OPINION PIECE BY DONNA WESTFALL
I was chatting with my friend last night who lives out of town and is knowledgable about all sorts of things like training grand juries and how city’s can pull a fast one over the public by wording agenda items to mislead.
I ran this by her. Agenda Item #14 on Tuesday’s Crescent City’s, City Council packet was so misleading, I thought, that several astute people didn’t attend the meeting thinking there was nothing to object to or speak about. Indeed it was all about passing a 25% sewer rate increase at 5% a year for five years . But instead this is how it was listed:
CONSIDER AND ADOPT THE SEWER FUND REVENUE SUFFICIENCY ANALYSIS AND DIRECT THE CITY MANAGER TO PROCEED WITH NEXT STEPS, TAKE ACTION AS NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE
Now, if no one had read the many pages provided on-line at crescentcity.org (minutes/agenda under City Council heading) attended the meeting, sat in the audience, and got up to share their concerns about the rate hike, I would bet money that the City Council would have passed the rate increase.
What to do?
“Issue a Cure and Correct notice to the City and they have 30 days to comply,” she said. According to the Brown Act, she’s partially correct but not 100% correct. They had to have taken an action. The city council, upon hearing many people objecting to more increases in sewer rates, decided to take no action. So, no Cure and Correct notice will be sent.
However, I would hope that someone at the City or on the City Council reading this will take heed to hold them accountable and tell them to stop acting sneaky, conniving and unprofessional.
One last thought. The video recording at the council meeting does not catch the smirks and snarky facial contortions made by some council members and the attorney during the public’s 3 minute comment. It’s time to bring in our own videographer so the public can understand exactly what unprofessional looks like in living color.