STUNNING REVERSAL BY COUNCIL ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE

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“Fait accompli,” were the words I used to close my remarks in yesterday’s column to describe the prospects for the proposed changes to the Anti-discrimination Ordinance that would have removed a key passage that empowered the Human Relations Commission to investigate and mediate complaints regarding allegations of discrimination. All went according to plan until about two-thirds of the way through deliberations when one of the members of the subcommittee recommending the changes to the ordinance, Councilmember Stephen Souza, suddenly and unexpectedly moved that there be no changes to the ordinance. The result was a 5-0 vote to make no changes to the ordinance and to basically restore the duties that the Human Relations Commission had previously performed up until June 27, 2006 when the council voted to disband the commission.

Perhaps the most stunning part of the evening was the way that we got to this point, the effectiveness of public testimony, and vigilance on the part of Councilmember Lamar Heystek and Mayor Sue Greenwald in somehow, some way, forcing the council majority to back off. Even more stunning was how woefully unprepared Councilmember Souza and several city staffers were about this meeting and how little either council or staff knew about the actual history of the Commission. This was particularly surprising given the fact that Councilmember Souza was himself a former chair of the Commission.

Assistant City Manager Kelly Stachowicz’s remark actually set the tone for much of the discussion:

“That particular resolution, one of the things that it did was attempted to remove the responsibility from the Human Relations Commission to investigate individual grievances with the intent of attempting to adjudicate them primarily because that particular responsibility is problematic in a public commission…”

Stachowicz specifically referred to the Commission’s lack of subpoena power and lack of ability to get all information as a reason to strip its power to investigate and mediate. As we shall see, the interpretation of this language would prove key in the ultimate decision to restore the Commission with this power.

The first of many twists of this night came when Souza suddenly announced that they had changed their proposal, which first sought to delete the authorizing section from the ordinance and instead would edit it to shift the power from the HRC to the city and city manager.

“Section 7A-15(c) which is civil remedies under the anti-discrimination ordinance, speaks to a specific commission as the entity that would mediate and investigate, what we have done is change that language to not be specific and allow for the evolving nature of the city’s mediation ability and programs over time.”

Souza spoke of replacing the power of the HRC with that of existing organizations. The argument that he used was that the city now possesses resources that it did not have at its disposal in 1986 such as the mediation and fair housing program, the police advisory committee, the ombudsman, the personnel board, and the human resources department. He argued that only one of them has subpoena power, the personnel board. In order to do a proper investigation, a body must be able to compel individuals to come forward to testify, only the personnel board has that power, not the HRC, he stated.

Councilmember Lamar Heystek took strong disagreement with both the process by which this was brought forward and some of the specific proposals.

Councilmember Heystek pointedly asked: “We received this amendment to the ordinance shortly before 6:30, why was this not included in our council packet when it was delivered to our homes?”

Souza responded: “Because we prepared it a half hour before the meeting. We thought about it over the weekend, and me and Ruth discussed it, then we came and met with Kelly [Stachowicz] at 5:30 and proposed the language that you see before you.”

Heystek continued to press his point: “I certainly appreciate that you’ve done that, but I question whether or not we’ve given people, even here, who wish to speak who were not prepared for these changes, and perhaps people at home who haven’t had these changes presented to them, I think the council should be very eager to take public comment tonight, but I question whether or not we should take action tonight.”

He also questioned the relevance of the personnel board as an investigative body for civil rights complaints.

Souza responded: “It’s the appropriate body where individuals in the city lodge complaints against individuals in the city”

City Attorney Harriet Steiner had to step in here: “The personnel board is there so that if there is a personnel action against a city employee, if there is a complaint against a city employee… that is the hearing body on whether the employee should appropriately be disciplined for their conduct. That board is set up as an adjudicatory board, but that board is not a board where people come in and lodge a complaint against a city employee…”

Heystek: “That was my understanding of the role of the personnel board, so I will ask the subcommittee what relevance does the personnel board have to what we are dealing with tonight, changes to this civil rights ordinance, why do you bring up the personnel board if it is not otherwise a body that is open to the public?”

Souza: “If there is a discrimination complaint against an individual in the city from an employee of the city, that would be the vehicle that they use to adjudicate the issue.”

Souza also admitted in response to a question from Heystek that he had only read the minutes of the deliberations on the original ordinance from 1986 “this evening.” This appears to be another inexplicable example of Mr. Souza, who had a full nine months to prepare from the time this issue was first raised and a good four or five months since the issue was given back to the council the subcommittee. Why would he only read the minutes of the meeting on the evening of the council action, rather than as a member of the subcommittee as they deliberated on this issue presumably over the prior nine months? This seems inexplicable and utterly contemptible.

Asmundson seemed to attempt to justify this glaring oversight by suggesting:

“The 1986 minutes really doesn’t show us anything, it’s just the action it showed in the minutes, there was no discussion, and we couldn’t find any discussion on that motion.”

