Sacramento Mayor Accused of Breaking California’s Brown Act, ‘Censoring’ Speakers after ‘Unilaterally’ Tabling Gaza Ceasefire Resolution

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By The Vanguard Staff

SACRAMENTO, CA – City of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg broke the law and Sacramento City Council rules when he unilaterally tabled a resolution urging a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war – ignoring council members who had introduced the measure – and then refused to let Sacramento residents speak about the issue at a city council meeting, according to an official complaint.

The Sacramento Ethics Commission reportedly is investigating the matter, requesting an outside review, and Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho has been asked to also open a probe.

According to a formal complaint filed against Steinberg, he violated Sacramento City Council rules and procedures and the state Brown Act in January and February meetings when he unilaterally “vetoed a Gaza Ceasefire resolution introduced by Councilmember Katie Valenzuela and Councilmember Mai Vang,” said Dr. Amira Kotb, who initiated the inquiries.

Kotb said the mayor “failed to follow the established Councilmember Proposal Request Flowchart by unilaterally giving himself the power to obstruct the resolution” Jan. 26 and “tabled the resolution without referring to a majority vote, in violation of Rosenberg’s Rules of Order.”

“The mayor also violated the Ralph Brown M. Act,” charged Kotb in a statement released Wednesday, noting the mayor “prevented on 2/9/24, more than 50 members of the public from making public comments during the Sacramento City Council Public Meeting despite the submission by said members of their speakers slips.”

In her statement, Kotb said, “Members of the public requested a Ceasefire Resolution that falls within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Sacramento City Council as the City provides $7M in funding to Israel according to the USPCR- US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.”

And, in another missive, Dr. Kotb formally requested Sacramento DA Ho to “initiate a special investigation.” Kotb said Ho hasn’t responded.

Other community members chastised the mayor’s actions, releasing statements in support of Kotb.

“The City of Sacramento in the past passed many resolutions for Sanctuary, Immigration, Labor, Native, and POC Rights; yet continues to gate-keep the resolution for ceasefire.  It’s bankrupt of morality to ignore the suffering of Palestinian people,” said Desirée Rojas, president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement- Sacramento Chapter

“The Mayor’s actions and inaction represent the view of the U.S. ruling class. Four months into this genocide and U.S. politicians from both ruling parties show their unwillingness to listen to the masses of people. This is a clear indication that a new system is needed, one not based off of war and genocide,” added Kevin Martinez for Sacramento ANSWER Coalition.

“For the last four months, the statements and positions made by Sacramento city mayor have done nothing to halt and prevent Israel’s genocide in the Gaza Strip.  As mayor, Darrell Steinberg has a responsibility to uphold his commitment to listening to his constituents, many of whom are personally affected by the War on Gaza,” said Sarah Alzanoon from Sacramento Stands with Palestine. She added she’s had 50 family members die in Gaza.

“Mayor Steinberg talks about wanting a multi-faith, coalition based discussion on a ceasefire while ignoring that this coalition already exists in the partnership between JVP and the Sacramento Palestinian community. His rhetoric and choices have consistently denied the existence of an anti-Zionist Jewish perspective. The Jewish federation cannot be allowed to be the representative of the Jewish community in Sacramento,” said Maya Steinhart, member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

“We are deeply disappointed in Mayor Steinberg’s actions in limiting our community’s speech on a Ceasefire Resolution. After weeks of working with members of our community on a resolution that calls for a ceasefire, Mayor Steinberg succumbed to pressure from other forces to silence our voices. Silence is complicity in this massacre,” said Lina Jemili Sirlin, communication officer at Palestine American League.

“While the daily death toll has exponentially increased to 272 per day, mostly women and children, exceeding 38,000, when can we join the over 70 cities calling on a ceasefire? We implore the local leadership to act fast on a resolution to make the statement long overdue of the city that is a beacon for diversity, justice, and equality,” said Shadi Qutub, Greater Sacramento Muslim Public Affair Committee.

“There is nothing about the City Council’s rules that prevent even councilmembers from discussing or voting on policy proposals their constituents have requested. We have seen the city add harmful policies such as Measure O or pay raises for city charter officers to be discussed and receive votes with barely a day’s notice, but a nonbonding resolution supporting a ceasefire and opposing genocide that directly impacts Sacramento families cannot even be discussed unless TWO people (one of whom is unelected) allows it,” said Asantewaa Boykin, co-founder of Anti Police-Terror Project. 

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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