Thursday, July 17, 2014

Corrupt Mayor of Vallejo petitions to remake his office into a "dictatorship" in order to let his business allies direct policies

 2014-07-17 by Marc Garman from "Vallejo Independent Bulletin" []:
We all know Mayor Osby Davis is in favor of playing the role of a strong and patriarchal figure. He has also been an advocate of changing our city charter to a  strong mayor form of government.
Now, Davis has placed a call for city council (July 22 meeting) to consider putting a measure on the November 2014 ballot to modify term limits and allow him to stay in office, get full time pay as mayor and act as lord, master, king and DICTATOR of Vallejo. Funny how these things pop up from below the radar at the last minute with the deadline for placement on the ballot looming. Add sneaky to power hungry.
The measure would give him more control over the municipal budget, broader discretionary powers, more staff and the ability to take on many of the duties of the City Manager. Speaking of our current City Manager Dan Keen, it is safe to say it is very unlikely that he would stay on as essentially an adjunct clerk to Dictator Davis.
With Vallejo making great strides in its recovery under the steady hand of City Manager Keen and a divided yet operational council, this is exactly the sort of reckless and disruptive policy upheaval Vallejo does not need. The cost of placing this on the ballot and the tumult to follow should it succeed will cause an immeasurable amount of damage. Imagine the meltdown for Vallejo with Strong Mayor Hermie (I don’t have enough information) Sunga…
The strong mayor form of government has been disastrous in larger nearby cities such as Oakland, which have a considerably greater pool of talent to draw from. Considering the bunker mentality divisiveness and relative incestuous nature of Vallejo politics, this is sure to spell disaster of epic proportions. Don’t forget Davis’ track record of poor judgment…such as his advocacy for the plan of bringing disgraced and indicted former Bond King of Miami Calvin Grigsby in to take on Vallejo’s debt prior to bankruptcy. That was just one birdbrain scheme among many.
Regardless of which side of the political windmill you sit on as a citizen, this is a bad idea for Vallejo. It is a great idea however, if you are one of the well monied special interests who benefits from buying local elections. With only one candidate to buy, the special interest return on investment will be multiplied considerably.
This isn’t really about politics. This is about one man’s quest to destroy any hope Vallejo has of fair and representative governance to satisfy some great and unbalanced egotistical mania for power.
From Agenda for July 22 City Council meeting:

This is a perfect marriage of Special Interests Running Amuck, matched with the Monstrous Ego of someone who is so egotistical and self-serving he is toxic for Vallejo.
There’s a reason that very few cities have Strong Mayor governments, and even fewer than that do it well. It’s a bad idea on so many levels, where to start… Well, how about Vallejo’s own Charter Review Commission, that nixed the idea? You could point to Vallejo’s lack of a talent pool; the fact that you’d be trading the voices of 7 people for the voice of 1; the fact that Special Interests would then only need to control 1 person vs 7, so our city would fall prey to very narrow, powerful interests; the fact that running a city is an actual professional job, closer to a private sector CEO job than that of a Council member…
Dan Keen, our City Manager is doing a good job, truly a great job considering the shape we were in when he got here. He won’t stay under a Strong Mayor government, and that would be a huge loss for Vallejo.
In short, this would be a mistake of catastrophic proportions. I also hate that Davis wants a *special* meeting of the Council to raise it — i.e., a meeting not as well publicized nor well attended. Then there’s his pitch that he ought to have his term limits suspended, because the new position would be different. My God, we already can’t stand you now and are counting the days ’til this term ends.
It’s an absolute outrage.

"Help stop the "Strong Mayor" Initiative!"
Citizens for Vallejo strongly oppose Mayor Osby Davis’s “Strong Mayor” ballot initiative: It’s overreaching and irresponsible -
VALLEJO, CA (July 22, 2014) – With only one week to thoroughly evaluate the proposal, Mayor Davis’s ‘Strong Mayor’ ballot initiative is irresponsible and disrespectful to his colleagues, staff and the public. The ballot language has to be submitted to the Registrar of Voters by August 8 to be considered for the November 2014 election. Citizens for Vallejo (CfV) strongly oppose this proposal and encourages the public to do the same.
“It’s completely reckless to propose a ballot initiative with only one week for city staff and the council to fully vet and consider this policy direction. Let alone the public,” said Karol Heppe, CfV Board President.
Allen Wildermuth, former City Charter Review Committee Member, was surprised to hear the news and thought this issue had been 'put to bed' back in 2008: “Strong Mayor was one topic we considered over several months of review, and it was overwhelmingly rejected by a 14 to 2 vote, because it was deemed inappropriate for Vallejo. It places too much power in one person’s hands. Besides, there’s no other city of our size in the State of California with a ‘Strong Mayor’ form of government further demonstrating that it’s not a good fit for small cities.”
Outraged Anne Carr, CfV Board Member, added, "Rewriting the City's Charter is a major undertaking, one that entails meaningful public input, not just a hastily-called Council meeting to ratify a last-minute ballot measure. This is the kind of thing dictators and tyrants do.  It has no place in the turn-around Vallejo is making, with our strong City Manager, and so many good initiatives, like Participatory Budgeting, and the clean-up of North Mare Island."
Under a ‘Strong Mayor’ form of government, an administrator will still need to be hired to run much of the city’s day-to-day operations. This will result in two highly paid individuals running the city with a total compensation package that will certainly exceed the current City Manager’s compensation.
"Spending $100,000 on  a ballot measure does not seem like a wise use of funds with the city just exiting bankruptcy.  If voters approve the measure, ongoing costs will also increase as the city will still need a highly paid administrative officer in addition to a more expensive Mayor," commented Paul Norberg, retired Chief Financial Officer and CfV Board Treasurer.
Reflecting on Mayor Davis’s numerous ruminations on the city’s impending future deficit, CfV Board Member Stephen Hallett had this to say, "The Mayor recently stated that the city will face further service and employee cuts due to our looming budget deficit. Therefore, it is unconscionable for him to now ask for approximately $100,000 to place this measure on the November ballot as well as demand a massive pay raise. While we make sacrifices, he wants a substantial increase in his salary and benefits clearly demonstrating a lack of leadership and concern for Vallejo citizens that are struggling every day to make ends meet.”
CfV urges the citizens of Vallejo to oppose this initiative by signing its petition and voicing their concerns at the Vallejo City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 22 meeting at 7:00 pm in council chambers, 555 Santa Clara Street.

