The debate over how the seat of former Bakersfield City Councilman Rudy Salas should be filled, is over. Council members heard from residents of Ward One Wednesday evening, before making a decision.
Residents in favor of holding a special election to fill the seat gathered more than 2,000 signatures but most were found to be invalid. That left the decision up to the city council and it unanimously voted to grant the people's wish to hold a special election.
After Rudy Salas resigned from the Bakersfield City Council to take his seat in the California State Assembly, there were several options to fill the vacancy left behind. One was gathering signatures to force a special election, which supporters like Marvin Dean did, but the city deemed most signatures invalid because volunteers filled out the addresses of the voters.
"That's the extent. That's all we are talking about, an address, not signing it, not forging it. The people who signed it did so with the intent that they wanted a special election," said Marvin Dean, a Ward One resident.
Since that failed, the decision fell to the remaining city council members. They could vote for a special election, appoint someone to the Ward One seat, or leave it vacant until the next election. After listening to a number of Ward One residents, all of the sitting council members voted unanimously to hold a special election.
Marvin Dean says he couldn't be happier with the outcome and he plans to throw his hat into the race.
"I am glad that the council members showed that they will support the will and intent of the people in the 1st Ward and I am so happy and thankful for the people of the 1st Ward who stepped up and signed the petition," said Dean.
The special election will cost the city around $100,000 and should take place in June.