Still no action from the HISD Board of Trustees regarding Diana Davila’s open seat.
Trustee Larry Marshall called for holding an election in November but his motion failed 3-5, mostly along racial lines. The board plans to screen possible appointees during a public meeting Tuesday and might still decide to call a November election.
Three of the four minority board members — Marshall, Carol Mims Galloway and Manuel Rodriguez Jr. – voted for the election.
The five trustees voting against the election, at least for now, were Harvin Moore, Greg Meyers, Anna Eastman, Mike Lunceford and Paula Harris. Harris is black, and the others are Anglo.
The trustees voting against the election did not say they had ruled out the idea but said they wanted to meet with possible appointees first. The board must decide whether to call an election by Aug. 24 to meet candidate filing deadlines.
Moore said that he supports elections and pointed out that an election will happen in November 2011. He characterized the board’s decision as whether to call an “extra” election.
Eastman echoed Moore’s suggestion for a public forum to meet possible appointees.
Marshall had tried to make this same motion at Monday’s meeting but wasn’t permitted to do.
Trustee Larry Marshall tried to make a motion to act Monday, but board president Greg Meyers stopped him. Marshall was the only trustee during the public discussion to hint what the board planned to do. “I thought the sentiment was that we would vote to hold an election,” Marshall said.
Trustee Manuel Rodríguez Jr. responded than an election was Dávila’s preference, but said trustees really hadn’t discussed it. Marshall disagreed. “I thought we had considerable discussion,” he replied.
If the Board thinks it’s best to appoint someone, then get a process going already. I don’t know what’s taking so long. Yes, any appointee will have to face the voters next year, but he or she will have the advantage of doing so as the incumbent. I honestly don’t see the downside to letting the voters decide this year as well. The Chron agrees.
Given the unanswered questions surrounding the multiple resignations, it would be best to put HISD’s District VIII seat on the November ballot.
The Chronicle editorialized in 1993 that “a vote of the people is almost always preferable to an appointment. An election is a great leveler in that it avoids a situation of a few people anointing one unelected candidate with the advantages of incumbency when the four-year term ends.”
That sentiment remains equally valid today.
UPDATE: There will be a public forum on Tuesday at 11 AM at Furr High School for people who are interested in being appointed to Davila’s seat and for people interested in meeting those people.