Term Limits: Debate Or Debacle?

council_aAs term limits, once again, entered the public discourse last Tuesday evening I was reminded of something my dad said to me and my brothers on countless occasions, “Knock that crap off!”

term limitsThings started sliding downhill when comments were made during Matters From The Audience by the very people (former elected officials) who blocked any discussion of term limits when Steve Vargas raised the question in 2000 and Roy Moore asked to put it on the agenda in 2002.

While no one else who spoke specifically favored term limits, they acknowledged it’s timeliness, underscoring the complex options and how appropriate it is to hold a public debate.

ParkerFor almost an hour Council “discussed” the matter where some members resorted to language, accusations, gestures and tone of voice that violated all five guidelines Council adopted in their Code of Conduct covering behavior in public meetings. The lack of civility during Council’s debate was alarming and reminded me of how petty and political municipal government has become.

Councilman Simonoff, a perpetual opponent to term limits (considering running for an unprecedented sixth term) dug up an obscure response I made to someone commenting on Brea Matters four years ago. “The notion that anyone has an expiration date after which they are no longer capable of contributing to society is preposterous.”

SimonoffWell, four years have passed. Since then, especially this past year as Mayor Simonoff orchestrated the most unproductive Mayoral year I can remember, he consistently has kicked the can down the road on important issues.

Was he hoping to avoid any possible new blemishes on his record as he prepared his attempt to set a city record for consecutive terms in office? Seems more than plausible.

No worries Councilman Simonoff, you could continue to contribute to society by volunteering at the Senior Center or with the Brea PD as a VIPS Officer. As far extending your career in politics… twenty is plenty.

Finally, as the vitriolic exchange ran it’s course and everyone had ample opportunity to share their opinions, Mayor Marick put a lid on the embarrassing and unproductive runaway discussion… bringing a voice of reason to the proceedings.

MarickShe pointed out that neither the upcoming meeting of Brea First addressing term limits and campaign finance reform nor the floundering Brea Envisions project facing another nine months before completion, was an appropriate place to kick the can.

Further, to ward off a threat from outside the community to collect signatures and jam a “two terms and out” term limit initiative on November’s ballot, Mayor Marick pointed out it’s Council’s responsibility to manage the discussion and to act upon the majority opinion in a timely manner.

Staff was instructed to come back with recommendations, amongst other things, on how best to conduct a public forum on campaign finance reform and term limits.

This seems to be a perfect place to share a recent comment posted on medium.com by Vice President Biden, “Our country’s history is studded with moments where we’ve found a way to moderate the extreme reactions that threaten to tear us apart — and find a path to progress. It’s when we’re truly at our best.”

So, as my dad used to say, “Knock that crap off!”

This isn’t rocket science or tiered water rates. There is no reason we can’t have civil discussions about term limits and campaign finance reform – and reach a consensus about how we wish to formally deal with these issues in a way that will benefit the community for generations to come.

To view the meeting yourself, go to Brea’s website and click the “Meeting Index” tab, then 11 Matters from the Audience and 14 Term Limits Discussion.

term limits


The Buck Passes Here.

Mayor Mumbles McEloquent outdoes himself.

garcia_jester_200Anyone who watched last night’s Brea City Council meeting (or catches it on public access over the next couple of weeks) will know exactly what I’m talking about.

The Mayor was in rare form.

I’m not sure what I found more obnoxious, his never-ending stream of inane attempts at humor, usually at the expense of someone else, or his repeated buck passing.  We’ve all grown accustomed to the Mayor’s propensity to hog the spotlight and his penchant for saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Thankfully, the shame and embarrassment he brings to the community has a twelve month shelf life and there’s little likelihood he’ll run for a third term… successfully.

What are you really concerned about, Ron?

jester_aTo even the most casual observer it would appear that you’re far more worried about that fragile reputation of yours than about the serious issues facing the city today.

We get it Ron, none of Brea’s problems can be laid at your feet.  You’ve done an absolutely faultless job for over six years, have always been open and honest with your constituents and have never made a mistake in carrying out your duties.

There are exceptions to every rule.

rgarcia_stacheYou’re perfect… except for taking credit for things that others have done. Oh, and for a couple of fiscal faux pas like voting yourself a raise and handing the City Manager an obscene and unwarranted salary (referring to him as “Mr. Mayor” last night was undoubtedly your finest Freudian slip).  And maybe treading so close to the edge of violating the Brown Act that you actually woke up the City Attorney.

On the other hand, how delighted we are to know that you’re willing to fight for our right to speak our piece from the podium and that you’ll never deny anyone’s right to openly discuss any matter in a public forum.  We salute you.

This is the stuff of great legacies!