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By Miriam Raftery

October 11, 2016 (La Mesa) –  At today’s 4 p.m. meeting, La Mesa City Council will consider a proposal introduced by Council members Bill Baber and Kristine Alessio that would require signatures  of two  Council members to place any item on the agenda.  Under the proposal (item 10 on the agenda), all requests must also be made in writing, be relevant to the official business of the City, and submitted with any pertinent materials by the Wednesday prior to a Tuesday Council hearing.

Until now, any member could ask to add an item to the agenda and seek full discussion, sometimes at the request of a concerned citizen. 

The action could potentially stifle a dissenting voice from bringing items forward in a public hearing. However Terry Francke,  general counsel of Californians Aware,  says the measure does not violate Brown Act government requirements and that requiring more than one member to put an item on an agenda is  not uncommon.

Asked his reasons for introducing the measure, Councilman Baber told ECM,”I’m trying to standardize how things get on the docket. I couldn’t believe it doesn’t have to be in writing.”  He also felt the clerk should have “reasonable timeless” to handle documentation for agenda  items. 

As for limiting items to those with at least two council member signatures,  he pointed out that while any member currently can add something to an agenda and make a public statement, it  already requires a motion to second before any discussion can take place. “Politicans like to grandstand,  and this limits grandstanding,” he told  ECM today.

Today’s agenda also includes appointment members to the Youth Advisory Commission.

In addition, the consent calendar has eight items ranging from appointment of a Planning Cmmission member to authorizing the Mayor to sign a payment agreement with the County for a Next Generation Regional Communications System. 

View full agenda.

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Sometimes one person can start a movement though.

I'm thinking of when Jan Hedlun in Potrero got elected and tried to rescind a vote allowing Blackwater to build a training center.  She filled a roomful with angry residents.  The Board still wouldn't rescind its vote,  and they all got recalled except for Hedlun.

There are less drastic examples in other cities I've scene, where once a council majority saw a large crowd turnout and realized a lot of citizens cared about something,  some got educated and decided to support what a lone councilmember introduced. 

Besides Council members,  the public can speak on agendized items, too,  remember.

Or.... could be like the Alpine Planning Group. An item only gets on the Agenda if the Chairman permits it. You can connect those dots on your own.

I can see how this might

I can see how this might squelch a councilman, that one lone "voice in the wilderness," who wants nothing more than to make his case to the public.