At the Sept. 4 City Council Open Forum, Councilman McBain cut off Aaron Salloway’s remarks concerning city financial matters which included comments specific to the city retaining an outside negotiator and advisor for all future employee negotiations. Mr. McBain declared such discussion was not City business and was merely election posturing. Mr. McBain wished to stop any further comments from Mr. Salloway.
City Attorney Curry disagreed and opined that Mr. Salloway’s remarks related to City business and can be allowed. Evidently Councilman McBain wishes to curtail our First Amendment rights, alter the long history of open forum in Piedmont and stop residents from addressing the Council as to how their taxpayer money is spent.
At the same Open Forum, Ryan Gilbert stated that the City has provided false information on the proponent ballot rebuttal argument. The offending statement is the closing remark of the proponent rebuttal, that the City Council has unanimously endorsed the Measure Y parcel tax. This is a misstatement as the Council passed no resolution in that regard and has not unanimously endorsed the Parcel Tax.
The error was then publicly acknowledged by City Administrator Grote, Mayor Chiang and the rebuttal’s author, Councilman Wieler. Asked directly by Mr. Gilbert, Geoff Grote stated the City will take no action to correct the ballot and declared that residents could go to court to correct the matter.
The City has placed the burden and the responsibility of correction of the City-generated rebuttal misstatement on the voters. The sanctity of the ballot box is fundamental to our Democratic system, yet the City will take to action to remove false information which it created. The City should obtain a writ to remove the offending language from the ballot. Short of that the City can notify voters by a city-wide mailer. To do otherwise indicates that City Hall will provide false information to voters and will take no action to remove the misstatement.
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