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!


8 thoughts on “Comedy Or Tragedy? You Decide.

  1. I have been touting the move to an elected Mayor who would actually run the City of Brea and replace the City Manager as well. Even though the Council doesn’t listen to us an elected Mayor certainly would.

    • Dave… While an elected Mayor may or may not listen to us, there would be a break in this ridiculous deadlock. Perhaps a few sub-fifty people would be more willing to step in and run to replace the senescent members still in office.

  2. Until the electorate, whose taxes support the city, become really informed… there’s little possibility of needed change.

    A list of qualified candidates who understand what a city council does, want to serve and know the commitment required would be helpful in choosing “ballotable” candidates.

    What can be done is a little marketing to get these names, their thoughts and qualifications before Brea voters soon — so when elections come ’round again. some of these folks can get on the ballot and hopefully elected.

    • Raymond… there’s little going on right now beyond speculation, though a couple of folks have been making noises like a candidate. I think you can expect to see more definitive campaigning in the Spring.

  3. Rick, enjoyed your summary of the city situation. While I don’t always agree with your opinions (and I am not referring to current comments) you are a conscientious Council watcher.

    • Pat… I appreciate your following Brea Matters and cherish your comments. I’m glad to hear you view the recent events much in the same light as I do.

  4. If Christine Marick really wanted to change things on the council, she could have nominated Simonoff for mayor, Murdock for MPT and then voted accordingly. As far as I’m concerned, all she did was try to make herself appear to be more independently minded. But when push came to shove, what does she do? She voted in bloc with Murdock and Garcia once again.

    Nice try Mrs. Marick, but actions speak louder than words.

    As long as this city manager is the city council architect; as well as the leading special interest… It is what it is. Hopefully, he will eventually run out of lackeys who want to run for city council.

    Murdock won’t ever get another vote from me and I will vocalize my displeasure with him to fellow Breans.

    • Stephen… As always, you pull no punches. Marick nominating Simonoff for Mayor would have encountered the same death by lack of second as the motions she made. IMHO, neither Garcia nor Murdock was about to do or say anything that would provide admission of their longstanding vendetta against Simonoff or impede their self-serving plans to maintain the imbalance on Council.

      Likely we’ll see O’Donnell resign before we run of of lackeys.

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