Two People Near Fresno City Council Seat

April 7, 2008 8:42:40 PM PDT
Two people pass a major hurdle on Monday to become Fresno's newest city council member without going before voters. A committed selected retired college teacher Donald Larson and local lawyer Paul Caprioglio as the two top candidates to replace City Council Member Larry Westerlund who serves district 4. He is leaving his seat, because the military placed him on active duty sending him overseas. The Fresno City Council will ultimately select a person to replace Westerlund who will be fighting the war on terror.

Only five people applied for the position. Monday afternoon, they all faced a public job interview in front of a committee that included Westerlund. He called it surreal to actually search for his own replacement.

Larson is a retired teacher from Fresno City College and political analyst for local media. Caprioglio is a self employed attorney. Both men plan to follow Westerlund's agenda if selected. They also called public safety a major priority

Committee members described the two men as highly qualified. Westerlund said they each have the right abilities to do the job. He said, "For Mr. Larson from at least my perspective, (he has) ? knowledge of city workings?For Mr. Caprioglio ? analysis and ability to get in depth."

But Susan Good doesn't agree with the process. She is running against Westerlund in June's election. Good wanted the city council to make an appointment after voters cast their ballots. Good said, "By waiting to do the appointment until after the June election, the people of district 4 will have the say. And if they chose that's me, then why shouldn't I be appointed early."

Committee members called their process a fair and open way to deal with an unusual vacancy.

The city council will make a decision next Tuesday. Whoever is selected will be paid by the city and considered a full voting council member. He or she will serve Westerlund's term which expires December 31, 2008.