Elected governing bodies should reflect the communities they represent and serve.
We fully endorse that principle, and this one as well: That ideal should be achieved by a diverse cross-section of citizens running for office, being vetted through the campaign process and earning the confidence of voters.
These aren't just idle words from The Bee. For more than a dozen years, representatives from this newspaper have helped to organize and hold workshops for people to learn the basics of running for office. Plans are being put together for one or two workshops in 2013.
In Riverbank, two council members seem to think that because Virginia Madueño lost her re-election bid as mayor, they have an obligation to see that a Latino is chosen for the council vacancy, never mind voters' wishes in the same November election.
It is unfortunate that four Riverbank council members, including new Mayor Richard O'Brien, are at an impasse over this issue, because they have important business to be conducted. We urge them to get this resolved in January, without risking the possibility that the city be forced into an election. Right now, it appears to be a game of political chicken to see who will back off first.
If the four council members cannot agree on Cal Campbell, the No. 3 vote-getter in this race, then choose another candidate who finished high in this seven-person race. Six of the candidates received more than 1,000 votes each.
We believe there need to be more Latinos in elective office. And more women, especially on boards that have been dominated by white men. The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors and the Modesto Irrigation District board stand out as two examples of the old world.
But there are many women in elective office around the county and a growing number of Latinos. For instance, five of the seven people serving on the Modesto City Schools board are women.
Riverbank spent most of 2012 with effectively only four people on the council because of Jesse James White's many distractions and intermittent attendance. His term has expired, and it's time to get the council back to full strength with someone who has shown the courage and commitment to run for office.