Update, 2014-07-22 from Dr. Kay:
 I sat through tonight's Vallejo CC meeting from 7 pm until just before midnight. A good outcome...
* 1. It showed that Mayor Davis has not only lost the confidence of his community, but he has also lost the confidence of his fellow councillors by blundering into this abrupt and unnecessary action.
* 2. As Councillor Robert McConnell aptly said, we do not need to waste time and money in changing the city charter. It already enables any mayor to speak out, give annual state of the city  statements, and bring forth proposals on any issue. A mayor is elected to a civic leadership position, which means s/he must lead, or quit.
* 3. Councillor Bob Sampayan displayed great presence of mind and accurate reading of the community spirit in recommending that further action and a meeting be deferred until 'September'... This passed, 5 -2. 
In other words, deputy mayor Sampayan displayed his ability to work in a meaningful and effective way to move Vallejo forwards as a community.
* 4. Councillor Pippin Dew-Costa made it plain  that the Mayor's action took the councillors also by surprise. Councillor Miessner registered her strong disappointment in Mayor Davis's actions in complete defiance of the combined council's agreed action plan.
* 5, Conclusion: Time for Mayor Davis to stand down and Deputy Mayor Sampayan to step into his shoes. He understands that we the people of Vallejo want full communication and respectful and enthusiastic leadership of our great city as it steers its way towards a prosperous future.

Another eye on the situation, from Vallejo resident Sharon M.:
Just an observation since others have shared their thoughts.  This whole issue has caused me a bit of concern because I'm not sure how much truth the public is getting on this matter. Truly, how "surprised" were council members regarding the mayor's proposal? I'm not a council member, work at city hall, nor an I in the loop regarding city politics - yet I've heard about this so called "power grab" for months.    It's hard to imagine  that any member of the city council  could make a proposal without the knowledge of other council members.  Had there not been the uproar and subsequent turnout that we saw this past Tuesday evening   I suspect we would be looking at a different outcome and possibly a  different vote.  My concern is  not Osby Davis, my concern is the truth.  Our local media has certainly failed us in that way

"Vote "NO" to place Mayor Osby Davis's "Strong Mayor" initiative on the November 2014 ballot. The 2008 Charter Review Commitee already showed this would not be good for Vallejo"
Petition by Citizens for Vallejo
The following is a list of both SHORT and LONG RANGE reasons to oppose Mayor Osby Davis's "Strong Mayor" initiative:

The Mayor's proposal for the November 2014 ballot only allows the City Council, staff and the public one week to fullly vet the proposal and make an informed decision to place it on the ballot. Because ballot language is due to the Registrar of Voters by August 8, 2014.

The Mayor's proposal undermines the council's agreement to uphold and honor the approved 2014 Council goal setting agreements, which did NOT include a "Strong Mayor" initiative.
At a time when the city's still in a fiscally fragile state, it will cost the citizens of Vallejo approximately $100,000 to place the initiative on the November 2014 ballot.
After more than a decade of a revolving "City Manager door," the city finally has a strong and competent City Manager. This "Strong Mayor" initiative undermines the City Manager's credibility and sends a strong message that his years of experience and professionalism are not respected or wanted.
If approved for the ballot and the initiative wins, there will be two individuals (e.g., the Mayor and a City Administrator) being paid very high salaries and compensation that will likely exceed the current City Manager's compensation package.

The Council-appointed City Charter Review Committee of 2007/2008 already researched and reviewed the concept of a "Strong Mayor" form of governance for the City of Vallejo. The committee concluded and overwhelmingly rejected the idea in a 14-2 vote and recommendation to the city council to NOT move forward with this form of governance.

A strong Mayor government is less representative of the diversity in a city of any size. Instead of the policy-making of a group of seven or more elected officials, citizens will get the views of a dominant one.

Running a city is akin to managing a large corporation and very few people have those abilities. In addition, very few cities have the talent pool and expertise in public sector finance, large-scale budgeting and large-scale personnel management to manage the day-to-day operations of a city.

Separating operations from policy gives a City checks and balances and better accountability. Without this essential protection, there is great risk for mismanagement and fraud.  Not incidentally, checks and balances are a fundamental aspect of most public and private enterprises.

A "Strong Mayor" form of government is susceptible to corruption. Special Interests only need to control one person vs a Council of seven. The notorious corruption of Tammany Hall, Boss Tweed, Boss Reuf, the Daly machine and many others led to Progressive Era reforms to eliminate Strong Mayor charters.

Strong Mayor charters lead to nepotism and patronage jobs based on political alliances versus professionally-qualified employees.

Text of Petition -
* Bob Sampayan, Vice-Mayor, City of Vallejo
* Jess malgapo, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
* Robert McConnell, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
* Katy Miessner, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
* Rozzana Verder-Aliga, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
* Pippin Dew-Costa, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
Vote "NO" to place Mayor Osby Davis's "Strong Mayor" initiative on the November 2014 ballot.
[Your name]

No comments:

Post a Comment