The Visalia City Council is expected to name a replacement for Vice Mayor Phil Cox’s District 1 (central) seat on August 12, said Mayor Steve Nelsen. Included in the list of candidates is former judge Howard Broadman who acted improperly in a 1996 real estate case, said the state Commission on Judicial Performance.
Cox died earlier this year and the remaining council members teamed up in pairs August 4 to interview 12 candidates.
The finalists to be interviewed again August 12 at 3:30 are: Elizabeth Wynn, Frank Ruiz, Broadman, Steve Woods, Loren Farris and Nathan Halls.
The appointed successor will not serve the balance of the term left by Vice Mayor Cox’s passing, but rather serve until the next regular municipal election in November of 2022, at which time someone will be elected for the final two years of the term.
“At the end of the day (council members are) making decisions, (show) good listening skills and (demonstrate) knowledge,” said Council Member Greg Collins (District 4).
He said Broadman’s controversies while he was a municipal and superior court judge were not an issue.
Among his rulings he ordered a child abuser to have a birth control device surgically implanted and an ex-mental patient who opposed birth control took a shot at him when he was on the bench, according to an April 29, 1991 Los Angeles Times article.
Nonetheless, Collins defended Broadman. He has the ability to study issues, listen to people and make decisions.
Broadman said he has been acting as a mediator for the last 20 years without controversy. He was granted disability and retired from the bench at age 49.
Nelsen thought the candidates were well prepared and had communicated with the council and staff.
A key point for him was that the candidates take a city-wide view of issues and not just look at things in terms of their districts.
Sarris impressed him, Nelsen said, because when he didn’t know the answer to a question, he said he would have to study the issue.
Two important things about serving on the council, Nelsen said, are it’s a huge time commitment and council members are open books.
The experience of the candidates is as follows: Wynn is a former planning commissioner and is director of the Kaweah Delta Hospital District Foundation, Ruiz is an attorney in Hanford with local government experience, Woods is a technical specialist with the Tulare County Office of Education and on the Visalia Parks and Recreation Commission, Farris is a music teacher and Sequoia Symphony Board Member and Halls is a board member of the Visalia Rescued Mission.