Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/22/2010 08:13:31 PM PST

GRAND TERRACE – After lengthy debate, the City Council has voted to accept applications for an open seat on the council.

The 3-1 decision, with Councilwoman Lee Ann Garcia dissenting, came following extended discussions at a special meeting Tuesday and the previous week, when the City Council delayed the decision to avoid an apparent 2-2 stalemate over whether to hold a special election or appoint someone.

“Everybody was surprised that we were able to come together,” Mayor Walt Stanckiewitz said afterward. “See, we can agree. People shouldn’t be afraid that one group is trying to get power over the other.”

Many of the citizens advocating for an election had expressed concern that the four council members would be unable to agree on a fifth member. Some also worried that if they chose the most-recommended appointment suggestion – Sylvia Robles, who lost in November by 1 percent – she would align with Stanckiewitz and Councilman Bernardo Sandoval to overpower the remaining two council members.

Others said allowing the council to choose its own member was undemocratic.

But the majority of residents said the city could not afford an election, which the registrar of voters said would cost $31,000 to $50,000.

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