Mission Viejo’s experimental council meetings via e-mail

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MV council

MV council

There’s a new sheriff in town and he is surely providing material for future Juice posts.
Mission Viejo’s selected mayor Dave Leckness unveiled a new concept for access to our city council during our Feb 7th council meeting. Before providing info on his experiment let me take you back to a recent meeting where he voted against the right of the public to pull items from the routine consent calendar without first getting a council member’s support.
During his Feb. 7th opening remarks Dave admitted that will have a “perfection free zone tonight” and he wasn’t kidding.
Dave’s new idea is that anyone can electronically submit questions to the council via e-mail during the meetings. Parked next to the city clerk is a printer. The only stipulation is that the email be received prior to the Agenda item being called.
All questions during the meeting should be directed to councilcomments@cityofmissionviejo.org
When questioned by council member Schlicht as to appropriate parameters, such as identifying oneself just as we are requested to do on speaker cards, the city attorney responded that while we certainly prefer using your correct name for the administrative record, providing your ID is an option. If you wish to use your “handle” such as “Barkey, Barkey,” that is totally acceptable according to RW&G city attorney Bill Curley. Paraphrased.
The city clerk said adding your name and city are optional yet this is the first time I have heard that remark.
There are several issues such as dragging out the meeting which was one of the objections to our being able to show up in person and pull routine consent calendar items.
Without identifying yourself the discussion can be hijacked to promote a special interest.
In my discussion with Member Schlicht today she called this idea “ludicrous” and is not sure if the mayor can arbitrarily institute this experiment. She asks if these emails become part of the public record. If so she raises the question about all emails sent to council members regarding agendized items also become part of the public record. Another point raised by Cathy is the potential for abuse and manipulation to “game” the system.
Notice Mayor Leckness’s invitation was to contact him on all items on the Agenda which would also include those very same “routine consent calendar” items. Agenda Item #27 of the Jan 3rd meeting was a request by new council member Rhonda Reardon to allow members of the public to pull routine consent calendar items without th eneed to find a sponsor on the council. Dave cast the deciding vote to block Rhonda’s request where in his comments he said he had a “half dozen reasons not to support it.”So the earlier position was that to improve efficiency and not elongate meetings he now promotes expanding the meeting to allow my dog Reggie to send an email from anywhere in the world to ask about the pending dog park.
Sometimes we can get in trouble by practicing “ready, fire, aim.”


About Larry Gilbert