by Will Harper
Richmond Mayor-elect Gayle McLaughlin says she believes community activist and gadfly Corky Booze should be appointed to her old city council seat. Booze just missed getting elected to the city council on November 7 - candidate Myrna Lopez edged him out by less than five hundred votes for the third and final slot. "I truly believe that Richmond's popular vote should determine who gets my seat when I become mayor," McLaughlin said in an e-mail to the Express. "The people of Richmond have just voted and the logical and democratic way to proceed is to give the seat to the people's choice. Mr. Booze will likely be the next highest vote-getter (after the City Council winners are certified). My City Council seat should go to him."
Whether other councilmembers feel the same way remains to be seen. Booze will need the backing of McLaughlin plus at least four council members to get the necessary majority for the appointment. "I don't think he'd have a majority, frankly," says Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia, whose district includes Richmond.
A regular speaker at council meetings, Booze is often critical of council members and he doesn't mince words.
During a candidate forum in October, for instance, Booze accused Councilman Jim Rogers of lying to the public by suggesting the city could use redevelopment money to fix potholes in his campaign literature. Booze had a point - there are restrictions on how and where redevelopment money is spent. But it's the way he said it that shows why he might have a hard time getting enough votes to win appointment to the vacant two-year seat: "Jim's going to jail if he uses redevelopment money for potholes," Booze told the audience at the forum.
Rogers was the highest vote-getter on November 7 in the race for the four-year city council seat.
Other names circulating as contenders for the open seat include Andres Soto, a Latino community activist, and Linda Jackson, president of the Santa Fe Neighborhood Council and wife of Vern Whitmore, publisher of the Richmond Globe.