Only three days have passed since Santa Rosa city officials released the names of the 17 applicants for an open seat on the City Council.
Many of us are still getting to know these individuals given that most waited until the deadline to file, and many are relative newcomers to city politics.
Nevertheless, despite the relative anonymity of some of the candidates and the sheer number of applicants, the council seems determined to make an appointment by Tuesday if not Monday night. Why the rush?
The City Council indicated that it hoped to fill the vacancy in time for its biennial goal-setting session on Feb. 14-15. This is where the council lays out its priorities for the term. It's an important session, no doubt. But in its rush to meet that relatively arbitrary deadline, the council is failing to give the public, as well as themselves, much time to review the long list of candidates for this position.
We understand that some council members may already have their minds made up, or at least have an inclination of who they plan to support. But out of respect for the process, and out of respect for those who have stuck their necks out to apply, the council should at least slow the process down to allow full consideration of the candidates.
We're not sure that is part of the process at this point. The City Council still plans to interview the candidates on Monday. From 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the council will plow through all 17 candidates in 15-minute interviews, with only a 30-minute break for dinner.
Fifteen minutes? That's not an interview process, that's a receiving line.
Meanwhile, given that the council is expected to vote on Tuesday — if not Monday after the interviews — the public will have little time to provide any feedback.
Overall, we're unimpressed with how the City Council has gone about filling this vacancy. Despite the importance of this position, the council has allowed it to be shrouded in secrecy for the first two weeks of the application process and then, for reasons that don't make good sense, is rushing to make a final decision without allowing the public time to analyze and offer their input.
Want to know which candidates live on the west side of town? Forget about it. Despite the recent Measure Q ballot fight, which underscored the historic lack of representation from Santa Rosa's west side, the addresses of the applicants have been blacked out by the city in the packets that are posted on the city website. Want to call the candidates and ask them? Forget that, too. Those numbers are blacked out as well.
We don't blame the council for wanting to fill this seat quickly, but it should not come at the expense of public input and a proper evaluation.
The council should wait until its Feb. 5 meeting to make a decision. That gives the candidates more time to make their cases to the public while still allowing the council to have a full dais in time for its goal-setting session.
Meanwhile, it's our hope that one of those goals will be to shelve this policy for filling a vacancy on the City Council, replacing it with one that offers more transparency and more time for proper input and discussion.
The old and new
Side-by-side comparison of the San Francisco 49ers’ new home in Santa Clara versus the one they left behind in San Francisco:
Candlestick Park; Levi's Stadium
Year opened: 1960; 2014
Cost to build: $32 million; $1.3 billion
Seating capacity: 69,900; 68,500*
Suites: 94; 176
Stadium square footage: 985,000; 1,850,000
Average concourse width (feet): 19; 63
Scoreboard square footage: 1,296; 19,000
Elevators: 4; 25
Escalators: 6; 38
Toilets: 885; 1,135
Parking spaces: 18,000; about 30,000
*With room to expand
Source: San Francisco 49ers 2014 Media Guide
Tale of three stadiums
Opened in 1925 in southeast corner of Golden Gate Park; renovated 1989-90
Cost $300,000 ($4 million in 2014 dollars)
Seating capacity nearly 60,000
Founding home of San Francisco 49ers in 1946; team moved to Candlestick Park in 1971.
In their finale at Kezar, the 49ers lost the 1970 NFC Championship Game to the Dallas Cowboys, 17–10, on Jan. 3, 1971, and fans set to tearing the stadium apart looking for souvenirs or with mayhem on their minds.
Opened in 1960 as the home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
Cost $15 million ($120 million in current dollars)
Seating capacity nearly 70,000
49ers moved into stadium in 1971; played final game Dec. 23, 2013
Hosted eight National Football Conference championship games, four won by Niners, the first in 1982 decided by 'The Catch,' Dwight Clark's touchdown reception from Joe Montana.
Opened in 2014 in Santa Clara, 38 miles south of Candlestick Park
Cost $1.3 billion
Seating capacity 68,500 with ability to expand
First 49ers game Sunday; preseason match against Denver Broncos at 1 p.m.
Features digital, sustainable and gastronomical advances, including a stadium mobile app, rooftop garden for insulation and 32 vegan menu items.