Dear League Members and Friends,
On Tuesday, April 9, the Council voted four to three to cut their regularly scheduled meeting times in half - from four Tuesdays a month to two. July and August are on the ‘summer schedule’ with two regularly scheduled meeting each month. ( CC RPT 27a )
Final approval of the ordinance is on the Tuesday, April 23rd Consent Calendar. Council member Melendrez has told us he will pull the item.
We have written Mayor Bailey and asked him to veto approval of the ordinance – we ask you to join us in this effort. (City Charter Article IV Sec 413 ‘Adoption of Ordinances and Resolutions)
We could go on at length about why we think limiting City Council meetings’ frequency is a bad idea, but for now, our emphasis is on the process that brought this item to the April 9th agenda.
Council members Conder and MacArthur had the item placed on the agenda on Friday, April 5th for discussion at the Tuesday, April 9th Council meeting. Four days before the meeting – just within the 72-hour limit for adding items to a City Council agenda.
It is our understanding that abbreviated notice is reserved for urgent or emergency items. It’s difficult to understand the urgency in limiting citizens’ access to their City’s full governing body.
A couple of other points….
• Without a clear definition of why this item was so urgent, the Council could be violating its own Sunshine Ordinance Sec 4.05.050 B (1) and D (2)
The Council Memorandum makes no mention of urgency, nor was it part of the discussion by the Council on April 9th.
• Three of the four Council members who voted in favor of changing meetings’ frequency are retiring in two to seven months. It makes much more sense to bring this item up for a full and thorough discussion when the new Council is seated – in fact, with new members who will be serving five-year terms.
Please join the LWVR Board in sending an email to Mayor Bailey and ask him to veto the ordinance.
We don’t know if he is considering a veto, or it may not be necessary if a Council member changes his vote on Tuesday night - but we believe the Council has shown little regard for the publics’ input concerning a very public matter.
At least, the Council needs to know that now they have our full attention and we will be monitoring their actions.
Much thanks for your membership in Riverside’s League of Women Voters.
Joan Donahue, President
League of Women Voters Riverside