1) the symmetry of Compton on the right and now Brenda on the left being shut out of desirable committee appointments isn't meaningless. I mean, Mayor Dave is positioning himself as a centrist in order to accomplish whatever it is he wants to accomplish, and is making centrist picks. A lot of other things may play into it (though I don't buy the sexist argument) but you could easily write the whole thing off to political considerations. The knowledgeability and hard work Brenda brings to the table evidently weren't enough to outweigh the politics, and that's a perfectly valid basis for making an appointment.
Another explanation might lie along these lines: given a choice, most people don't want to work with someone who is publicly saying things to make them look bad. I am not sure where the fine line between bare-bones honesty and tact should be drawn, but one could argue it has been crossed more than once here.
2) Being in Palm's district, here's my take on why he won: he did doors. He doggedly, persistently, unendingly did doors. He stopped by my house at least five times before he found me at home, leaving little handwritten notes and enough literature to fill a shoebox. I wanted to get his take, so when I finally got the chance I interviewed him at length and he presented himself well enough, really, to convince the average person to vote for him. (Didn't help that he had the ever-natty Zach Brandon along to hold his hand the whole time, which I found baffling.)
In contrast, I got ONE leaflet from his opponent and I never had a chance to talk with her at all. It was a non-campaign. I voted for her anyway but it wasn't because she did vigorous, effective outreach. I was really disappointed -- that was one seat that should have turned over and it failed to.
Doing doors really makes a difference. When I consider most of the people I've gotten to know in this neighborhood, I think Vicki would have been a better fit and a welcome change, but she didn't put in enough face time. Maybe next election -- I'd like to see her win office.