After minutes of deliberation, it was Mayor Pro Tem Blake Inscore who stepped forward to make a motion to appoint Ray Altman as city council member, and all the council voted in favor.
Altman, a 54-year-old accountant, ran for one of the three available Crescent City Council positions last fall, but was narrowly beat out by Council Member Beau Smith, ultimately placing fourth in the election. However, a seat on the council suddenly opened up earlier this month when Alex Campbell resigned after pleading guilty to a count of election fraud that alleges he resided outside of city limits when he filed to run for the position.
A total of four applicants, including Altman, were vying for the role. They were individually interviewed by the city council via Zoom call during a special meeting Tuesday. The three other applicants were: Holly Greene, vice chair of the Crescent City Planning Commission, Michelle Radison, visitor services coordinator at the Crescent City Chamber of Commerce, and Jim Belardi.
During his interview, Altman said he would like to build on the progress that has already been made by the current council, especially with projects like the renovation of Front Street.
Altman said as a council member he would like to help bolster the small business community downtown, as well as address issues like homelessness. He also said he would like to retain more young people living in Crescent City.
“Since I’ve been here there seems to be a resistance to change or growth, and it seems to be based on fears that providing a future that retains our youth in the area would threaten our beautiful city,” said Altman. “I think we need to promote this place as a great place to stay.”
The fact that Altman ran for a seat on the council, and he received over 400 votes from residents in the November election, was considered by the council during the deliberation process. Mayor Jason Greenough said by appointing Altman, the council could set things right from the past election.
“We don’t know where those other votes would have gone if we didn’t have some fraud. I kind of agree with the statement that this is an opportunity for us to make it right and to allow the voter’s will from the last election.” said Greenough
Inscore commended the other applicants for making an effort, especially because the process was awkward for many reasons.
“I just want to tell everybody how much I appreciate you guys doing this,” Inscore said. “This is the single most awkward type of meeting I’ve ever done. It’s a strange dynamic, strange because it’s on Zoom, strange because we are trying to discuss this, and you are looking at us like, ‘well, I’m already out.’ It’s just odd.”
Inscore added he hopes all of the applicants stay engaged in the Crescent City community.
Currently, Altman serves as the chair of the Crescent City Planning Commission. His term on the city council will begin April 5 of and will end in November 2022, unless he is elected at that time.