Sep 14 2012

OPINION: Apology Requested


At the Sept. 4th City Council meeting, I asked to make a comment during the Open Forum, a proceeding required by the California Brown Act. I expressed my belief, shared by one or more staff, that the proposed Parcel Tax (Measure Y) faced failure, primarily because enough residents lacked confidence in the Council’s ability to manage the City’s finances properly.

My perception was that the Council’s actions lacked both sufficient transparency and independent review in the underground fiasco, Blair Park and other matters, resulting in substantial financial losses to the City.

Before I could propose a partial remedy, namely that the City should immediately retain an outside advisor for all employee contracts rather than relying on the City Administrator, Councilman McBain interrupted to state that what I had to say was not “City Business”, but rather part of a political campaign, and thus should not be allowed.

The Mayor deferred to the City Attorney who opined that it certainly was within the scope of City Business and should therefore be allowed. Mr. McBain stated his sole motive was to seek “clarification”. The Council offered no substantive comment.

Mr. McBain, your stated wish not to infringe on the First Amendment is laudable. But you tried to use your position to do just that.

Piedmont citizens should be encouraged to address their concerns to the Council, without prior restraint, and without the patently partisan and astonishing attempt to deny public comment. Mr. McBain, what part of City finances do you think fails to constitute City Business?

Do you truly believe that any citizen, irrespective of political beliefs or streets on which they live, should be subject to an obstructionist request for “clarification”? Was this truly your motivation?

So, if you were contemplating apologizing, apologize to the citizens of Piedmont instead. You should do it. They deserve it.

Aaron Salloway, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

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