Fascist new committee meeting rules throw out free speech – it’s the END of public discourse in Chico

23 Feb

For years now, I’ve turned my attention toward the day meetings, where there has always been a more conversational tone between council/committee members and the public. Although it was sometimes testy, it was what you call “give and take.”  It was one of the few remaining factors that kept Chico’s “small town” atmosphere – the notion that elected officials were just members of the public who had been chosen by their peers to do a job, that they were never above us, and if they didn’t watch it, they might just end up under our feet. 

Unfortunately, we’ve had one mayor after another who has abused their privilege as elected “official.” Yeah, that’s right – starting with Ann Schwab, I’d say, they just started getting a little too officious. Our current mayor Scott Gruendl has become a regular Pinochet, using his position and his gavel to silence criticism while he empties the city coffers into the pockets of his friends – his developer friends and city employee unions who have financed his campaigns for city council.

Gruendl’s latest abuse of power is the institution of new rules for those daytime committee meetings. And it’s not just Gruendl’s idea – Brian Nakamura is chiefly behind it. Didn’t I tell you he was up to something when he started charging that too many members of the public got “off topic” during meetings, and that it was a violation of the Brown Act?   

You know, the Brown Act he says does not need to be attended to when it comes to having staffers supervise the un-elected committees, namely the Sustainability Task Force. The STF can now have meetings with anybody they choose, make recommendations to council based on what their friends tell them in secret meetings,  without any oversight from the public.  But you and I need to put our name and address on a card to speak, and we’re limited to three minutes per agenda item?

From this week’s Finance and Economic Development committee agendas:

NOTE: Citizens and other interested parties are encouraged to participate in the public process and will be invited
to address the Committee regarding each item on the agenda. In order to maintain an accurate and complete
record, the following procedural guidelines are being implemented:

1. Speaker Cards – speakers will be asked to print his/her name on a speaker card to address the Committee and provide card to the Clerk prior to the completion of the Staff Report. 

2. Speak from the Podium – the Clerk will call speakers to the podium in the order the cards are received. 

3. Speakers may address the Committee one time per agenda item.

4. Speakers will have three minutes to address the Committee.

I’m sorry, that is not encouraging, that is discouraging. That is how they hold us off by the forehead. They have a conversation right in front of us, they say the most outrageous stuff, and then they tell us we only get to address them, from a podium, for three minutes, cramming every observation we have on their up to one hour long conversations into three minutes. 

For example, during the Internal Affairs discussion on the Social Host ordinance, a group of landlords came in to make it clear they would not tolerate being held financially responsible for tenants’ behavior, they’re landlords not babysitters. Sean Morgan, in an attempt to suck up, kept telling them, “don’t worry, the TENANTS will be held responsible…” He kept using the word “tenants.”  We’d just had a long discussion about how the only person who should be held responsible, is the person(s) who provided the alcohol to the underage drinker, and hey, that might be the landlord, or it might be the tenant, or it might be the under-age person’s parents, or a guy he/she met at the liquor store. I wanted to hear the legal lingo – dealing with these fuckers Downtown is a Repo-man grab – you have to get them to SAY IT, and you have to get them to say it in legal terms. Morgan is an ass, how he got a job as a professor at a college mystifies me – he just wasn’t getting it. We wanted to hear “responsible party,” which is what city attorney Roger Wilson finally gave us. There’s legal import to terminology, just like when you accuse somebody of LIBEL! But this idiot thought he had to tell us, they’d stick it to the TENANT, he was just trying to buy us off and shut us up. We had to demand, and that doesn’t happen in a three minute puke-up from the podium, it happens in a give-and-take conversation.

I’ll tell you why they did this – because the people have gotten a little too  tired and a little too wise to take any more of their illegal bullshit. People have been packing those little rooms to tell these fuckers where to stick it, and guess what – Brian Nakamure and Scott Gruendl and Mark Sorensen have got some kind of royalty complex – they think people are just supposed to do what they say without asking questions. They don’t like too many questions. And they have some kind of fatal allergy to THE TRUTH.

The people have been overthrown.  Long live King Gruendl and his jesters Morgan and Sorensen.  

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