Several interesting notes from the Steve Abercrombie appointment to the City Council on Tuesday night:
No. 1: Councilwoman Eveyln Tolbert asserted a measure of control over the council. Her one-candidate list effectively decided the appointment process. Tolbert will probably find a ready ally in Abercrombie in addressing issues of gangs and crime prevention (Abercrombie has been involved in the DARE program for years and was a former police officer in Hayward). Tolbert will likely be the major power player behind this new council.
No. 2: Mayor Brent Ives is able to say he is meeting one of his campaign promises: addressing crime and gangs in Tracy. Though community officials refuse to call it a gang "problem," this issue is gaining currency in a growing city, and the appointment of Abercrombie — who knows the community, is actively involved on many levels, and who, by all accounts, is easier to work with than the sometimes-prickly former Capt. Mike Maciel — is a major policital victory for Ives.
No. 3: Councilwoman Irene Sundberg is further isolated. Her continued support of Roger Adhikari for the fifth City Council spot casts her as unwilling to compromise when the council desparately needed it. Before this council appointment, Sundberg had the righteous leverage of wanting a democratic election for the fifth council seat (and this writer agreed with her). Now her position is very tenuous. Her support for Adhikari suggests that she is very focused — perhaps singularly so — on a pair of controversial developer deals, and her arguments and positions are likely to be ignored on this council. Expect more than a few 4-1 votes on this council.
No 4: It sets up numerous 2008 possibilities. With Sundberg's increasing isolation, expect council hopefuls to be licking their chops at a chance to take a run at her. I have a hunch Maciel will take another run at council, and I wouldn't count out Celeste Garamendi. Despite a failed mayoral bid in 2006, the mayor's seat is up for election every two years, and she could be angling to bounce Ives from the top notch. Abercrombie's seat could also be in play, depending on his performance.