Heystek responded, “I respectfully disagree with you on that point.”

Also present at last night’s council meeting were members of the public who played a key role in this as well, with six members speaking, each one of them speaking strongly against the proposed changes to the ordinance.

Michelle Stephens, a current member of the HRC spoke for her out of town colleague Shelly Bailes first. “She was there when the anti-discrimination ordinance was written, and she is opposed to any changes.” And then Ms. Stephens spoke for herself:

“Changing this document would be a mistake, for over 20 years this anti-discrimination ordinance has served our community well, providing proof that the city of Davis is committed to human rights… We should not allow something that has shaped our city to be re-written so easily. Changing the ordinance will also effectively make the Human Relations Commission, a party-planning group…” “There is no such thing as having too many opportunities for citizens to voice their concerns.”

Dean Johanson, spoke on behalf of the Yolo County ACLU. He voiced the ACLU’s “opposition to any change in the ordinance as it stands now.” Furthermore, “as an individual who has in the past used the Human Relations Commission, I do think that what you are calling, ‘evolving,’ is actually de-evolution, you’re actually going back in time by making these changes.”

I also spoke on the need to keep to a mechanism that is free of court action that would enforce the anti-discrimination ordinance. Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald, my wife, and former chair of the Commission, spoke about some of the cases that the HRC actually dealt with and their role in bringing about changes in the school district’s climate policy, the city hate crimes, and other programs that dealt with civil rights.

Former HRC Chair Bill Ritter,

“In the nine years I served, this was an important task of the Commission, it was important because it gave teeth to the anti-discrimination ordinance, an avenue by which citizens could come and work out their problems as they perceived them.”

Mr. Ritter pointed out that the mediations services have always been a part of the process. In one case, the city manager, followed up with a private investigator to follow-up on the research that the commission had done.

Former HRC Chair, Tansey Thomas, also spoke out against the changes she cited a number of reports and recommendations that were not followed through upon.

Councilmember Heystek pressed City Manager Bill Emlen as to where he would be providing referrals to investigate or mediate the complaint of individuals. Emlen in fact had no idea and dodged Heystek’s question twice. First, stating it would depend on the nature of the complaint. And second stating, “I think they’ve been mentioned this evening the various options that are available.” Both of these were essentially dodges and non-answers.

Councilmember Souza then asked several key questions of City Attorney Harriet Steiner.

Souza: “Do we have to do anything in order to keep the ordinance legal in its intent and the resolution in the Human Relations Commission? Can we leave it as it is?”

Steiner: “I think we probably could leave it as it is.”

Souza: “Does any city commission, in particular the Human Relations Commission, have the ability under law to investigate?”

Steiner: “None of our commissions would actually provide what lawyers think of as a non-biased investigation, none of the commissions with the possible exception of the personnel board that we talked about before, really are set up to do an equivalent to what the courts do. Many of our commissions listen to the citizens, provide forums for issues, and come to a policy recommendation to the city council with an appropriate recommendation…”

This is actually a key statement because Steiner is speaking in terms of how lawyers think about the term, “investigation,” rather than other possible definitions of the word. It was Mayor Greenwald who demonstrated from the text of the ordinance that the intent was never to “adjudicate” and always referred to a much less formal mechanism of mediation and investigation. The ordinance specifically states that the findings are not admissible in court, implying strongly that the HRC was not to be a body that investigates in the manner in which Steiner speaks of the term “investigate.”

Greenwald pointed out that the council was not provided a copy of the actual ordinance.

Mayor Greenwald’s reading of the ordinance was: “yes the Commission can investigate and mediate, but it would not provide material for action.”

Harriet stated that it says, “the findings and conclusions are not admissible in court for a civil action.”

Greenwald: “Investigation and mediation does not have only one definition.”

Harriet: “That’s what I was trying to say. There are different kinds of investigation and different kinds of proceedings. An investigation to come forward to have a community forum is a different kind of investigation than an investigation to try to adjudicate an individual complaint against another individual against a city employee.”

Harriet: “I don’t know that the Human Relations Commission has ever been in a position where it has taken an individual complaint and tried to come up with the answer as to what should happen on that particular complaint as opposed to a larger issue and what the community should do…”

The discussion seemed to turn on the term, “adjudicate.” The perception of the council seemed to be that the ordinance authorized the HRC to adjudicate a complaint, when in fact the language of the ordinance precluded such action and it had never been the practice of the HRC to adjudicate. It was Mayor Greenwald’s teasing out the term that led to this clarification and seemed to change the course of the meeting.

During this discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Asmundson and Councilmember Stephen Souza were conferencing. Suddenly, Asmundson stated that there was an announcement from the subcommittee.

