So last week’s Council meeting was quite a doozy. First, Desley Brooks made a great argument about why the Council shouldn’t even consider the Resolution on how to allocate the Measure I funds, because it was illegal “electioneering.” It was so great, in part because it practically mirrored the arguments outlined in my earlier letter. Then she asked the City Attorney on the dais (didn’t recognize her) for a legal opinion on whether it was legal to consider the resolution, given the obvious use of City resources, the timing of the resolution (the week ballots were being mailed out) and the famous California Supreme Court case of Stanson v. Mott. The City Attorney admitted she was “unfamiliar” with that case, which totally floored me, because anybody representing public entities should know that case, but whatever. Not too impressive. In the end, they ended up passing on the matter so that the City Attorney could scramble around and do some last minute legal research.
In the interim, we were treated to the most blatant violation of the Brown Act I had ever witnessed. The dispute revolved around who was going to get appointed to the Port Commission: somebody named Margaret Gordon, or somebody named Jakada Imani. To be honest, I know next to nothing about both of them. But the Imani guy brought over 60 speakers, which I guess the Council didn’t want to listen to because they had already made up their minds. Which, of course, really defeats the whole point of public comment, doesn’t it? It was so completely obvious that they had already discussed the matter behind the scenes, in complete violation of the Brown Act, and decided the Imani guy had it in the bag, and that’s what Larry Reid said, telling everybody they could save themselves the trouble. So they all yelled and screamed with glee and then left, leaving us and the Gordon supporters just standing there with mouths agape. (Since then, I have heard the City admitted they blew it and now they have to do the vote over, but it really exposed the whole council meeting thing as totally farcical).
So then the Resolution came back for discussion, and everybody used their minutes to basically advocate for their position on the actual Measure (totally illegal), including Quan, who basically launched into a total commercial for the damn thing until Desley finally shut her up. But a few points were scored. Desley and Ignacio made it clear that it was absurd to be considering a resolution allocating funds the City had not received, and was not likely to receive, not to mention illegal electioneering. Even Jane Brunner said it didn’t pass the “smell test” and voted against it. Pat Kernighan admitted that it would be a “miracle” if the parcel tax passed, and both she and Libby Schaaf admitted over and over that the Resolution is not binding.
So there you have it, folks, a non-binding Resolution to allocate funds that the City almost certainly will never see. All staged, pretty much like a commercial, in violation of the law and common sense. Now get and vote NO on Measure I.