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There was one little-known fact that trumped all others in the great Peninsula Community Planning Board conflict. It didn’t matter if Darrold Davis had attended a board meeting or not. It didn’t matter if the bylaw was ever enacted. It didn’t matter if Chairwoman Cynthia Conger was using an obscure provision to try and hold on to her seat or if she was merely doing her job.

Neither Davis nor Conger had actually won election.

In fact, neither did three others who thought they were headed for a seat on the board. That’s because the group’s bylaws require board members to receive a majority of votes — meaning more than 50 percent of all votes cast. (Voters select five candidates from the group on the ballot.)

Only Jay Shumaker, the top vote-getter, would gain admission to the planning board. Everyone else fell short of getting 50 percent. The remaining four would-be victors only would’ve advanced had it been a plurality vote — one in which the top five vote-getters advance, regardless if they get 50 percent or not.

“Mr. Davis is of course, eligible to participate in the runoff,” wrote Deputy City Attorney Alex Sachs.

Some have lobbied for the City Council to allow for an extra seat on the board so Davis and Conger could co-exist. That idea was squashed by Sachs, too.

To board member Geoff Page, the struggle was about more than just election bylaws. From his letter in the Beacon:

The opposition is obsessed with removing Cynthia Conger from the board because of her efforts, on behalf of the Peninsula, that a specific group of people see as injurious to their livelihood.

That is all they care about, making a living regardless of what that does to the community as a whole.

(A hat-tip to the Beacon, which has been covering the issue. Here’s their latest on the drama. One caveat: The story refers to Council President Scott Peters as Scott Peterson, a common yet unfortunate mistake that I’m told the council president isn’t very fond of.)

ANDREW DONOHUE

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