This was a deluge of democracy, civics on steroids.
On Thursday, 14 Santa Clarita residents had filed applications with the City Clerk in hopes of getting appointed to the vacant seat on the City Council – but by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, the final tally totaled 50.
There was such a crush of applicants at the deadline that, as the clock struck five, only 36 had been completely processed. It wasn’t till around 6:30 p.m. that City Clerk Mary Cusick and her staff at City Hall finally finished copying, sorting and collating all the late-arriving paperwork.
“I’m excited there’s as large a number of applicants as there is,’’ Mayor Cameron Smyth had said earlier Friday, when the number was around 30.
“I think it represents a broad diversity of the city, from all different neighborhoods and all different degrees of experience. That’s a great start.’’
While the official total of applications was 50, there are two asterisks to be added – two of the applicants were from people living outside the city limits, and two others, according to the Clerk’s office, had “no voter records.”
State law requires the eventual appointee be a resident and a voter in the jurisdiction at the time of the appointment. So the two from outside the city are likely to be tossed, while the other two are subject to further scrutiny.
Still, even at 46 applications, this was one prodigious pile of public participation.
Now Smyth and his colleagues on the Council will begin the process of sifting through the mass of applications, resumes and letters of reference – with each member, in the next few days, getting a fat loose-leaf binder jammed with all that paperwork.
All this comes ahead of a Jan. 17 special Council session, at which each of the applicants will get three minutes to present his or her case for the vacant seat, with council members able to extend the time to ask questions as they see fit.
With so large a field, the Jan. 17 process could run late into the night, so the Council has allowed that the ultimate decision might spill over into the body’s regular meeting of Jan. 24.
“No good decisions get made at 2 a.m.,’’ Smyth said.
The Council seat at the center of all this hubbub became vacant on Dec. 6, when Dante Acosta stepped down to join the state Senate. On Dec. 13, the Council voted to use an appointment process to fill out the remaining two years of Acosta’s term.
Here are the names of the applicants — listed in the order in which they filed their paperwork:
Brent A. Braun
*Philip Olivero (Castaic resident)
Michael Dean Vincent
Gene Dorio, M.D.
Dennis Hugh Conn
Scott A. Drake Jr.
Ana Isabel Dwork
Phillip N. Phethean
Paul De La Cerda
Joan Carol Sodergren
Nancy “Tyger” White
Kenneth R. Wiseman
Robert Cooper III
Matthew J. Hargett
Sean R. Weber
David J. Bianco
Bret Alden Mouser
Jason Warren Gibbs
*Sheryl Ann Lima (lives outside city limits)
*Jennifer Jeysor (no voter records)