put that person in as Mayor.”
Negrete then introduced a different conspiracy theory into the debate to explain her “no” vote on the motion.
“If people are having premonitions of what the next election might look like, that there very well could be a super-majority that would potentially block other Councilmembers,” Negrete explained, “…that this is somehow a maneuver to weigh out what the super-majority might be on the dias to block people from (becoming mayor.)”
The only issue with Negrete’s conspiracy, is that for Davis and the “progressive block” to succeed in having the votes to block someone from becoming mayor that two of the three people in-line to be ascended would have to lose their City Council election before they would have the chance to be Mayor. Parra and de la Torre are both up for re-election in 2024 (before they could be mayor) and if they both win their Council elections, it’s not mathematically possible for Davis and her allies to get five votes without a change-slate candidate or one of their allies switching their vote even if Brock loses his election.
“It felt like a little bit of an attack because of the sequence of people that would be following you as mayor,” de la Torre concluded before the final vote.