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Council President: Government is “Not a Back and Forth”

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Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) policy by all accounts is ripening. Meanwhile, other important policies seem unfortunately in decay - like opportunities for public discourse. As with all public policy, change takes time, and usually involves trouble. Trouble there has been as the City Council tried to reverse a requirement that ADUs be directly supervised by a property owner.

See for yourself. If you care about quality government, you just have to watch this:

You can skip the first 26 minute’s but watch the rest at your peril. Comments on ADUs run until 1 hour 22+ minutes.

Vargas introduces yet more draconian rules limiting public comment, strangely willing to squander five minutes on a council recess anytime a speaker goes thirty seconds over their three minute limit. This is a policy worthy of test. Let every citizen laud the council for plus three minutes, triggering an additional five at recess. Business will never be concluded. Genius!

Barker cites “misinformation”, suggesting the public doesn’t understand the council’s intent, but fails to specify the source or nature of the misconception. Citizens are accustomed to such refrains from the entrenched bureaucracy, but hope for more from our representatives.

Mike Kimmik adroitly points out that Barker had no business voting on the issue, much less proposing it. She owns two rental properties eligible for additional rental income from ADUs if owner occupancy is not required. That’s a conflict of interest and illegal.

In response to Sean Wheeler’s complaint that Vargas was passing notes and snickering while Anne Mackie spoke at an earlier meeting, and later proximally threatening him, Pinky ignores the complaints and explains she is just following a clock, trying to keep folks to three minutes and can’t help it if sometimes people disagree with council’s decisions.

Please take note: Anne Mackie has chopped more wood and carried more water for this community than all these rooky council members, combined. The Council’s assumed authority on this topic is ironic at best.

Applause erupted after Sean’s comments and Vargas was quick to object.

“There is no clapping in council chambers” Vargas says she is just trying to make everyone follow rules, even as she breaks her own about engaging public comments - an asymmetrical condition in which she is always guaranteed the last word. “This is not a back and forth”, she concludes.

We shall see.

Only avid government aficionados will endure beyond one hour, forty eight minutes to watch our planning director epitomize bureaucratic entrenchment and demonstrate his resolve that lack of notice and conflicts of interest don’t matter because the process will continue further, ad infinatum, until every last citizen has been entirely exhausted. Amen.

...and public comment effectively marginalized.