(As an aside, can you imagine the howls of rage that would have come from Rooster Coburn and Pitbull Poole had MaryAnn MacGillivray used such a button to silence Joe during any of his longwinded tirades earlier this year?)
This really is quite a reflection not only on Joe's opinions of the people of Sierra Madre, but also his philosophy on how to govern this City. Something that, in my opinion, shows a lack of any real understanding or appreciation for the duties of a small town Mayor.
The job of an elected official is to govern. The heart of governing is to craft and create policy, and that is something that can only come from truly listening to the residents. Public servants are required to hear what it is the community wants and, once having come to an understanding of what that is, turn those wishes into the ordinances and rules that give legal structure to the popular will.
Policy does not come from 5 people who think they know more than everybody else and can dictate whatever suits them. The Sierra Madre City Council is not a Politburo, rather it is the embodiment of the will of those they were elected to serve.
What Joe Mosca has shown so far as Mayor is a lack of any concern for what it is that people want. He seems far more interested in monitoring his 3 minute clock than he does listening to the people who made the trip to City Hall to share their opinions with him. Only to then hear the Mayor of Sierra Madre interrupt them in the middle of a thought with an impatient "you have 15 seconds."
Real governing authority can only come with an understanding of how to do the job. An example of this lack of understanding would be when Joe asks his fellow Councilmembers if they wish to "abstain" on a vote. The fact that Councilmembers are required to be decision makers aside, someone only abstains from voting by asking to be recused. And if someone has been recused they shouldn't even be in the Council Chamber. Joe has even been heard to ask if "there are any further abstentions" when there were no abstentions in the first place.
Another example of this decline in the quality of governance during Joe's early tenure as Mayor is how the "Mayor and City Council Reports" are conducted. This has always been the time when Councilmembers report on meetings they attended having relevance to the community. Or to comment on the actions of the committees they serve as liaisons if it reflects upon an agendized item. Tuesday evening we heard Nancy Walsh talk about her Rumba, Samba, and Cha Cha success at a dance contest in San Diego. But nothing about the SCAG or SGVCOG meetings where she is supposed to be representing us. Nor anything about the General Plan Committee. Just some meaningless chatter about a dance contest. Why does she believe that has relevance to the business of the City Council?
Josh Moran's report was equally sad. It seems that he believes self-deprecation will somehow absolve him from the responsibility of having to actually do or know anything about the serious business of running this community. An act that is as tired now as it was the first time we saw it some weeks back.
But enough of that.
Minute Maid's Report On Tuesday Evening's City Council Meeting Is Now Available Exclusively To Tattler Readers!
(Ed: I thought I would engage the considerable reporting talents of Minute Maid and have her present the City Council meeting report for this week. Variety can be a good thing, and certainly we can all use some new perspective from time to time. So here with her report on Tuesday evening's august City Council deliberations, allow me present to you, Minute Maid.)
Thank you, Sir Eric. And thank you Tattlers for your kind attention. Here is my report.
Public Comment: The public should be aware that the time for public comment has been changed to whenever the Mayor thinks it best serves his purposes. Comment will be limited to three minutes, at which time the microphone will be disabled. A list of commentators who run past three minutes will be maintained, and after the third offense they will be notified that they are no longer welcome at Public Comment.
Call To Order/Roll Call: Council Member/Board Members of the Community Redevelopment Agency. All Council Members present.
Pledge Of Allegiance & Invocation/Inspiration: Councilmember Nancy Walsh. CM Walsh led the Council and attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance and then inspired those present with a vignette of her childhood. Which is presumably what she remembers best.
Approval Of Agenda: Mayor Mosca made two changes to the Agenda moving Item 3 to July 27th and item 10 to July 13th. Council voted to approve the Agenda as amended.
Approval of Minutes: Council unanimously approved the minutes from the regular City Council meeting of June 8, 2010, which of course they all had read. Even those who can't.
Mayor And City Council Reports: Nancy Walsh went dancing blah blah blah. Josh Moran did nothing but he's still a baby blah blah blah blah. The one piece of good news here came from MaryAnn MacGillivray who reported on the demise of the Farmers' Market. Long live Taylor's!
Public Comment: Heather Allen took to the podium to encourage residents to attend the General Plan Study Session of Thursday, June 24th. Even though the General Plan Committee would not be allowed to participate as a Committee, but only at Public Comment where they will be limited to three minutes each. The Mayor announced that the meeting will be televised should people opt to observe from home. You could sense that he hoped most would. Linus Pakulsky urged the Council to postpone the decision on the proposed water rate increase to allow rate payers more time to understand the need to increase water rates. He also mentioned that he had tried to follow up with a city employee regarding cell phone service, as he had been instructed to do at his last appearance at Public Comment, but was unsuccessful in getting his questions answered. The indifferent City employee told him to call AT&T, which he didn't find helpful. The City Manager and the Mayor both offered to address his questions away from Public Comment.
Presentation: Marilyn Diaz introduced a new Sierra Madre Police Sergeant, who was accompanied by a retinue of family and friends. The Chief praised the new Sergeant, and we can hope that he has what it takes to not shoot anybody during his probationary period. Or if he does, then at least not in the back while they are sleeping.
1. a) Adoption Of Resolution No. 10-48 Of The City Council Of Sierra Madre Approving Certain Demands: The Council voted to pay a significant portion of the City's treasure for a whole bunch of bills that had already been paid, none of which were explained in detail. Mosca and Buchanan abstained on two items because we pay their employers.
1.b) Authorization Of Payment On Behalf Of The CRA: Let's see, the CRA, which we control, owns City Hall and a bunch of other buildings. So here we paid ourselves to use them. $4,320 shot to hell.
