I have to hand it to the Measure Y Oversight Committee - some of them are perking up. Maybe they’re tired of spending hours at boring meetings and getting nothing done, being ignored, and feeling impotent. Maybe they’ve taken some of my criticism to heart. But whatever the reason, I was happy to see some of them making some excellent points and asking some really good questions tonight on the subject of the Measure Y “fix” and the $360 parcel tax.
In particular, a couple of them (Peter Barnett and Joanne Brown) expressed frustration and concern about the City’s use of the term “rigorous oversight” (for the $360 tax) and “no additional cost” (for the fix), when these terms are used in the titles of the ballot measures. One referred to the language as so inaccurate and disingenuous as to be a “fraud perpetrated on the voters.” The City Attorney’s office defended the language by claiming that it had been “considered by the City Council.” (Well, if you can find any discussion of it on the DVD, Mr. Morodomi, you just let me know, because it ain’t there!) Next, Ms. Brown asked if members of the MYOC could face potential liability for not exercising “rigorous oversight,” when everybody knew full well they didn’t have the tools to do that. Mr. Morodomi responded that if it’s not in the actual text of the measure, then there’s no obligation, and basically told her, don’t worry about it. Oh, I get it - you can put whatever lies you want into the title of a ballot measure, which may be the only thing voters actually read, and it can be as misleading and inaccurate as the City wants it to be, and has no binding effect. While this is the same argument they made with Measure Y, to hear him actually say it in this context made me nauseous. How do people like that sleep at night?
But the piece de resistance was Jeff Baker, Measure Y Administrator, informing the MYOC that they shouldn’t have allowed me more than two minutes to speak, and that people watching the meeting may have mistakenly believed that I was a City official, as opposed to “merely a member of the public.“ Mr. Baker’s comments demonstrated his clear disdain for “mere” members of the public, as well as a level of idiocy that you cannot possibly imagine without watching the tape for yourself. For those of you who have never heard me speak, there is no mistaking me for a “City representative.“ I was there haranguing the City for its dishonesty and lack of candor in the ballot proposals, decrying the previous failings of Measure Y, talking about my litigation against the City, and he thinks I come across as a City representative? It was positively laughable. Of course, his real purpose was to chastise the Committee for allowing me more than the minimum amount of time allotted - and discouraging any more of my unpleasant “public participation” in the future. And as I pointed out in rebuttal, Mr. Baker would have me barred from the meetings entirely if he could. Given that practically no member of the public ever shows up at these meetings, let alone speaks, the idea of muzzling me, particularly given my obvious interest and zeal in the subject matter, is an affront to the democratic process, and Mr. Baker should be ashamed of himself.
Chair Jose Dorado (who’s running against Desley Brooks for City Council, by the way) wanted to quickly move along to the next item. But Ms. Brown requested discussion, indicating that this was an important topic, and that several of the members were under the impression that the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss how they felt about the “fix” proposal. That Mr. Dorado had no interest in actually discussing the matter spoke volumes. Ms. Brown solicited input from the other (usually silent) members, and many of them, if not most, actually spoke! And they had opinions. And got engaged! I was actually encouraged. Some expressed frustration at the fact that the MYOC was not consulted about the “fix” proposal at all. Others noted that when the MYOC asks for information, they are frequently ignored. They acknowledged that the proposal for “rigorous oversight” was essentially a joke, given what has actually been going on. Particular credit goes to Qa’id Aqeel for actually making a motion to pass a resolution opposing the Measure Y fix. He eloquently expressed that the MYOC is “like a façade” and that the Committee needed to send a message to the City. Kudos to Michael Brown, who came up to me after the meeting to introduce himself and chat. He was obviously a very mature and bright young man. But I still don’t think high school students should be on the committee.
In the end, Mr. Morodomi quickly disposed of voting on Mr. Aqueel’s proposal, claiming it had not been properly agendized. (I thought the description was good enough to meet Brown Act requirements, but clearly, he wanted to rally his troops to squash it). So the matter should be on next month’s agenda. If you have strong feelings about the subject, I urge you to come and speak your mind.