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Speedy Anti-War Resolution Sabotaged at Council

City Council "did a Sam Farr" on the community again by ducking an immediate vote on an anti-war resolution at a key moment in history, just as Mayor Reilly canceled a key Town Hall meeting on Iraq March 19th, two days before the war started. Never ask her to offend a fellow politician. This time it would have ruffled Scott Kennedy's feathers.
On April 8th, City Council delayed for two weeks a vote on an "out now!" anti-war resolution. It did this after Mayor Reilly had postponed a scheduled March 19 Town Hall meeting.
Reilly claimed that a necessary "notice of continuance for 24 hours" had not been filed, so the Brown Act denied them the right to act.

Not so, since the urgency resolution process would have allowed them to pass an ordinance (and so presumably an ordinance) with an "emergency" finding.

Council's delay on this issue was a bad idea and had questionable legal basis. It seemed to me ultimately a political decision to please Councilmember Kennedy.

Councilmember Porter (and to a lesser extent Mayor Reilly) to their credit, were trying to push for a quick resolution on April 7th, the night of the Town Hall meeting.

Kennedy effectively blocked this, saying he wanted it to be unanimous with the entire Council there (Rotkin, Matthews, and Primack were absent). He wanted to push the resolution off for two weeks (to present his own more comprehensive resolution, it seems). He kept resisting the idea of a vote the next day at the regular City Council meeting, saying there wouldn't be enough time for the other Council member to see the tape. Finally Porter, Reilly, and Fitzmaurice voted to continue the matter until the next day.

On Tuesday April 8th, Reilly unilaterally announced that they wouldn't be discussing the resolution, though it was on the agenda. The Council then proceeded to spend 45 minutes talking about how and when to talk about it.

Porter continued to urge it be done in two days. Kennedy, going out of town for 10 days and with his own modified resolution in hand, wanted it postponed for two weeks. Reilly suggested they pass both resolutions--since time was an important consideration.

Rotkin's major concern was that there be no new public input (of course). He pressed this point repeatedly--in line with his usual desire to give maximum public time to endless Council verbiage but shut down the public as soon as possible.

In so doing, he interrupted pro-Bush speaker and City Council candidate David Essalius, who was asking that there be full information afforded the community well before the session, so there could be meaningful discussion and a clear understanding of what was happening.

Rotkin's successful move, however, was to eliminate any public comment at a future Council session, even though very little of the public discussion on April 7th at the town Hall meeting concerned the Porter resolution (and none of it dealt with the Kennedy resolution)

Reilly swung over the "wait two weeks" side since it seemed that a special Council meeting in two days would only have 4 members--a quorum, but not enough for Kennedy's "unanimous consensus".

As with her postponing the Town Hall meeting from March 19th to April 7th--when she could muster less than 150 people there--this was another "death by delay" decision.

Moreover, it seemed to have been unnecessary and orchestrated behind the scenes.

Activist Becky Johnson pointed out that an emergency or "urgency" action can be taken with an urgency finding and a vote of 5 members of the Council without any prior agenda-izing. On Tuesday April 8, there were 7 Councilmembers there, 6 of whom presumably supported a strong resolution.

I called Reilly, Porter, and City Attorney John Barisone but received no response to my inquiry as to whether my legal reading of the situation was correct--that is, whether they could have used this urgency process.

I suggest that Kennedy's desire for unanimity or for his own resolution and Reilly's desire to "go along" has resulted (again) in no action being taken on a matter of critical importance to many of us.

Porter also rolled over for this "death by delay" approach. As with alternate sites for Camp Paradise, meaningful modification of the Sleeping Ban, the Downtown Ordinances rush to ratify police selective enforcement, the killing of the Citizens Police Review Board, and the most recent "homeless begone" city-wide permit parking--Porter comes out with fine-sounding rhetoric but votes for repressive laws and procedures that exclude the public or limit its input.

REILLY CAN STILL SCHEDULE A SPECIAL MEETING AND PASS AN ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION IMMEDIATELY. OF COURSE, THIS MIGHT OFFEND SCOTT KENNEDY. CALL HER AT 420-5022 AND LET HER KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. CALL PORTER AT 420-5024 AND LET HIM KNOW LIKEWISE.
 
 


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