1.c) Resolution No. 10-01 Establishing One Hour Parking Restrictions On A Portion Of The Canyon Parking Lot: Those in the know realize this was an attempt on the part of CM Moran to placate the owners of Mary's Market who have stated that they will be run out of business by the residents who store vehicles in the parking lot if they can't have dedicated parking spaces. CM MacGillivray noted that three one hour parking spaces hardly seem enough and generously recommended five two hour parking spaces. Cautiously noting, however, that none of it mattered if there were no enforcement by the City's Finest. The City Manager indicated that the time limits would only be enforced if someone called the SMPD and complained. The only entity to whom the five two hour spaces matter is the market, so if you get ticketed for over-the-limit parking, remember Carolyn Dapper called the cops. The Council unanimously approved the most generous parking changes.
1.d) Cancellation Of The 2nd Regular City Council Meeting For The Month Of August 2010: This was unanimously passed by the Council as they twittered tweets to their spouses about booking a Cancun vacation.
2. Public Hearing Ordinance No. 1311-Municipal Code Text Amendment (MCTA): City Building Official Richard "Topper" Temple briefed the Council on the meaning of Red, Yellow, and Green documents posted on buildings in a time of disaster. CM Walsh jumped right in here on this one claiming she could get behind primary colors. City Attorney Levin reminded the Council that before they could vote the Ordinance must actually be read; then it was unanimously voted upon as a "good thing."
3. Public Hearing - Public Facilities Fees Rate Adjustment - Public Hearing Postponement: The Mayor announced that this item was to be continued until July 27th, 2010.
4. Discussion - Consideration Of Appointments To The Green Advisory Committee: Briefly, four applicants were approved for the newly consecrated Green Committee: Kim Klymer-Kelly, Paul Alba, Cole Something-Other, and Lisa Matheson. It should be noted that Ms. Matheson is not a resident of Sierra Madre. CM MacGillivray pointed this out, but it didn't seem to faze the Mayor. Another member will be added if and when anyone else shows the least bit of interest.
5. Discussion - Reappointment Of Applicants To The Vacant Commissioners' Seats: Six commission vacancies are eligible for reappointment; only three commissioners indicated the remotest interest in being reappointed. The Mayor dithered about trying to make much of thanking the volunteers who have served as commissioners - which is as it should be - and then finally appointed the three returning commissioners. I think the Council was investigating the creation of a new Commission to analyze why residents are so reluctant to serve on Commissions and Committees, but no one was interested. There is also the theory that many eschew such honors because they fear getting slobbered on by the Publisher of the Looney Views News.
6. Discussion - First Reading Of Ordinance No. 1310 Amending Chapter 2.34 Of The Sierra Madre Municipal Code Regulating The Community Arts Commission Composition And Powers And Duties: The Mayor announced that this item was to be continued until July 13th, 2010. It is thought that the inability of the current Community Arts Commission to tell their backsides from art has handicapped the Commission in recruiting new members to their ranks. Perhaps if they served more wine that would change.
7. Discussion Of An Absurd Amount Of Resolutions On Money Issues: Section Two of Fund Accounting 101 as presented by Karen Schnaider. Director Schnaider is a most competent and knowledgeable financial guru and the City is lucky to have found someone as able as she. It is still smoke and mirrors in the manipulation of funds. Which employee spends FY 2010-2011 in what fund often being what it takes to finance SMFD donut runs to Pasadena while still staying out of the red.
Also 7. The FY 2010-2011 GANN Appropriation Limits: Chief Diaz, fueled by an insatiable need to get her hands on as much of our budget surplus as humanly possible, was granted the first of three wishes in that she will be able to hire additional lieutenants, cadets, and some other part time personnel to provide the quality of service Sierra Madre expects. Yes, it will cost a bunch but not as much as paying overtime to existing PD personnel. So my guess is that the City can expect another whopper of a lawsuit from the Police Officers Union because OT was curtailed. The Council unanimously approved something - but they lost track of the pea under the walnut. With the exception of CM MacGillivray who brought up the fact that even though the budget was balanced this FY, in coming years there is no way the level of funding for Fire-Life-Safety expenditures can be maintained. Of course by that time Mosca will have become State Stop Sign Director in Sacramento, Buchanan will have timed out, and the Bobbleheads will have tipped over.
8. Discussion - Proposition 218 Process And Proposed Water Rate Increase: Allow me to refer you to Sir Eric Maundry's incisive report from yesterday.
9. Discussion - Approval Of Phase 2 Of FY 2009-2010 Street Resurfacing Project: Yes indeed, Director Inman did a great job during Phase 1 of the FY 2009-2010 Street Resurfacing Project. So good in fact that his cautious and frugal approach to further resurfacing projects should be scrapped. This according to the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem. We should also immediately go for the $7 million estimated grand slam approach to take advantage of the great deals available because contractors are hungry. Well, let's see, how will we pay for it? I know, we'll do it like Sacramento and rush through some bonds. It certainly has paid off for them, right?
10. Discussion - Award Of Contract For Video Production And Cable Services: Did anyone catch the fact that the City Manager wants to hold SMTV3's cables to the fire and cause them to divulge their rebroadcast scheme as part of contract negotiations? Well, that's essentially what she said, which makes me think the contract that's currently under discussion may not have been much more than Sierra Madre giving them a sack of cash for lousy service. Maybe they're somebody's relative or something. Anyway, further discussion has been rescheduled to another Agenda in order to have more to report.
Adjournment: Despite limiting public comments to three minutes, this meeting ran very late. Maybe they need to rewire the secret button to include both the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem's mics? With various members of the attending public getting the opportunity to push it when the winds start to howl? I'd certainly like to take a crack at it.