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Not Their Finest Hour

Last night's council meeting was a tad embarrassing to watch: a mayor all puffed up and indignant because another council member called him out on the irony of his taking sides at this too-late point in the process; a council member, looking like a deer in the headlights, trying to find a way to appear to be impartial; another stuttering his way through a procedure he clearly could not understand; the mayor again forcefully gaveling his "aye" vote without bothering to count the "nay" votes.  Even watching it with the sound off, one could see, thankfully, that two members displayed appropriate dignity. Some solace.
Larry Barnett August 13, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Last night's meeting was unfortunately typical nowadays. The public gets forced to play "beat the clock" with the Mayor, the council seems disengaged from the public, no questions get asked...the whole thing feels unfriendly and perfunctory. The irony is that in a small town where most attendees and council members are on a first name basis the atmosphere is so unwelcoming and stiff. And the Mayor complains that people don't attend! Thank goodness for the initiative process; it seems like the only way to get some of our public servants' proper attention.
sal nero August 13, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Does the Mayor have a count of radio and TV viewers too? Its as you say Mr. Barnett. The feeling is clique-y and non inclusive. Besides some people don't want to risk openly opposing them for a host of reasons.
sal nero August 13, 2013 at 05:23 PM
For 3 Sonoma City Councilmen to craft this anti-initiative ballot statement is a slap in the face to voters and the election process. Have they no respect for the voters in Sonoma? Is nobody else troubled by the whole "search for a firm to do the study" process? No RFPs, no interim dialogue between the City Manager, Ms. Giovanatto and the City Council only to end up with a firm who had done business in the past with the key opponent to the initiative? It was all "trust me. It was all done on the phone ;-) even as firms were dropping out or saying a proper study couldn't be done in this manner and time frame. The optics are horrible!--------- http://news.sonomaportal.com/2013/08/13/council-sets-election-date-opposes-hotel-measure/
David Eichar August 13, 2013 at 06:24 PM
One council member, who is also the current president of the Chamber of Commerce, admitted to the City Attorney that he did indeed vote in favor of the Chamber opposing the initiative. Then he went on to say he thought he could be impartial, and thus, did not have to recuse himself from voting to put a argument against the initiative on the ballot. The right thing to do, and probably the legal thing to do, would be to either recuse himself, or abstain.
darryl ponicsan August 13, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Okay, so I'm not taking back anything I said about last night, but tonight at the farmer's market, gathering signatures to ban leaf blowers, I sat first with one and then another of the council members whose feet I held to the fire. Drank some wine and argued. Was reminded of the Buddhist teaching that everyone is seeking happiness in his own way. Told them essentially what I said here, and they took it. They're just men like me, wanting to live in a community that's good for everyone. Still don't agree with them on most things but managed to connect person to person. God, I wish we could do that without the Byzantine traps of city politics. As much as I may be frustrated with these guys, I do not want to dislike them.
bob edwards August 15, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Darryl - It's perfectly OK to Like them, stay friends with them and still vote against them when they run for re-election. They will tell you that they really like you and respect your opinion, while still making sure your have a leaf-blower in your ear because "they are only doing what they think is right." You can tell them the same thing. As the mafiosi say when they break your knees, "Hey, it's nothin' personal, its just business."
Larry Barnett August 30, 2013 at 10:11 AM
Darryl: Here's a link to the column I wrote in 2010 on the gas-leaf-blower topic...FYI. www.barnettweekly.com/?p=338

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