Dear Editor – New Council Members and Old Business

Dear Editor:

At the December 12, 2022, council meeting where the new members were to be seated, we witnessed something extraordinary. The outgoing mayor arranged the agenda to delay certification of the election results until late in the meeting in order to pass an ordinance he knew the new council majority would not approve. This kept Freddy Puza and Dan O’Brien sitting in the audience for more than two hours while the members whose terms had expired remained on the dais and voted in their stead. It was astonishing and undemocratic. Note: I have scanned all the available agendas from past election certification meetings going back 20 years, and the formal certification of election results is always item A-1.

In the end, of course, the effort did not succeed. Rosenberg’s Rules of Order are not complicated, and a motion for reconsideration later in the meeting was successful. (Only a member voting in the affirmative can make such a motion, which was signaled when Councilmember Eriksson announced his opposition but voted aye.) The delay in certification was thus tactical failure also. That is the practical reason never to attempt this. By defeating the maneuver, I hope we have ensured it will never be tried again. We may wish to address in the city charter specific times for installation of new council members, the way the US constitution does.

Of course, the subject of this action item – creating a special $25 minimum wage for Southern California Hospital employees – did matter to many. People are entitled to different views as to the merits, and I express none here. I observe, however, that one person repeated that it was wrong to ask working people to “wait for justice.” Maybe so. But waiting is what they have been doing. For four years, city council did nothing to advance such a measure despite apparently having the votes to do so. Even one week earlier could have had a different outcome. If this is not the outcome you wanted, assign blame accordingly. There is plenty to go around.

Darrel Menthe

The Actors' Gang