Souza stated: “I would suggest, given the first answer to the question about whether we could just leave the ordinance as is, that I would move that we leave the ordinance as is, and that we direct the liaison to the Human Relations Commission to explain the other avenues that are available and clarify the meaning, and provide the information as to the avenues that are available for mediation and complaints.”

There was an air of disbelief, as it appeared briefly that the council minority could not believe what they had just heard and sitting in the audience, I had the same feeling. It was quite stunning given the direction of the conversation up until the last few moments.

Heystek quickly regained the initiative at this point however, and pressured the council to reconcile between the language of the ordinance and the language of the authorizing resolution of the HRC. He pointed out that in the future, councilmembers would not be reading the motions made on this date, but rather the language in the resolution. He spoke forcefully and ultimately prevailed in getting the subcommittee to re-write the resolution to include some of the language of the ordinance to make it clear that they had the ability to mediate and investigate, but not adjudicate (again a power that the Commission never had to begin with).

By a 5-0 vote, the city council not only left unchanged the historic anti-discrimination ordinance, but also appeared, and I stress appeared, since there will have to be another item on this in the future, to restore the previous power of the Human Relations Commission to what it had been prior to its being disbanded in June of last year.

This was the most stunned I have ever been at a council verdict and in many ways I still am not clear as to what happened. It appeared that public comment moved the council. It appeared even prior to the meeting, that perhaps criticism of the initial proposal, perhaps from this blog, moved the council to use stronger wording. And it appeared that the discussion brought up by Mayor Greenwald with regards to the issue of adjudication probably provided the final death knell.

Souza justified it by the answer that Harriet Steiner gave to his first question, but in fact he asked four questions and it appeared by the fourth question that he was simply lining it up for his eventual victory asking her about the role of adjudication and whether the ordinance itself was proper. Steiner’s response was that she was always uncomfortable with the language of the ordinance. The fourth question was about police oversight, a question and answer that were discussed at length last year and that Souza fully knew the answer to.

Thus my only conclusion is that somewhere during the course of that discussion, the issue of definition of investigation arose and the issue of adjudication made it clear that the ordinance never intended to authorize nor did the Commission ever act as a body that adjudicates individual complaints.

I will point out that people last year charged that the HRC was trying to become a de-facto civilian review board for police complaints, but that is not true. What the HRC was doing was taking individual complaints and attempting to advocate a general policy—the construction of a civilian review board. The council rejected that proposal, but that was the HRC’s intent, not to adjudicate the Buzayan case or any of the other individual cases. Those cases were only used to provide examples for a policy change.

It is very important to note that the HRC was never granted the power of subpoena nor did they ever seek to use the subpoena power. The charge was made that the commission overstepped their bounds and misused their power, but as we saw last night, it has be acknowledged that is simply untrue given that they never attempted to adjudicate individual cases. We can disagree on the forcefulness with which the commission conducted its business, but that alone does not mean that the commission was not outside of its charge.

In the end, the council did the right thing last night, but one must severely question several aspects of the proceedings. First, the late change of text for the ordinance butts up against a violation of the Brown Act which requires a period of proper noticing to the public. That change caught all involved off-guard. Second, the lack of preparation on the part of the subcommittee was irresponsible. Souza’s question of Steiner could have taken place in private and having her opinion that there was no conflict could have mitigated against this discussion. Third, the lack of staff providing of resources including the ordinance is appalling. Fourth, Souza’s admission that he had only read the minutes of the 1986 discussion last night, prior to the meeting, was not only appalling, but disrespectful to the work of past councils. Finally, this entire discussion embodies a sort of lack of preparation and lack of professionalism. It was clear from the discussion that neither the council nor staff really understood the history of the Commission or how they have operated in the past.

This is not surprising in light of the controversy that happened last year that in my opinion, as a very biased observer, was greatly distorted in the public realm. That is not to suggest that the Commission acted without error that is far from the case, however, their intents and their actions were greatly distorted in the heat of a political campaign and the heat of public scrutiny.

In Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald’s closing comments during her public remarks, she asked the council

“to take this historic anti-discrimination ordinance and instead of stripping it of its protections, to move in the other direction to make it stronger. I ask you to take these fractured ties in this community and bring us together. I ask you to lift up those who have suffered in this past year from hopelessness and despair and give them hope and guidance that the City of Davis will not turn its back on its commitment to civil rights.”

In many ways, a year removed from the controversy, when things could be treated with reflection rather than with impulse, they have done exactly that. The question though is really whether it is too late. The results last night stunned us all, but they also served to reinvigorate us. It was the first time in a long time that we had any sense of optimism, accomplishment and hope.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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84 thoughts on “STUNNING REVERSAL BY COUNCIL ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE”

  1. davisite

    The upcoming Buzayan federal civil rights case against The Davis Enterprise, YOLO DA’s office and City of Davis probably also played a part in Souza’s “hasty retreat”. This case will be reported upon extensively,during the 2007-8 election season, in The Bee and Vanguard while mentioned as little as possible,I am sure, in The Enterprise. Souza’s stance on the Buzayan issue and purging of the HRC is going to come back to haunt him as the legal outcome of this civil rights violation case is a foregone conclusion.

