The sequence of events during the 2013 Council reorganization gave evidence that Council is a toxic environment, ruled by petty local politics and personal agendas. Until voters can find five candidates free of duplicitous motives with a genuine concern for the people they represent, it seems this dysfunctional body will continue to be self perpetuating. Now… on to the details.
Christine Marick first to publicly admit the truth.
When Garcia awkwardly opened the floor to motions (almost tripping on the word nominations), Marick jumped in and prefaced her motion commenting on how maladjusted Council had become, that it was time to set aside any adversarial agendas and vote in favor of what best served Brea’s citizens. She put forth a “slate” motion of Murdock as Mayor and Simonoff as Mayor Pro Tem.
I, along with many others, was pleased to hear someone voice what most had known and appreciated Marick’s attempt to bring about a positive change. Also like others, I felt Marick could and should have stepped up like this a year ago… but hats off to her for having the courage to speak up now.
Marick’s receives a blatant slap in the face.
After a painfully long silence there was no second forthcoming. Not from Garcia, her mentor. Not from Murdock, her compatriot. Not from Moore, who had his own agenda. Not from Simonoff, still childishly feeling used and abused. It was humiliating to say the least. Realizing she was out on a broken limb, Marick modified her motion to nominate Murdock for Mayor. Before a second could be made, Moore jumped in and made a substitute motion… this time with no objection from Markman.
Moore politics, Moore whining.
Look, I like Roy. But he crossed a line nominating Simonoff, passed over four times and without a prayer of being selected Mayor. Moore’s weak plea about traditions and fair play obviously fell on deaf ears and failed to get a second as well.
Moore could easily have rattled off a litany of reasons why Murdock not only hadn’t earned the right to become Mayor, but was a questionable choice for Council. I’ve heard these:
- Recommended reducing time for public to speak during Matters From The Audience from five to three minutes, without limiting time for Council or City Manager rebuttal.
- Promising to eliminate street sweeping citations while running for office yet never raising the question once elected.
- Seeking retribution against public safety for not endorsing his candidacy, suggesting a deep retroactive pay cut for all employees.
- Dropping the ball as the city’s No on Measures T & U debate representative.
- Getting fined $2,000 by the FPPC for failing to properly disclose his leadership of the PAC Breans Against Measures T & U.
Garcia then made inquiry of Simonoff, ostensibly seeking a second I think, and Simonoff barked that there was a motion on the floor. Murdock acquiesced, seconded the motion and — no big surprise — 3:2 against.
Back to the original motion.
Now with Garcia seconding Marick’s motion and little further discussion, Murdock becomes Brea’s new Mayor in a 3:2 split decision.
Far from the knockout he would have liked to see on his resumé. Garcia and Murdock play musical chairs and we’re on to the next chapter in this farce.
Like a bad episode of Survivor.
Garcia blindsides Marick, who has no immunity idol, and nominates her as Mayor Pro Tem. If looks could kill, Garcia wouldn’t have made it out of the meeting alive.
Another painfully long silence while Murdock and Garcia prayed for a second from either Moore or Simonoff. Fat chance. Moore shot Simonoff a look that said, “Should I?” and Simonoff replied with a glare that clearly said, “Absolutely not!” So much for seeking compromise.
Murdock, like a whimpering puppy, poses the rhetorical question, “Doesn’t anyone want to be my Mayor Pro Tem?” Oh please, I’ve taken baths deeper than Murdock.
Seizing the opportunity, Simonoff quickly seconds Marick’s nomination and without discussion (or Marick politely declining, which was her prerogative) a vote is taken.
Marick votes against herself!
Almost unanimous, the vote is 4:1 — Murdock, Garcia, Moore and Simonoff in favor… Marick votes no. What? Not even an abstention? What message was Marick trying to send? I’m entertaining all comments on that one folks.
What could possibly be a solution?
We desperately need new blood on Council. Out with the old, in with the new. We need a few honest, ethical, unencumbered by special interests, articulate and well meaning apolitical reasonably conservative Gen X-ers to toss their hat in the ring.
Again, fat chance.
The Gen X-ers we’ve got now seem to be doing a good job of poisoning the well. What young person in their right mind would even consider running for Council? No matter how you slice it, there will still be remnants of the toxicity to deal with.
Hey, we’ve had some really excellent young people stepping up as volunteers on committees and commissions. Mike Newcomb and Ben Schultz on Cultural Arts and Leah Brazo on Parks & Rec immediately come to mind. They meet the requirements hands down. They’re all too wise to fall prey to Council Fever, preferring to continue focusing on family and building productive lives out of the limelight.
It’s a catch twenty-two, that’s for sure.
Any young person with the qualities we’re looking for isn’t looking to get trapped into playing local politics. Any young person willing to get involved in local politics likely isn’t the sort of candidate we need.
An odd sort of solution is being bantered about.
There is hushed chatter about putting a measure on the 2014 ballot to elect Mayors instead of this quagmire of conflicting personalities cheap-shotting each other. Maybe that would be an answer. Put an end to the crap once and for all.
What would it take? Interested parties with the financial wherewithal to get the signatures needed (about 4,500 I think) and to mount a campaign to fight the opposition that would certainly come from city hall.
We might just get lucky. Maybe city hall would assign the new Mayor handle the opposition on this one too!