Weekend Open Thread: ‘We are Never Ever Ever Vetting THAT Together’


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

All right, class, I hope that you all have already watched this video showing part of a discussion between Mayor Tom Tait and Charlie Black, working “for the City” on negotiations with Arte Moreno, because it will be on Monday’s midterm exam.  Meanwhile, here’s another chance to view it:

As we usually do at this point in class, let’s all turn to our video of the Anaheim City Council meeting, this time at timestamp 5:16:21.  You’ll see it in this clip of the normally sleepy agenda item, “Council Communications.”

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Our reading, meanwhile, begins on this page (note that in the future, you’ll have to look directly at the link for the agenda of Sept. 30, to which I’ll try to remember to update this link):

ANAHEIM CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA
SPECIAL MEETING – SEPTEMBER 30, 2013
8:00 A.M.

Call to order the special meeting of the Anaheim City Council.

ADDITIONS/DELETIONS TO AGENDA:
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA:

[SSION ITEMSEXISTING LITIGATION]

1. Discussion and action:
RESOLUTION NO. _ A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL
OF THE CITY OF ANAHEIM amending City Council Policy 1.6 of the City
Council Policy Manual relating to the manner in which members of the City
Council may place matters on the agenda of a regular City Council meeting.

Looks like several of us are coming to the Breakfast Club.  Don’t you — forget about me!

(Note: that section printed in olive up there appears in the cut and paste but does not appear on the agenda itself.  So if they tried to go into a closed session item for existing litigation, that would be a problem.  Just an error, or do they hide stuff in the agenda all of the time?  I doubt it, but — why is this in the copy & paste?)

Anyway, aside from the usual, there will be three interesting questions to ask of Jordan Brandman:

1. When did he come up with the idea to hold a special meeting to take away the Mayor’s agenda powers?

2. Was it his idea alone or did someone suggest it to him?  If so, who?

3. Who wrote that little statement of his starting at 5:16:21?

Why don’t I think that Jordan wrote the statement himself?  Well, let’s look at the transcript:

COUNCILMEMBER JORDAN BRANDMAN:  In closing, I have a matter for Council consideration.

Our City Council policy relating to the Mayor in which members of the Council may place matters on the City Council meeting agenda, the regular meeting agendas, was last amended and restated on April 17, 2012.  At that time, Resolution #2012-031 was approved and adopted by the City Council establishing Council Policy 1.6.  I request consideration of Council Policy 1.6, uhh, Section 1 to be amended and revised to read as follows:

Any member of the City Council may, during the Council Communications portion of a City Council meeting, request that an item be placed on a future City Council agenda.  Period.  So long as there is assent or concurrence by at least one additional member of the Council the item will be agendized.  End of section.

This revision ensures the principle of equal governance and affords all members of the legislative body equal authority as it pertains to the agenda-setting process, in compliance with Government Code Section 54950 and Section 504 of the Anaheim City Charter.  And state law, uh, as a whole.  I respectfully request this matter be agendized for a special City Council meeting within the next five business days as per the Charter.  Thank you very much.

CITY CLERK LINDA ANDAL: If I may, Mr. Mayor, per the Charter a special meeting is required by three members of the Council or by the Mayor, so if three members of this Council agrees to that special meeting we can schedule that.

MAYOR TOM TAIT:  Uhh – a special meeting to change the rules on who can put something on the agenda?  Is that an emergency?

BRANDMAN:  That is my request.

TAIT: Is that something that can’t wait until the next Council meeting? … [long pause]  Councilman Brandman?

BRANDMAN:  I’ve made my request.

TAIT: So it’s like an “emergency” Council Meeting? … [pause] Are you there?

BRANDMAN: Wouldn’t call it an “emergency,” I’d call it a “request.”  [after a pause]  If I have the assent of two other members of the Council, then the meeting shall be called.  Is there assent from two other Council members?

TAIT: I don’t know if you have the power to call an emergency Council meeting …

BRANDMAN: Yes I do.

TAIT: Let’s ask our City Attorney.

HOUSTON: The Brown Act and the City Charter’s Special Meeting provision which essentially replicates that permits the calling of a special meeting by the majority of a governing body without need to agendize that.  That is a power under the Brown Act that is expressly permitted.

TAIT:  So …?

HOUSTON: So, in simple terms, if tonight three members of the Council wanted to call a special meeting, the Brown Act permits that to occur without having to agendize that for separate discussion.

TAIT:  OK.  It’s – it’s, uh … I would certainly say it’s “unique”….  When would you like that meeting?

BRANDMAN: In the next five business days to be coordinated with the City Manager’s office, City Attorney’s office, and City Clerk’s office.  I’m sure they will get available dates from us in the morning.

TAIT [to HOUSTON]: Is it proper to do it that way, without a date specific?

HOUSTON: That is permitted and in fact it is advisable for the City Clerk to contact people to find their availability and then send a notice based on your direction tonight.

TAIT:  Well, it’s highly unusual – but we’ll talk about that at the Special Meeting.

 

Jordan Brandman puzzles through his own proposal

Jordan Brandman, aka Taylor Not-Too-Swift, puzzles through his own proposal to ensure that Mayor Tom Tait can never never ever make the Council debate in public (or ask staff any questions at all) about the Anaheim Stadium negotiations OR ANYTHING ELSE unless one of the four from the Pringle Ring agree to it.

My belief that Jordan Brandman did not write the section in red himself is in part based on the fact that, at least at the time of this point in the Council Meeting, it did not appear on Wikipedia.

OK, more seriously: this is not how he writes and I seriously doubt that he is capable of this sort of legislative drafting or confident enough to put it forward in public.  (I’d love to see him claim sole authorship under oath, though.)  So — who drafted it — and was it drafted at Brandman’s request or was it handed to him? … … Councilman Brandman?  Are you there?

One other question (which Tait already asked a few times): why a special meeting?  That part is easy: without a special meeting this week, Mayor Tait could agendize for October 8 yet another attempt to instruct the negotiators before they “open “up discussions with Arte Moreno’s team – and perhaps explore whether there are any other fatal flaws in their economic analysis — but now under this proposed rule he couldn’t do it without permission from one of the four other members of the Council who are “in the bag” and part of the Pringle Ring.  Whoever wrote that statutory revision for Jordan wanted to make sure — even before the fatal flaw came to public attention — that Tait wouldn’t have that opportunity.  If there’s some sort of crime of self-dealing here, the above video shows an important part of the coverup.

Jordan Brandman’s friends: if you understand how potentially bad this looks, please explain it to the Padawan while there’s still time!

This is your Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that or anything else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of decorum and discretion.  There may be a Dearthwatch this week, so keep refreshing this page maniacally.  (Actually you don’t have to; if I do one, I’ll post a comment.)


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.