  2. davisite

    The upcoming Buzayan federal civil rights case against The Davis Enterprise, YOLO DA’s office and City of Davis probably also played a part in Souza’s “hasty retreat”. This case will be reported upon extensively,during the 2007-8 election season, in The Bee and Vanguard while mentioned as little as possible,I am sure, in The Enterprise. Souza’s stance on the Buzayan issue and purging of the HRC is going to come back to haunt him as the legal outcome of this civil rights violation case is a foregone conclusion.

  3. davisite

    The upcoming Buzayan federal civil rights case against The Davis Enterprise, YOLO DA’s office and City of Davis probably also played a part in Souza’s “hasty retreat”. This case will be reported upon extensively,during the 2007-8 election season, in The Bee and Vanguard while mentioned as little as possible,I am sure, in The Enterprise. Souza’s stance on the Buzayan issue and purging of the HRC is going to come back to haunt him as the legal outcome of this civil rights violation case is a foregone conclusion.

  4. davisite

    The upcoming Buzayan federal civil rights case against The Davis Enterprise, YOLO DA’s office and City of Davis probably also played a part in Souza’s “hasty retreat”. This case will be reported upon extensively,during the 2007-8 election season, in The Bee and Vanguard while mentioned as little as possible,I am sure, in The Enterprise. Souza’s stance on the Buzayan issue and purging of the HRC is going to come back to haunt him as the legal outcome of this civil rights violation case is a foregone conclusion.

  5. tansey thomas

    Doug, you have given an excellent description of the events at the City Council meeting. What was “stunning” for me was that the defenders of the`Ordinance were so articulate and persuasive that there was really nothing left for me to say other than to endorse their comments. I also pointed out that the civil rights battle have been going on for years and Davis citizens have already developed many solutions that need to be effectively implemented and sustained. Obviously this requires commitment to those ends and as I said, “You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t mike him drink.” Therefore, we must exercise more vigilance in monitoring and sustaining outcomes. Thank you City Council with kudos to Councilman Lamar Heystek and Mayor Sue Greenwald for doing the right thing. Finally, to the powerhouse defenders of the Civil Rights Ordinance, David and Cecilia Greenwald, Bill Ritter, Michelle Stephens, Shelly Bailes, and ACLU representive Dean Johansson, know that people thank you for standing up.

  6. tansey thomas

    Doug, you have given an excellent description of the events at the City Council meeting. What was “stunning” for me was that the defenders of the`Ordinance were so articulate and persuasive that there was really nothing left for me to say other than to endorse their comments. I also pointed out that the civil rights battle have been going on for years and Davis citizens have already developed many solutions that need to be effectively implemented and sustained. Obviously this requires commitment to those ends and as I said, “You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t mike him drink.” Therefore, we must exercise more vigilance in monitoring and sustaining outcomes. Thank you City Council with kudos to Councilman Lamar Heystek and Mayor Sue Greenwald for doing the right thing. Finally, to the powerhouse defenders of the Civil Rights Ordinance, David and Cecilia Greenwald, Bill Ritter, Michelle Stephens, Shelly Bailes, and ACLU representive Dean Johansson, know that people thank you for standing up.

  7. tansey thomas

    Doug, you have given an excellent description of the events at the City Council meeting. What was “stunning” for me was that the defenders of the`Ordinance were so articulate and persuasive that there was really nothing left for me to say other than to endorse their comments. I also pointed out that the civil rights battle have been going on for years and Davis citizens have already developed many solutions that need to be effectively implemented and sustained. Obviously this requires commitment to those ends and as I said, “You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t mike him drink.” Therefore, we must exercise more vigilance in monitoring and sustaining outcomes. Thank you City Council with kudos to Councilman Lamar Heystek and Mayor Sue Greenwald for doing the right thing. Finally, to the powerhouse defenders of the Civil Rights Ordinance, David and Cecilia Greenwald, Bill Ritter, Michelle Stephens, Shelly Bailes, and ACLU representive Dean Johansson, know that people thank you for standing up.

  8. tansey thomas

    Doug, you have given an excellent description of the events at the City Council meeting. What was “stunning” for me was that the defenders of the`Ordinance were so articulate and persuasive that there was really nothing left for me to say other than to endorse their comments. I also pointed out that the civil rights battle have been going on for years and Davis citizens have already developed many solutions that need to be effectively implemented and sustained. Obviously this requires commitment to those ends and as I said, “You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t mike him drink.” Therefore, we must exercise more vigilance in monitoring and sustaining outcomes. Thank you City Council with kudos to Councilman Lamar Heystek and Mayor Sue Greenwald for doing the right thing. Finally, to the powerhouse defenders of the Civil Rights Ordinance, David and Cecilia Greenwald, Bill Ritter, Michelle Stephens, Shelly Bailes, and ACLU representive Dean Johansson, know that people thank you for standing up.

