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Challenger Baker Drops Out of Council Race

The man with the same name as the incumbent sent his resignation letter to the city this week, but it's too late to remove his name from the November ballot.

The man with the same name as incumbent Robert "Bob" Baker pulled out of the San Clemente City Council race today.

In a concise letter to the San Clemente City Clerk, he said he was pulling out of the race for "personal reasons."

His candidacy had been criticized in the press as a political ploy by those in opposition to the incumbent Robert "Bob" Baker to split his supporters and cause him to lose his seat, one of two up for grabs in the November election.

But it's too late to remove Baker 0's name from the ballot. City Clerk Joanne Baade described the election procedure as it stands now in an email to the media:

If Robert “Bob” Baker 0 were to be elected, he could then decide whether to resign immediately, thus opening a vacancy on the City Council.

The San Clemente Municipal Code provides that whenever a vacancy occurs on the City Council, the Council shall immediately call a special election to fill such vacancy.

Said special election may be held on the next regularly scheduled election date to be held throughout the City; however, such election date may not be less than 114 days from the call of the special election. 

The Code further provides that Council may appoint a person to fill the vacancy until such time as a special election is held and a successor is duly elected and installed.

The special election called for the purpose of filling said vacancy shall be for the purpose of filling the remainder of the unexpired term of office.

Incumbent Bob Baker said in a phone interview that he was confused by the wording of the challenger's withdrawal letter. Baker 0 states "after reassessing my candidacy, [I] wish to redraw from this election..."

"What does 'redraw' mean there?" Baker 1 asked. "With this government stuff, the devil is in the details."

Patch put in a call to the former candidate Baker for clarification, but that call was not immediately returned. Look for updates later today on Patch.

Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Hi Dan, great night and very informative. I went there expecting Mike to be well spoken and articulate and he did not disappoint. As expected given his short time in town, he was a bit limited and non-specific as to his pro-business platform but not terrible. And yes after the forum, Mike did take time to explain how his signage came about and I found his explanation to be creditable. Again his inexperience is something to provide pause but all in all, not a bad night. I thought Chris Hamm absolutely hit it out of the park. He was on-point all night and was able to clearly articulate a very positive outlook moving forward. Certainly the topic of unifying the Hatfield McCoy mentality in town was very well accepted and both Mike and Chris hit that point well. What say you?
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Larry, I agree that it was a great night and I'm glad you got the chance to talk with Mike. Admittedly, I was disappointed with the debate format as it did not really give the candidates a great deal of time to go in depth regarding the issues. I think Mike did a great job hitting on his credentials, certainly knew the issues. and presented some solid ideas for moving forward. I know Chris from my time on the GPAC and I thought he was very well spoken as well. I like Chris. However, in the end, this election will turn on the issues and solutions. I'm a little concerned that Chris seems to think that our traffic problems on the 5 are caused by traffic alert signs and that our parking problems around town will be solved by paving one lot in North Beach. These issues are certainly more pervasive than Chris admits. I’m also concerned that Chris thinks SC is the only town in which people can shop, dine and go to the beach in the same day. SC is simply not unique in this regard. While the beach is certainly a resource, we cannot simply sit back and hope that fact alone will help our local businesses to thrive. Thoughtful effort must be given to strengthening our local business - i.e. through the cooperative efforts of local government and businesses that Mike touched upon last night. I was disappointed that I did not hear more from Baker last night. I found him to be largely off topic. The Bob-0 issue is not even remotely the most critical issue facing SC.
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Larry, one more point. I agree with you 100% regarding the "Hatfield and McCoy" divisiveness that has consumed us since measure A. Very happy to hear both Chris and Mike touch on this issue. It's easy to dismiss those you disagree with, but it takes a true leader to bridge the divide and build consensus
Lindsey Hanson September 28, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Now if a certain group of bad kids who think tampering with the political process and disturbing the vote of the people for kicks would just grow up, we could better focus on the true issues...
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Yes, I think the one minute format was almost a waste of time. I know the moderator was concerned with time, but even 2 minutes isn't a lot of time to begin to scratch the surface of the complex questions that are being asked. I'm not sure I heard any meaningful answer except I5 is not controlled locally. La Pata is important and also out of our control. So what game changing traffic solution have you heard that' provides the solution? What does help businesses really mean? Give them money? Force people to purchase their products and services? The government can certainly streamline processes for permits, licenses and assist with infrastructure like parking and street appearances, but don't you see that happening already? I thought Bob Baker's resistance to spending 250k per year was prudent. I knew the previous business development director and I see the business environment only improving since his departure. Not finding fault with the job he did, but there doesn't seem to be critical mass in SC to warrant another fat administrative cost. The forces of free enterprise will ultimately prevail. New stores and restaurants may be great for choice, but may offer competition to local businesses who are working hard to survive. Here is where Mike's having lived in SC for 2 years might hurt him. The perception of a new comer making decisions that can effect businesses that have been here for a long time, might not go over in some circles.

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