If you thought Anaheim City Council politics couldn’t become even more dysfunctional, District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno has proven them wrong.
Jeanine Robbins and Wes Jones are part of a cadre of progressive political activists whose lives seem to revolve around using public comments at Anaheim council meetings to flog their cause-du-jour and denigrate those with whom they disagree.
At this Tuesday’s council meeting, Jones accused Murray of acting outside the charter:
“Kris Murray apparently is been going to the Board of Supervisors and according to our charter, the way I understand it, Mayor Tait is the elected representative who represents our city on items like that. Councilwoman Murray does not have the authority to do that, and is in violation of our charter.”
Shortly afterward, Robbins leveled the same allegation with all the nuance of blunt force trauma:
Robbins claims Murray represented herself as speaking on behalf of the City of Anaheim – an allegation at odds with the reality, as this video of what Councilwoman Murray actually said attests:
Murray clearly states she is speaking “as a member of the Anaheim City Council” not on behalf of the City of Anaheim. She noted the Anaheim City Council had approved her Operation Home S.A.F.E. “to support increased shelter and aid and to increase enforcement” and that “Anaheim stands ready, willing and able to assist the County on both fronts.” All of this is true, and stated by Murray speaking on her own behalf.
Do Jones and Robbins believe the Anaheim City Charter prohibits a councilmember from speaking on their own behalf? From standing up at a public forum to state facts and voice their beliefs? The rest of us would be interested to hear this legal theory, since their cockamamie accusation has no basis in the city charter.
Councilman Jose F. Moreno, however, accepted his political supporters’ accusation at face value and proposed setting up an official mechanism for registering such allegations:
“I just want to take note that several residents expressed concern about councilmembers working outside of our charters, so I’m just wondering if our city manager or city attorney might, on our website or maybe in a future communication make the public aware of how they might register a complaint or a concern when they feel the councilmember is working outside of the charter itself. I think it’s really important that the public be able to figure out they register that concern formally.”
When asked by Murray, Acting City Attorney Kristin Pelletier opined that “individual residents of a county, whether they be elected or not, are allowed to appear on their own behalf. I will take a look at the charter provision as requested by another councilmember.”
What little the city charter has to say about the matter plainly backs up Councilwoman Murray. Section 505 states:
“All powers of the City shall be vested in the City Council except as otherwise provided in this Charter.”
Section 504 states:
“The Mayor shall have the primary, but not the exclusive, responsibility for communicating the policies, programs and needs of the City government to the people, and as occasion requires, he or she may inform the people of any major change in policy or program.”
“Primary but not the exclusive responsibility for communication” – that means the charter permits a councilmember to do exactly what Murray did. Robbins and Jones might have bothered to actually read the charter before making their bogus public allegations that Murray violated it; these are folks who insist those who disagree with them haven’t done their homework. Councilman Moreno should have done the same.
Or maybe they did. Judging by Ms. Robbins’ record of venomous rhetoric, she’s less interested in safeguarding the charter than in trying to silence opinions with which she disagrees.
Thanks to Moreno’s indulgence of this nonsense, the next council meeting will feature a pointless public hearing whose only purpose would seem to be making Murray or Lucille Kring or anyone else on this progressive cadre’s naughty list think twice about using their office as a bully pulpit. Robbins and her husband regularly castigate those who differ from their opinions as wicked people who engage in “hate speech” and are comparable to klansmen and Nazi death camp guards. That’s the kind of speech intended to shut people up – and that is what they’d like to do to Councilwoman Murray and others who do differ with them homelessness.
Moreno’s suggestion of a formal mechanism for registering these bogus complaints ought to be mercifully forgotten. Citizens already have avenues: they can e-mail the mayor and city council, or do what Robbins and Jones did and pipe up during public comments – what the 1st Amendment refers to as our right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”