  9. sharla

    The whole thing was excellent, in my opinion.

    The HRC’s role was reinstated, but also clarified for people that have forgotten, were never there in the beginning or have mangled its purpose into something else. Investigation and mediation for broad public benefit – that is it’s role in terms of civil rights. The HRC really needs to now work out processes by which they can accomplish this – so when the next crisis happens they are prepared.

    As far as the stunning turn around by Souza – sometimes you have to say things out loud to be able to see how mistaken you are. The public speakers were well prepared and articulate. I’m glad to see that he had the courage to backtrack and go a different direction on this.

  10. sharla

    The whole thing was excellent, in my opinion.

    The HRC’s role was reinstated, but also clarified for people that have forgotten, were never there in the beginning or have mangled its purpose into something else. Investigation and mediation for broad public benefit – that is it’s role in terms of civil rights. The HRC really needs to now work out processes by which they can accomplish this – so when the next crisis happens they are prepared.

    As far as the stunning turn around by Souza – sometimes you have to say things out loud to be able to see how mistaken you are. The public speakers were well prepared and articulate. I’m glad to see that he had the courage to backtrack and go a different direction on this.

  11. sharla

    The whole thing was excellent, in my opinion.

    The HRC’s role was reinstated, but also clarified for people that have forgotten, were never there in the beginning or have mangled its purpose into something else. Investigation and mediation for broad public benefit – that is it’s role in terms of civil rights. The HRC really needs to now work out processes by which they can accomplish this – so when the next crisis happens they are prepared.

    As far as the stunning turn around by Souza – sometimes you have to say things out loud to be able to see how mistaken you are. The public speakers were well prepared and articulate. I’m glad to see that he had the courage to backtrack and go a different direction on this.

  12. sharla

    The whole thing was excellent, in my opinion.

    The HRC’s role was reinstated, but also clarified for people that have forgotten, were never there in the beginning or have mangled its purpose into something else. Investigation and mediation for broad public benefit – that is it’s role in terms of civil rights. The HRC really needs to now work out processes by which they can accomplish this – so when the next crisis happens they are prepared.

    As far as the stunning turn around by Souza – sometimes you have to say things out loud to be able to see how mistaken you are. The public speakers were well prepared and articulate. I’m glad to see that he had the courage to backtrack and go a different direction on this.

  13. davisite

    “I’m glad to see that he had the courage to backtrack and go a different direction on this.”

    According to DPD’s narrative, there was a “conference” between Souza and Asmundson that resulted in his being the spokesperson for withdrawing the idea of gutting the HRC resolution FOR NOW. This could just as well have been Ruth’s decision which Souza then knew would spell a 3-2 defeat. I guess, by the above poster’s reasoning, we can also credit Saylor with a courageous change of heart because the final vote was 5-0 rather than a politically damaging 4-1 vote.

  14. davisite

    “I’m glad to see that he had the courage to backtrack and go a different direction on this.”

    According to DPD’s narrative, there was a “conference” between Souza and Asmundson that resulted in his being the spokesperson for withdrawing the idea of gutting the HRC resolution FOR NOW. This could just as well have been Ruth’s decision which Souza then knew would spell a 3-2 defeat. I guess, by the above poster’s reasoning, we can also credit Saylor with a courageous change of heart because the final vote was 5-0 rather than a politically damaging 4-1 vote.

  15. davisite

    “I’m glad to see that he had the courage to backtrack and go a different direction on this.”

    According to DPD’s narrative, there was a “conference” between Souza and Asmundson that resulted in his being the spokesperson for withdrawing the idea of gutting the HRC resolution FOR NOW. This could just as well have been Ruth’s decision which Souza then knew would spell a 3-2 defeat. I guess, by the above poster’s reasoning, we can also credit Saylor with a courageous change of heart because the final vote was 5-0 rather than a politically damaging 4-1 vote.

  16. davisite

    “I’m glad to see that he had the courage to backtrack and go a different direction on this.”

    According to DPD’s narrative, there was a “conference” between Souza and Asmundson that resulted in his being the spokesperson for withdrawing the idea of gutting the HRC resolution FOR NOW. This could just as well have been Ruth’s decision which Souza then knew would spell a 3-2 defeat. I guess, by the above poster’s reasoning, we can also credit Saylor with a courageous change of heart because the final vote was 5-0 rather than a politically damaging 4-1 vote.

