Additional Thoughts (Dec 14, 2019) – Council Appointments

Dec 14, 2019 | City Council

The following was originally published in my Dec 14, 2019 Newsletter in the “Additional Thoughts” section

Additional thoughts…

This week’s roster of 2020 Council Appointments includes a few changes. CM Ramlawi has asked me to take his position as one of the liaisons to the Human Rights Commission, due to workload concerns and his already significant role as liaison to our Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (ICPOC). I am happy to take on this responsibility and I look forward to working on the HRC.

CM Griswold has asked CM Eaton to take her current position as liaison to the Airport Advisory Commission, because the decisions made at that body have a greater impact on (and are most relevant) to Ward 4. Last year, I requested and was briefly assigned to Airport Advisory, but quickly realized it conflicted with another commitment. I am glad to see Ward 4 representation on Airport Advisory, this is appropriate. To equalize workload, CM Griswold will become council liaison to Cable Communications Commission (a position previously held by CM Eaton).

Among the long list of appointments on this week’s agenda, there is one significant omission: City Planning Commission. I wrote about this two months ago, after Council voted down re-appointment of CM Ackerman. What I wrote on October 3rd is still true, with some extension of timeline:

On June 30, 2019, CM Ackerman’s term as Council liaison to (and voting member of) the City Planning Commission expired. Starting in early June, city staff pointed out the need to anticipate this expired term and City Council began asking the Mayor to consider a different appointment. (According to state law, it is the mayor’s responsibility to present appointments for the planning commission, i.e. as Council members, we cannot present a candidate for appointment, we can only respond to the candidates proposed by the Mayor.) At our meeting on September 3rd— two months after CM Ackerman’s term had expired— the Mayor finally presented his planning commission appointment to City Council for discussion. He proposed that CM Ackerman be re-appointed. As the Mayor would/should have been able to predict, the majority of Council opposed CM Ackerman’s re-appointment.

CM Ackerman’s term is now over five months expired. Council has now met seven times since voting down his reappointment to the Planning Commission. During that time, a number of emails have been sent both within Council and from outside Council, asking the Mayor to please nominate an alternative. There is no response to requests for action. I continue to be astonished by this willingness to simply ignore process, the process at the foundation of representative democracy: VOTING. It is easy to accept the results of a vote when we are part of the majority that has “won.” It is harder to accept the results of a vote when the majority disagrees with us and an opposing view has prevailed. However, our system of government demands exactly that.