There’s been a lot of hand-wringing and violin-playing from Councilmembers Jose Moreno and Denise Barnes and their minions – claiming the council majority is being tyrannical and stifling free speech due to a few instances of tabling Moreno items with little discussion.
This criticism is hollow and hypocritical given how Moreno and Councilmember Denise Barnes staunchly supported Mayor Tom Tait’s frequent use of tabling to squelch the council minority during 2017-2018.
Tait-Moreno-Barnes Table TransparencyOn August 15, 2017, Councilwoman Kris Murray had an agenda item to amend the city’s Sunshine ordinance, including strengthening its transparency, conflict-of-interest and lobbying restriction provisions.
The proposed amendment could have potentially required Mayor Tait to recuse himself on Stadium-related votes. Tait killed Murray’s amendment by moving to table it. Barnes seconded the motion, and Moreno and Vanderbilt voted for tabling – which passed 4-3.
Tait-Moreno-Barnes Table Public Safety
Also on that agenda was an item, requested by Councilmember Lucille Kring, for the city to oppose SB 54, the Sanctuary State legislation.
When the item came up, Tait attacked it as “divisive,” said he didn’t want it discussed and moved to table it. When Kring objected that she wanted the staff report and a discussion, Tait gaveled her down and asked for a second – which Barnes dutifully supplied.
Did Moreno intervene on Kring’s behalf? Did he movingly orate that even though councilmembers have different persepctives and opinions, they – as elected officials – owed it to the people to dicuss them publicly?
He sat there in silence and quietly voted to table Kring’s item.
“Democracy at its finest, eh, Tom” said Kring as Tait hammered away with his gavel in an attempt to shut her up.
“These are the rules that are passe by this council,” Tait admonished Kring. “A motion to table does not take debate.”
When Tait attacked Kring’s item while denying her the opportunity to respnd, did Robbins and the rest of the gang boo and jeer squelching of debate?
On the contrary – they cheered him on and booed Kring when she demanded to be heared.
Of course, this exercise was entirely political. Moreno would be up for re-election in a year, and Tait wanted to spare Moreno him from casting a controversial vote.
Tait-Moreno-Barnes Table Support for the Anti-Camping Ordinance
Two months earlier, at the June 20, 2017 council meeting, Tait used a tabling motion to kill a motion by Murray and Kring directing to continue affirm support for the anti-camping ordinance and continue comprehensive homeless services and effort to protect the general public.
Mayor Tom Tait – again seconded by Barnes – moved to table the motion by Murray and Kring. Moreno and Vanderbilt voted to table – killing it.
Tait-Moreno-Barnes Table Taxpayer Protection
For the July 31, 2018 council meeting, Councilmember Kris Murray agendized a common sense ballot measure to strengthen the Anaheim Taxpayer Protection Act.
Tait moved to table it, presumably to spare Moreno from casting a vote that would be used against his re-election bid. Barnes, naturally, seconded it.
No hand-wringing about tyranny and dissent from Moreno.
Knee-Deep In Hypocrisy
Barnes was the Tabling Queen, automatically seconding every motion by Tait to kill discussion via tabling.
For all his current talk about discussion and debate and collegiality, Moreno was a silent accomplice while Tait weaponized tabling.
When their guy – Mayor Tait – tabled items, they cheered him and jeered those being table. When Mayor Sidhu does it, he’s a tyrant. It’s absurd.
Moreno and Barnes summoned the genie, and now they’re upset now that it has turned on them. Moreno cries “tyranny!” while Barnes accuses the council majority of being racist.
The hypocrisy of Moreno, and the Robbins and the rest of them is knee-deep, and renders their presnet complaints hollow and cynical.
The only real question is whether these folks are acting out of hypocrisy or are lacking in self-awareness – or some cocktail of both.