I find it interesting that of the three people the Chron cites as leaving elected office prior to the end of their term to become a lobbyist, none of them did so anywhere near the start of those terms as Robert Eckels has. Both Supreme Court justices left two or more years into their terms, and Rep. Gerard Torres dropped out after winning the Democratic primary, which left his seat empty (during a non-legislative session year) until a November special election. In other words, there's really not an analogous case here.
I'll say again, the issue is not that Eckels chose to leave, it's that he did so in a manner that just about maximizes the anti-democratic effect of his departure. He could have resigned - or hell, just announced that he was dropping out of the race and finished the remainder of his term as a lame duck - prior to late August of last year so that an election to replace him could have taken place immediately. Instead, we get nearly two full years of an appointed successor who will then get to run for "re-election" whose selection committee includes Eckels himself. There's nothing about this that indicates the slightest concern for the process, and that's just obnoxious.
On a side note, it's interesting to see that Jared Woodfill's temper tantrum and the registration of EdEmmett.com (which one presumes is not for the purpose of starting a blog) occurred more or less simultaneously. Way to throw your weight around, Jared!Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 05, 2007 to Local politics