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The Race is On as Meeting Set to Select Next Mayor

The Race is On as Meeting Set to Select Next Mayor

  Walk into City Hall today and yell 'Mayor!' and you're liable to see ten people responding.

  Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports that the race to succeed Julian Castro is on, with a special meeting to decide the next mayor set for a week from today.

  Due to the city's bizarre charter, the only people who can be named mayor, or 'interim mayor,' as some council members are describing the position, are the ten members of City Council.

  The successful candidate will have to get the support of six members of Council, and since members can abstain on every vote, getting those six votes may not be easy, especially with as many as eight of the ten council members at least expressing interest in the post.

  The front runners today are seen as the two most senior members of council, Ivy Taylor from District Two and Ralph Lopez from District Six, both of whom have said they have no plans to seek election to the position next May.

  Taylor would be the city's first African American mayor, and the Council showed during the Non Discrimination Ordinance debate last summer that it enjoys making history.  Lopez, who is the senior serving council members, is universally respected on council and has the support of some influential outsiders, like former Councilman and current State Rep Jose Menendez.

  Also in the mix are downtown Councilman Diego Bernal, who has indicated a desire to run for mayor in 2015, and council newbies Ron Nirenberg and Shirley Gonzalez.

  A big question facing the council is whether to elect a person like Lopez, who will not run for mayor next year, setting up a potentially politically weak 'interim mayor' position, or elect a person who is likely to run, like Bernal, and give that person a major head start in fundraising and name recognition heading into next spring's election.

  "I am going to look for who I think would be the best mayor between now and May, and if he or she decides to run, that's up to them," said Councilman Joe Krier, who is also among those thought to be considering a run for Mayor.

  Castro has been confirmed as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  Castro will be present to preside over next week's meeting, but he will not cast a vote.

  There is also widespread concern about the restrictions in the City Charter which prevent another person other than the ten on council from being elected mayor.  Castro is the first mayor to resign in the middle of a term since the current system of city government was implemented in 1977.

  "We will have an opportunity to do some charter reform in another year or so, and that would be a great time to change the charter so somebody outside can be chosen," Krier said.

 

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