  17. Curious

    Is the “conference” that Souza and Asmundson had on the dais a violation of the Brown Act? I thought that all discussions between councilmembers on the dais at Council meetings were supposed to be public?

  18. Curious

    Is the “conference” that Souza and Asmundson had on the dais a violation of the Brown Act? I thought that all discussions between councilmembers on the dais at Council meetings were supposed to be public?

  19. Curious

    Is the “conference” that Souza and Asmundson had on the dais a violation of the Brown Act? I thought that all discussions between councilmembers on the dais at Council meetings were supposed to be public?

  20. Curious

    Is the “conference” that Souza and Asmundson had on the dais a violation of the Brown Act? I thought that all discussions between councilmembers on the dais at Council meetings were supposed to be public?

  21. Doug Paul Davis

    The Brown act allows you to talk to exactly one colleague about council business in private, since Asmundson and Souza were “Brown act partners” by virtue of the fact that they were the subcommittee, it was completely allowable for them to conference.

  22. Doug Paul Davis

    The Brown act allows you to talk to exactly one colleague about council business in private, since Asmundson and Souza were “Brown act partners” by virtue of the fact that they were the subcommittee, it was completely allowable for them to conference.

  23. Doug Paul Davis

    The Brown act allows you to talk to exactly one colleague about council business in private, since Asmundson and Souza were “Brown act partners” by virtue of the fact that they were the subcommittee, it was completely allowable for them to conference.

  24. Doug Paul Davis

    The Brown act allows you to talk to exactly one colleague about council business in private, since Asmundson and Souza were “Brown act partners” by virtue of the fact that they were the subcommittee, it was completely allowable for them to conference.

  25. Curious

    The Brown Act then makes no distinction between private contacts(one) outside of official public meetings and those that occur in the middle of official public policy deliberations? Can Souza and Asmundson just “change hats” from subcommittee to individual voting Council rep “at the drop of a hat”(pun intended)in the middle of a meeting?

  26. Curious

    The Brown Act then makes no distinction between private contacts(one) outside of official public meetings and those that occur in the middle of official public policy deliberations? Can Souza and Asmundson just “change hats” from subcommittee to individual voting Council rep “at the drop of a hat”(pun intended)in the middle of a meeting?

  27. Curious

    The Brown Act then makes no distinction between private contacts(one) outside of official public meetings and those that occur in the middle of official public policy deliberations? Can Souza and Asmundson just “change hats” from subcommittee to individual voting Council rep “at the drop of a hat”(pun intended)in the middle of a meeting?

  28. Curious

    The Brown Act then makes no distinction between private contacts(one) outside of official public meetings and those that occur in the middle of official public policy deliberations? Can Souza and Asmundson just “change hats” from subcommittee to individual voting Council rep “at the drop of a hat”(pun intended)in the middle of a meeting?

  29. Diane

    Wow, that will teach me to never assume again that speaking during public comment won’t make a difference. My apologies for not coming, but my profound appreciation and gratefulness for you all being there and speaking. I couldn’t even bear to read the blog today until just now…and oh, what a better day it is than I thought it would be!

  30. Diane

    Wow, that will teach me to never assume again that speaking during public comment won’t make a difference. My apologies for not coming, but my profound appreciation and gratefulness for you all being there and speaking. I couldn’t even bear to read the blog today until just now…and oh, what a better day it is than I thought it would be!

  31. Diane

    Wow, that will teach me to never assume again that speaking during public comment won’t make a difference. My apologies for not coming, but my profound appreciation and gratefulness for you all being there and speaking. I couldn’t even bear to read the blog today until just now…and oh, what a better day it is than I thought it would be!

  32. Diane

    Wow, that will teach me to never assume again that speaking during public comment won’t make a difference. My apologies for not coming, but my profound appreciation and gratefulness for you all being there and speaking. I couldn’t even bear to read the blog today until just now…and oh, what a better day it is than I thought it would be!

  33. darnell

    I think the public comment helped but it appeared to me that Souza and Asmundson were waiting for the slightest protest from a council person to throw in the towel. Souza did make some points that he had made before but folded up like a cheap suitcase when the slightest opposition was raised. The stalling and conferring between the two looked like a face-saving gesture. Getting the latest information to the rest of the council was weird also. Saylor’s silence was deafening.

    I agree with Wu Ming about the sausage preparation.

  34. darnell

    I think the public comment helped but it appeared to me that Souza and Asmundson were waiting for the slightest protest from a council person to throw in the towel. Souza did make some points that he had made before but folded up like a cheap suitcase when the slightest opposition was raised. The stalling and conferring between the two looked like a face-saving gesture. Getting the latest information to the rest of the council was weird also. Saylor’s silence was deafening.

    I agree with Wu Ming about the sausage preparation.

