Hawthorne : Clerk Solicits Arguments

Hawthorne City Clerk Patrick Keller urged citizens to submit 400-word rationales for and against four measures that will appear on the April 8 ballot.

Three of the ballot measures, which concern the separate election of a mayor, will be binding.

The fourth is an advisory measure on how to fill a council vacancy created when a council member is elected mayor. It would apply only if voters decide to continue the current system in which there is a separate election for mayor.

The special election was called to fill the council seat vacated by Betty Ainsworth, who was elected mayor on Nov. 5.

The binding measures are: "Shall the electors elect a mayor and four City Council members? Shall the term of office be four years? Shall the term of office be two years?"

The advisory measure is: "When a vacancy on the City Council is created by the election of an incumbent City Council member to the office of mayor, shall the City Council fill the vacancy by special election rather than by appointment?"

Keller said the deadline for submitting pro and con arguments for each question is Jan. 10.

The current system, in which a the mayor and the council are elected separately, resulted from a 1980 referendum. Hawthorne voters rejected an arrangement in which five elected council members chose a mayor from among themselves.

The issue was raised again because of continued uncertainty about how to fill vacancies created when a council member is elected mayor.

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