Voters will have a field of 12 candidates to choose from in a June 2 special election to fill a vacant City Council seat, the city clerk said Thursday.
At stake will be the new voting majority on a council that has been deadlocked 2 to 2 on most crucial votes affecting the city, including who should be appointed to fill the seat vacated by former Mayor Don R. Roth after he was elected to the county Board of Supervisors.
More than 20 people were nominated to fill Roth's seat, but none was able to gain confirmation, leaving the council no choice but to have voters decide the issue.
Filing for the position before the 5 p.m. deadline Thursday were businessman William D. Ehrle; Planning Commissioner Charlene La Claire; retired businessman Gustave E. Bode; Manuel R. Hernandez, a maintenance engineer; Bill G. Burnette, historian; Karl Waterman, an electronics technician; Rick Vaught, a real estate agent; Roger Emard, a contractor; Bob Baker, an operations analyst; Andrew Leo Deneau, a preservation consultant; James Norman Grover, a businessman, and Rosamond C. Fergen, a pharmaceutical sales representative.
Mayor Ben Bay and Councilman Fred Hunter have expressed their support for Ehrle, who ran last Nov. 4 for one of three council seats and finished fourth in a field of 14 candidates. Council members Irv Pickler and Miriam Kaywood have opposed his appointment.
Ehrle said Thursday that he has raised $60,000 for the special election and reiterated his campaign promise of last November that, if elected, he would vote to oust City Manager William O. Talley.
"The city manager has too much control now," Ehrle said, echoing the sentiments of Hunter, who also has voiced criticism of Talley.
Pickler and Kaywood support the city manager and have labeled Ehrle "a special-interest candidate."