  35. darnell

    I think the public comment helped but it appeared to me that Souza and Asmundson were waiting for the slightest protest from a council person to throw in the towel. Souza did make some points that he had made before but folded up like a cheap suitcase when the slightest opposition was raised. The stalling and conferring between the two looked like a face-saving gesture. Getting the latest information to the rest of the council was weird also. Saylor’s silence was deafening.

    I agree with Wu Ming about the sausage preparation.

  36. darnell

    I think the public comment helped but it appeared to me that Souza and Asmundson were waiting for the slightest protest from a council person to throw in the towel. Souza did make some points that he had made before but folded up like a cheap suitcase when the slightest opposition was raised. The stalling and conferring between the two looked like a face-saving gesture. Getting the latest information to the rest of the council was weird also. Saylor’s silence was deafening.

    I agree with Wu Ming about the sausage preparation.

  37. Doug Paul Davis

    Darnell:

    Interesting thoughts, I’d like to hear an expansion of that line of thought, although I’m not sure I really agree. Why do you think they were looking for an out? Until they bailed, I didn’t get that sense at all.

  38. Doug Paul Davis

    Darnell:

    Interesting thoughts, I’d like to hear an expansion of that line of thought, although I’m not sure I really agree. Why do you think they were looking for an out? Until they bailed, I didn’t get that sense at all.

  39. Doug Paul Davis

    Darnell:

    Interesting thoughts, I’d like to hear an expansion of that line of thought, although I’m not sure I really agree. Why do you think they were looking for an out? Until they bailed, I didn’t get that sense at all.

  40. Doug Paul Davis

    Darnell:

    Interesting thoughts, I’d like to hear an expansion of that line of thought, although I’m not sure I really agree. Why do you think they were looking for an out? Until they bailed, I didn’t get that sense at all.

  41. darnell

    I watched the meeting on TV and Souza’s body language just didn’t have that confident look as when he feels he’s in the right and has backing. Before people start throwing darts at me, let me say I am not a body language expert, but that was my read on him. He lacked that half grin smirk and the eyes were not darting around as usual.

    Secondly, I think striking the blows to the HRC when it was put on hiatus and the backlash from the Senior and Social Commissions debacle made him very tentative about causing more folks to see him in an unfavorable light when dealing with those three commissions. The clarification about mediation without adjudication from Harriet was a big help too and another out.

    My comments weren’t meant to downplay the importance of the public comments; I just think it was a done deal before the meeting began and a little push was all that was required.

    You appeared to be a little more nervous than usual too!

  42. darnell

    I watched the meeting on TV and Souza’s body language just didn’t have that confident look as when he feels he’s in the right and has backing. Before people start throwing darts at me, let me say I am not a body language expert, but that was my read on him. He lacked that half grin smirk and the eyes were not darting around as usual.

    Secondly, I think striking the blows to the HRC when it was put on hiatus and the backlash from the Senior and Social Commissions debacle made him very tentative about causing more folks to see him in an unfavorable light when dealing with those three commissions. The clarification about mediation without adjudication from Harriet was a big help too and another out.

    My comments weren’t meant to downplay the importance of the public comments; I just think it was a done deal before the meeting began and a little push was all that was required.

    You appeared to be a little more nervous than usual too!

  43. darnell

    I watched the meeting on TV and Souza’s body language just didn’t have that confident look as when he feels he’s in the right and has backing. Before people start throwing darts at me, let me say I am not a body language expert, but that was my read on him. He lacked that half grin smirk and the eyes were not darting around as usual.

    Secondly, I think striking the blows to the HRC when it was put on hiatus and the backlash from the Senior and Social Commissions debacle made him very tentative about causing more folks to see him in an unfavorable light when dealing with those three commissions. The clarification about mediation without adjudication from Harriet was a big help too and another out.

    My comments weren’t meant to downplay the importance of the public comments; I just think it was a done deal before the meeting began and a little push was all that was required.

    You appeared to be a little more nervous than usual too!

  44. darnell

    I watched the meeting on TV and Souza’s body language just didn’t have that confident look as when he feels he’s in the right and has backing. Before people start throwing darts at me, let me say I am not a body language expert, but that was my read on him. He lacked that half grin smirk and the eyes were not darting around as usual.

    Secondly, I think striking the blows to the HRC when it was put on hiatus and the backlash from the Senior and Social Commissions debacle made him very tentative about causing more folks to see him in an unfavorable light when dealing with those three commissions. The clarification about mediation without adjudication from Harriet was a big help too and another out.

    My comments weren’t meant to downplay the importance of the public comments; I just think it was a done deal before the meeting began and a little push was all that was required.

    You appeared to be a little more nervous than usual too!

  45. darnell

    DPD –

    BTW – At least give me some props for watching the council meetings on TV. If a person can suffer through those sessions they can’t be all bad.

  46. darnell

    DPD –

    BTW – At least give me some props for watching the council meetings on TV. If a person can suffer through those sessions they can’t be all bad.

