Despite the City’s rhetoric that Measure BB only makes minor, technical changes to the language of Measure Y, it now appears that the measure may do more than gut the police staffing requirements; it also appears to eliminate the requirement that all 25 fire stations stay open.
That’s right. There is a change that was slipped into Measure BB that the City Council failed to discuss at either open session council meeting, and which they may not even have been aware of. The voters certainly won’t be aware of it, because it is not highlighted with underlining or strike-out, as all changes to Measure Y must be in the new measure. The result? Major confusion.
How did this happen? I’ll tell you how it happened. My first lawsuit highlighted the fact that Measure Y did not clarify which fund was supposed to pay for the recruitment and training of new police officers. My second lawsuit highlights the fact that despite the clear requirements of Measure Y, the City never “expanded” paramedic services, and never established mentorship programs at each fire station. So in the original draft of the “Measure Y fix,” language was included to address both of these issues. Neither language change was discussed at either council meeting - neither the meeting on July 22, nor the meeting on July 26. Instead, at the end of the July 22 meeting, when everybody was probably exhausted, Jane Brunner implied that something less than a quorum should meet to discuss the matter further (to avoid those pesky Brown Act requirements) and that the language changes should be kept to a minimum, in fear that voters would think something shady was afoot and not approve the measure.
Mysteriously, a new version of the “fix” was drafted on July 23. This version eliminated the two changes discussed above, except….it didn’t. Somehow, the language eliminating 25 fire station requirement remained, except without the required highlighting. (All changes to the language must be highlighted with underscoring or strike-through). At the July 26 meeting, the Council failed to discuss any of these new changes. In fact, I don’t even think they allowed public comment on the new version of the document. With virtually no discussion whatsoever, the “fix” was unanimously approved for placement on the ballot. To be honest, I actually thought the changes regarding police academy training and the fire department were still in the “fix,” until I got my voter information pamphlet over the weekend, and realized they weren’t in there. So then I watched the videos of the July 22 and July 26 meetings to figure out what happened, and realized those changes were eliminated, without any discussion! Except that the one change actually slipped through, without any notice!
So now, in the City Attorney’s “impartial analysis,” we are told that there is a specific change to Measure Y in terms of only requiring “up to” 25 fire houses, as opposed to actually requiring maintenance of all 25 fire houses. But a few sentences down, we’re told that all the changes are supposed to be indicated in underscoring or strike-through. Only problem is, the “up to” language regarding the firehouses isn’t highlighted in the required manner. The result: total confusion as to whether Measure BB actually makes a very significant change in the requirement that the City be guaranteed that all 25 fire stations remain open!
I have written to City officials to advise them of the problem, and will keep you posted.