By Donna Westfall – September 12, 2018 – Just when we thought miracles do happen and watched as Board of Sups (BOS) voted 4-1 (Sup. Lori Cowan only dissenting vote) to support Prop 6 – repealing the gas tax – at their August meeting, everything turned topsy turvy at their September 11th meeting.
It started when Sup. Gerry Hemmingsen requested and got an item on the agenda. It became agenda item number 23. It was to share new information and then re-vote on SB1 – the gas tax. WHY? Well, it’s obvious he has some pull with Chair. Chris Howard, because Sup. Gitlin has to go down from the dais and make a public comment to try to get some of his items added to the agenda usually to the deaf ears of Chair. Howard.
So, let’s see what happened next….. they had a vote to suspend or waive the rules. Which rules you ask? Why the rules of running a meeting. There are specific rules governing the way meetings are to be run. With a super majority vote, rules can be suspended but that’s usually for an emergency. Was this an emergency? Probably not.
What was the emergency? It was that Sup. Hemmingsen changed his mind, or was told to change his mind by outside forces. We’ll probably never know, because I emailed him and he did not respond, but if I had to put money on it, I’d say that someone from the Democratic party or Sen. Mike McGuire’s office had a conversation with him. We’re not used to having Sup. Hemmingsen flip-flop like Sup. Lori Cowan. We expect it from her. We also expect that in any contentious issue, Sups Cowan, Howard and Hemmingsen glump together like magnets to vote against anything Gitlin or Berkowitz support.
So the gang of 3 wanted to vote to suspend the rules so they could take a new vote to oppose Prop 6. Here’s how that works per County Counsel, Liz Cable:
1.) The Motion To Reconsider – it has to be done at the same meeting under Rosenberg’s Rules. It has to be done by somebody that voted in the majority that had a change of heart. It had to be done at the August 23rd meeting.
2.) The BOS did not have it done at that August meeting.
3.) They want to reconsider at the 9/11 meeting.
The BOS can vote to suspend the rules first by 2/3rds vote and then make a motion to reconsider. That means that 4 votes are needed, not 3, to suspend the rules. Then the item is back before the board as though the board never voted on it before.
Absolutely. If you want a lesson in confusion, just watch the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors. County Counsel advised them they were on a slippery slope.
What was the outcome?
The vote to suspend the rules got 3 votes not 4. But, undaunted, Sup. Hemmingsen then made a motion to approve the Proclamation to Oppose Prop 6. Seconded by Sup. Cowan and then subject to public comment.
Well, it get’s more confusing by the minute, but rather than write about it here, let’s break it up into Part 2 for another day.