I apologize, dear readers, for not bringing this news to you right away. I planned on being present as the Council elected its new president and president pro tem, however, some circumstances got in the way. The same circumstances prevented me from at least discussing the event the next day. But I digress.
At first it looked like there were three candidates. President Pro Tem Mark Clear, Ald. Marsha Rummel and Ald. Larry Palm. Both Rummel and Palm were anti-Clear candidates. Both expressed distaste for Bruer and Clear's style, and both complained that the leadership was working secretively with the mayor, costing the Council influence and autonomy.
Eventually, Palm withdrew, leaving Rummel as the only anti-Clear candidate. Palm said Rummel had emerged as the viable candidate, and that he would probably support her.
What's interesting is that Rummel is the only remaining Progressive Dane member of the Council who is not also affiliated with the Democratic Party. The other two members of the Council PD caucus, Mike Verveer and Satya Rhodes-Conway, are endorsed by the Dems and participate in Democratic politics. Although there's no reason to believe party affiliations were a big factor in the vote, it's nevertheless impressive that PD came so close to having one of its members as president of a Council in which it has very little presence any more.
It was interesting hearing the predictions before the vote. One Council connoisseur told me that Mark Clear had 10 solid votes. Another told me it would be very close. Another seemed convince Rummel would win. Nobody knew who Bryon Eagon, Judy Compton or Steve King would vote for. I didn't have any more luck wrangling a response out of Eagon or Mrs. Eagon, who I ran into at the landromat. The funniest prediction was that Thuy Pham-Rammele, the cantankerous conservative from the 20th district, would vote for Rummel because she hates the mayor so much.
The conventional wisdom is that Clear's victory is a victory for the mayor, who can continue to work with the same guy he's been dealing with for the last two years, instead of having to cater to one of his most outspoken critics. Mayor Dave detractors are disappointed, because they see Bruer and Clear as subservient to his agenda. However, Clear tried to downplay the notion that his presidency simply indicates a continuation of Bruer's legacy, saying he thinks he and the former president have different styles.
We shall see. It was nice to see Rummel give words of encouragement to Clear. Let's get some co-operation up in this Council.