Comedy Or Tragedy? You Decide.

justiceThe 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.

marick_300When 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.

garcia_300After 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.

moore_300Look, 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.

murdock_300Now 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.

marty_300Another painfully long silence while Murdock and Garcia prayed for a second from either Moore or Simonoff. Fat chance. Moore gave Simonoff a look that asked, “Should I?” and Simonoff replied with a glance of his own 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’s response appears mixed. (Rev. 12/08)

Marick was clearly surprised my her nomination and her reaction could easily be described as at odds with what was obviously happening. Though the little discussion that accompanied motions thus far was hollow rhetoric, I would have welcomed an opportunity to hear how Marick felt at that moment. The political correctness crippling public discussion dictates we’ll likely never know.

At the encouragement of several readers I had to revisit the video of Tuesday’s meeting. Upon closer inspection, I must amend my reporting of the final vote. It was unanimous. Not so much in defense of my original account, but while almost inaudibly muttering her consent, Marick clearly appears to be shaking her head no.

What could possibly be a solution?

politician_liar_150We 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!


War And Peace.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Let me take this opportunity to replay a little history and set the record straight.

schweitzer_300Thanks to Don Schweitzer, who in 2010 decided to upset the apple cart and push Garcia for Mayor in the final year of his first term, longstanding tradition was tossed out the window just to let Garcia run for reelection as the seated Mayor. Schweitzer, Garcia and Beauman ganged up and got their way, bypassing Moore as Mayor and Simonoff as Mayor Pro Tem.

Those that care will remember what a calamity the 2010 election became with the worst mudslinging and lack of campaign ethics in Brea’s history. And in the midst of the turmoil, a least likely most unworthy candidate slipped into office.

The following year, Moore was tossed a bone when Schweitzer, Garcia and Murdock gratuitously gave him the Mayorship. They once again snubbed Simonoff by making Schweitzer Mayor Pro Tem so he might end his third generation political career as Mayor.

Schweitzer, Garcia and Murdock had their way in 2011 putting Schweitzer in as Mayor, Murdock in as Mayor Pro Tem and rebuffing Simonoff for the third year in a row.

December 2012, in an unprecedented shift in reorganization process, Schweitzer required a formal motion to nominate a Mayoral candidate and in the ensuing confusion Brett suggested he was unready to hold the position of Mayor and nominated Garcia instead. Following poor counsel from City Attorney Markman, Moore was disallowed making a substitute motion to nominate Simonoff.

Flipping the fickle finger of fate in Simonoff’s face, a quid pro quo guaranteed Murdock an unheard of second sequential term as Mayor Pro Tem, and assured him of running for his second term as Mayor just like his buddy Garcia did two years before.

lincoln_criesFinally, the night of December 3, we observed what will likely become known as the most dreadful changing of the guard in Brea History. But that’s another blog. I’ll let you digest this and then I’ll give you a blow-by-blow recap of the Revolting Reorganization.


It’s Deja Vu All Over Again.

Last night’s Council reorganization couldn’t have been any more bizarre or ridiculous had it been written and directed by Woody Allen.  The gracious exit of one Mayor, the selection of a new Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem has been a time honored annual celebration of leadership.  Recent years have seen this tradition collapsed into a clash of political opinions and personal agendas.


My first response to what I observed was to toss in the flag and charge unsportsmanlike conduct.  The little cartoon above will have to suffice for now.

The Decision On The Field Is Being Reviewed.

It would be inappropriate for me to dash off a quick and poorly considered replay.  Brea Matters readers deserve a more thoughtful and complete recap of the Council reorganization.  I’m working on it and, within a day or so, it should be posted.

All good things come to those who wait…  your patience is appreciated.