San Jose officials debate holding a special election to fill vacant council seats

Matt Mahan, San Jose's Mayor Elect, may have just wrapped up an election, but he's already pushing for another. 

Mahan says there needs to be a special election to fill two now-vacant city council seats in Districts eight and 10.

"This is just simple common sense, the people should choose their elected officials, not the politicians," Mahan said. 

It is, however, the city council that will decide how to fill the seats. In all of the last seven vacancies, they have chosen to hold a special election, not to appoint someone. But this time is shaping up to be different.

"There's certainly an effort out there to do a two-year appointment which is something I'm dead set against," Mahan said.

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Council member David Cohen said there are compelling cases and concerns for both options.

In a statement given to KTVU, he says "we need to have these conversations with an open mind and armed with data and analysis."

At a news conference at city hall today, residents said they're concerned that anyone appointed by the city council wouldn't represent them.

"That we wouldn't get a choice," said Rich Crowley with Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility.

"How would they know what our problems are?" Arun Singh, a District 10 resident said.

Now, the city council will investigate how long it would take to prepare an election and how much it would cost.  The city clerk estimates it could be up to $11.4 million dollars for the two districts.

Mayor elect Mahan says the price of skipping this is simply too high.

"What will be the cost to taxpayers of having their voices denied," Mahan said.

A group called Let Me Vote SJ is currently circulating a petition in favor of the special election. 

The San Jose City Council will be holding a study session to explore their options on December 5th.