  47. darnell

    DPD –

    BTW – At least give me some props for watching the council meetings on TV. If a person can suffer through those sessions they can’t be all bad.

  48. darnell

    DPD –

    BTW – At least give me some props for watching the council meetings on TV. If a person can suffer through those sessions they can’t be all bad.

  49. davisite

    Darnell… Souza is a pretty easy read so your observations probably are noteworthy. The Gang of Three has not suddenly “got religion” and is now listening attentively to public comment. Both Saylor and Souza are desparately trying to remake their political images and we will see more of this populist “softening” before we go to the polls in 2008. If they pull this off and are reelected, the real Gang of Three will undoubtedly reappear.

  50. davisite

    Darnell… Souza is a pretty easy read so your observations probably are noteworthy. The Gang of Three has not suddenly “got religion” and is now listening attentively to public comment. Both Saylor and Souza are desparately trying to remake their political images and we will see more of this populist “softening” before we go to the polls in 2008. If they pull this off and are reelected, the real Gang of Three will undoubtedly reappear.

  51. davisite

    Darnell… Souza is a pretty easy read so your observations probably are noteworthy. The Gang of Three has not suddenly “got religion” and is now listening attentively to public comment. Both Saylor and Souza are desparately trying to remake their political images and we will see more of this populist “softening” before we go to the polls in 2008. If they pull this off and are reelected, the real Gang of Three will undoubtedly reappear.

  52. davisite

    Darnell… Souza is a pretty easy read so your observations probably are noteworthy. The Gang of Three has not suddenly “got religion” and is now listening attentively to public comment. Both Saylor and Souza are desparately trying to remake their political images and we will see more of this populist “softening” before we go to the polls in 2008. If they pull this off and are reelected, the real Gang of Three will undoubtedly reappear.

  53. Anonymous

    Someone needs to send a public records request to Yolo County Public Agency Risk Management Insurance Authority at http://ycparmia.com/ and ask for the an ask for records for legal fees paid by the City of Davis to fight the recent lawsuits resulting from the demise of the HRC as a mediator to see what the real dollar costs of limiting a citizen’s recourse. If anyone out there has the interest, I can tell you it will be in the hundreds of thousands. That will be news that will make people notice.

  54. Anonymous

    Someone needs to send a public records request to Yolo County Public Agency Risk Management Insurance Authority at http://ycparmia.com/ and ask for the an ask for records for legal fees paid by the City of Davis to fight the recent lawsuits resulting from the demise of the HRC as a mediator to see what the real dollar costs of limiting a citizen’s recourse. If anyone out there has the interest, I can tell you it will be in the hundreds of thousands. That will be news that will make people notice.

  55. Anonymous

    Someone needs to send a public records request to Yolo County Public Agency Risk Management Insurance Authority at http://ycparmia.com/ and ask for the an ask for records for legal fees paid by the City of Davis to fight the recent lawsuits resulting from the demise of the HRC as a mediator to see what the real dollar costs of limiting a citizen’s recourse. If anyone out there has the interest, I can tell you it will be in the hundreds of thousands. That will be news that will make people notice.

  56. Anonymous

    Someone needs to send a public records request to Yolo County Public Agency Risk Management Insurance Authority at http://ycparmia.com/ and ask for the an ask for records for legal fees paid by the City of Davis to fight the recent lawsuits resulting from the demise of the HRC as a mediator to see what the real dollar costs of limiting a citizen’s recourse. If anyone out there has the interest, I can tell you it will be in the hundreds of thousands. That will be news that will make people notice.

  57. Doug Paul Davis

    “You appeared to be a little more nervous than usual too!”

    That’s because I realized I had written too long a comment and was trying to read it fast.

  58. Doug Paul Davis

    “You appeared to be a little more nervous than usual too!”

    That’s because I realized I had written too long a comment and was trying to read it fast.

  59. Doug Paul Davis

    “You appeared to be a little more nervous than usual too!”

    That’s because I realized I had written too long a comment and was trying to read it fast.

  60. Doug Paul Davis

    “You appeared to be a little more nervous than usual too!”

    That’s because I realized I had written too long a comment and was trying to read it fast.

  61. Doug Paul Davis

    Unfortunately Anonymous 9:05, litigation expenses are not public record while the court case is still pending, so we cannot find out those figures just yet.

  62. Doug Paul Davis

    Unfortunately Anonymous 9:05, litigation expenses are not public record while the court case is still pending, so we cannot find out those figures just yet.

  63. Doug Paul Davis

    Unfortunately Anonymous 9:05, litigation expenses are not public record while the court case is still pending, so we cannot find out those figures just yet.

  64. Doug Paul Davis

    Unfortunately Anonymous 9:05, litigation expenses are not public record while the court case is still pending, so we cannot find out those figures just yet.

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