Carson Schedules Vote to Fill Council Vacancy
The City Council decided this week to hold a special election next year to fill the council seat vacated by Walter J. (Jake) Egan, who was sentenced last week to one year in federal prison on mail fraud and extortion charges.
The election was scheduled for March 3.
The council’s unanimous action came after Councilwoman Vera Robles DeWitt, taking a cue from a person in the audience, said council members should lock themselves in a room and not come out until they appoint a replacement.
Her motion to appoint Egan’s replacement, seconded by Councilwoman Kay A. Calas, was withdrawn after Mayor Sylvia L. Muise said an election should be held because the four remaining council members--who have split 2-2 on a number of votes--would be deadlocked on a replacement.
“Certainly I feel the cost factor has some relevancy as to whether or not we call for a special election, and the fact the people of this community did speak within the last six months,” DeWitt said, referring to the council election in April in which Egan’s council seat was not a stake. “It doesn’t appear, though, that we’re going to have a consensus as far as an appointment is concerned.”
Residents had brought up the name of Michael Mitoma, a DeWitt ally who came in third in the April race for two council seats. One audience member produced 480 signatures supporting the appointment of Mitoma.
Others urged the City Council to spend the approximately $60,000 that a special election would cost on city improvements instead.
Egan, 45, was convicted in July of receiving cash payments and political contributions from convicted political corruption figure W. Patrick Moriarty and a Moriarty aide in exchange for supporting a plan to build a mobile home park in Carson. In addition to the prison sentence, Egan was fined $5,000.