By Doug Porter
It’s business as usual in San Diego. Amid concerns that last week’s city council election of Sheri Lightner as president, may have followed meetings in violation of the Brown Act, a special meeting has been called today to affirm the decision.
NBC7 reported last week on what might be “serial meetings,” one-on-one private sessions involving six council members. The TV station passed on the findings to the City Attorney’s office.
Since that decision Councilwoman Lightner has been acting as president. I believe her election was orchestrated by local business interests as retaliation for Councilman Todd Gloria aggressive support of a local minimum wage ordinance.
After early-agenda formalities in the 12th floor council chamber at City Hall Monday, Lightner made the following announcement:
“There have been concerns raised about potential Brown Act violations among councilmembers who may have discussed the council president vote in advance of the hearing last Wednesday. In an abundance of caution, I am calling a special meeting for tomorrow, December 16th at 5:30 p.m. to request a revote on the selection of the council president for 2015.”
The city attorney’s office tells NBC 7 that a revote will “cure” whatever violations may have occurred, no further fact-finding needed.
A UT-San Diego interview last week adds to my suspicions about the what’s behind deal to install Lightner:
Sherri Lightner, who replaced Todd Gloria as San Diego City Council President last week, says the council will focus more on economic development and achieving manageable goals under her leadership.
“It shouldn’t be about symbolic actions,” said Lightner, a Democrat who joined with the nine-member council’s four Republicans to make the switch possible. “The city has enough real needs that we’ve got to get stuff done….”
…Under Gloria the last two years, the council tackled some ambitious items, including climate change, raising the minimum wage and a controversial plan to hike affordable housing fees paid by developers. The first is still being analyzed and the other two were stymied by referendum challenges.
An editorial in this week’s City Beat adds fuel to the fire:
Two days after the vote making Lightner the council president, she told U-T San Diego that she didn’t lobby for votes, thereby confirming that the position was offered to her by the Republicans. We know from talking to sources inside City Hall that at least two council Republicans were iffy on Lightner and high on Gloria, strongly suggesting that the impetus didn’t originate with the four elected council Republicans. It’d be a safe bet that it was some combination of Faulconer, Republican political consultant Jason Roe, City Councilmember Scott Sherman and possibly an outside conservative group like the Lincoln Club.
We’re told that the council members who were on the fence were finally convinced to go with Lightner a day or two before the vote. The deal was done. The only open questions were: Would the council Democrats abandon the sinking U.S.S. Gloria? Would Gloria himself, having been beaten, vote for Lightner in a display of unanimity and togetherness.
That day was fascinating to watch. Dozens of citizens spoke passionately and (for the most part) eloquently; all wanted Gloria to remain president. Not a single speaker favored Lightner. Democrat David Alvarez nominated Gloria, and his nomination failed, as expected, but all of the Democrats, except Lightner, voted for Gloria. Then, Democrat Marti Emerald nominated Lightner. That vote ended 7-2, with Emerald and fellow Democrat Myrtle Cole joining Lightner and the Republicans in the winner’s circle. Alvarez and Gloria cast defiant votes against Lightner. (We surely do like that Alvarez guy!) For her part, Lightner never said a word about her desire to lead—not to the media in the run-up to the vote (she refused to return phone calls) and not at the council meeting before or after the vote.
Yup. We’ve got the best government money can buy. And we won’t have to worry about any more of those “symbolic” working and poor folks actually being heard.
Symbolic People Protest at City Council
Carrying signs saying “Does the City Council value black lives?” and “Shirley Owen: The Voice of White Privilege,” two dozen protesters marched from City College to yesterday’s council meeting demanding the dismissal of Lori Zapf’s “community representative” for comments made last week.
From UT-San Diego:
Zapf suspended community representative Shirley Owen on Friday for two weeks without pay for calling a similar group of protesters “idiots” and saying she wanted to “shoot them” during Wednesday’s city inauguration ceremony at Golden Hall.
At that event, the protesters were expressing frustration with a grand jury choosing not to indict the white police officer who fatally shot a young black man last summer in Ferguson, Mo….
…“Her comment shows the institutional racism we are dealing with,” said Mark Jones, a leader of the protests.
Additionally, council members commended Jones and fellow protesters for their respectful conduct during their demonstration at the inauguration. But after Jones spoke, comments from other speakers deteriorated. At least two used profanity and were escorted out of the council chambers at the request of Council President Sherri Lightner.
Nothing to see here, folks, move along.
A Symbolic Bid for baseball’s All Star Game
The city council did manage to authorize a $1.5 million waiver for services should the Padres–already submitted– bid for the 2016 All-Star game materialize.
From Fox5 News:
The Padres, who haven’t hosted an All-Star game since 1992, are believed within baseball circles to be in line to host the event soon. However, their bid for the 2016 edition would have to overcome both tradition and competition.
All-Star hosts normally alternate each year between the American and National leagues. Cincinnati, an NL franchise like the Padres, is set to be the host next year. [eds note: 2015]
Making matters worse, the Baltimore Orioles of the American League are making a push to hold the 2016 game because it comes on the 25th anniversary of their stadium — the well-regarded Camden Yards.
Oh, well. If it doesn’t work out they can always blame it on Councilman Todd Gloria.
Chargers’ Plan to Bolt in Jeopardy
After enduring a week of not-so-subtle fearmongering about the San Diego Chargers leaving town (may even -gasp!-in the middle of night!) the NFL has dashed those expectations.
After reading sportswriter Kevin Acee’s column in last week’s Daily Fishwrap, I’m almost certain Chargers fans everywhere were quivering in their boots:
L.A. is in play.
Couple that looming inevitability with a San Diego political and business landscape that remains rife with dissent and bogged down by indecision, and it is believable when those close to Spanos say that given the right (or wrong) series of events, he could decide to file relocation papers with the NFL in the next two months.
Even if a move to L.A. by any team in 2015 is being painted as unlikely to happen by virtually everyone in and around the situation, the signs do overwhelmingly point to there being some sort of monumental shift in 2015.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports:
…Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that while the league continued to look for a site for a new stadium to host a team, no resolution was in sight.
“I’m not at the point where I would tell you that anything is imminent or that we have a solution identified at this point in time,” Goodell said Wednesday after team owners met in Irving, Tex. “There is progress, but we’ve all heard that before.”
Discussions with league officials and owners on the sidelines of the meeting confirmed that the prospect of an N.F.L. team’s playing in 2015 in Los Angeles — which has not had a team for two decades — was increasingly unlikely.
Local sportswriters are advised to pick up their checks at the Chargers’ office by 5pm Wednesday.
File This One Under “White Privilege”
— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) December 16, 2014
Happy Birthday, Beethoven!
There’s even a documentary coming out. From writer extraordinaire Greg Mitchell’s blog:
One of the highlights of Kerry Candaele’s new doc (I am co-producer) about the influence of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony here and around the world is Billy Bragg’s performance of his version of the “Ode to Joy” with his own lyrics, and his commentary on playing it–for the Queen. The film premieres in NYC next week, read all about it and watch trailer right here. For now here’s the audio of Billy singing it:
On This Day: 1907 – Eugenia H. Farrar became the first singer to broadcast on radio. She sang from the USS Dolphin docked at Brooklyn Navy Yard. 1977– Eight female bank tellers in Willmar, Minn., began the first strike against a bank in U.S. history. At issue: they were paid little more than half what male tellers were paid. The strike ended in moral victory but economic defeat two years later. 1995 – Many government functions were (again) closed as a temporary finance provision expired and the budget dispute between President Clinton and Republicans in Congress continued.
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