SAN JOSE CITY COUNCIL RETURNED TO SESSION AS OF 12 AUGUST 2014; BUT, THE ITEMS ON THE AGENDA AND ITS CONSENT CALENDAR —NAMELY THAT OF THE HISTORIC LANDMARKS COMMISSION NOMINATIONS — RECEIVED IRE AND CRITICISM, SUCH AS FOR HOW THEY WERE STAGED AT A PRIOR RULES & OPEN GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE.
The Rules and Open Government Committee met as of 6 August 2014, so as to review both yesterday’s 12 August, as well as the upcoming 19 August 2014 City Council Agenda. In other words, select council members discuss and review what will be approved for “consent” during the following weeks. Not only that, but they decide how these matters will be discussed and how things will be decided. In of those regards, some opposing council members are intimating their differences with their colleagues.
This newest Agenda, as of yesterday 12 August, appeared lighter in content than some others which have been seen; however, it seemed to set a tone for the final business of Mayor Reed’s term; that is, before a new Mayor becomes elected.
Performance on this last Consent Calendar, as provided by the last Council Agenda, came off like the force feeding of a goose that’s soon to be slaughtered for pâté de foie gras. At that, a few council members expressed their differences during their so-called review and voting, as per the items that were added to this Agenda’s “Consent Calendar.” That tension became more evident as their guarding peers acted as if there is no guilt in eating pâté, while others are offered merely crumbs from that table.
The city’s Historic Landmarks Commission was the hot topic of the day; but the seeming ire and disgust that came with Item 2.19, “Historic Landmarks Commission Nomination,” was anything but marginal (or insignificant). At the surface, historic landmarks and preservation may seem to be a less pressing or a “life and death” concern; but, nevertheless, it siphoned much attention and touched on many other bigger considerations.
A simple paragraph read as follows, but the simple black-and-white of it does not tell the entire story, by any means:
2.19 Historic Landmarks Commission Nomination.
Memo from Councilmember Rocha
Recommendation: As recommended by the Rules and Open Government Committee on August 6, 2014, approve appointments to the Historic Landmarks Commission:
(a) Appoint Jesus Gomez to an unexpired term ending June 30, 2015;
(b) Appoint Josh Marcotte to a term ending June 30, 2018;
(c) Appoint Patricia Jones to a term ending June 30, 2018;
(d) Appoint Steven Roldan to a term ending June 30, 2018; and
(e) Appoint Romiro Torres to a term ending June 30, 2015.
CEQA: Not a Project. (City Clerk)
* [Rules Committee referral 8/6/14 – Item F(1)(a)]
Moreover, there was a lot of posturing, but it wasn’t all drama and much ado about nothing. Behind the civil tone was much animosity.
It doesn’t take a full lesson in civics to realize that yesterday’s Agenda item 2.19 was symbolic, therein representing the next round within the current political climate at San Jose’s city government. That’s aside from related issues; which, oddly enough, includes “open government” and matters like city planning. After all — and as noted by council members herewith — City Planning and Code Enforcement often interacts with preservation concerns, cultural heritage and the Historic Landmarks Commission.
What happened here, August 12, brings to mind the recent resignation of Assistant Director Laurel Prevetti and the controversies surrounding “Save the Domes” preservation campaign for the Century 21 Theaters (located at Winchester Boulevard). Indeed, although that business is supposedly done, it still appears to have ramifications. For one example, it’s to this day that the city’s website for Department of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement (PBCE) still lists an “Interim Director,” David Sykes, and since resigned Assistant Director, Laurel Prevetti. The Century 21 Theater was being decided during Prevetti’s transition out of office; whereas, it’s been since April/May of this year that Prevetti announced her plans to leave San Jose and take a similar position at the town of Los Gatos.
In of these times, historic preservation and city planning has been an ongoing battle with the current city council; as this last high-profile matter created a firestorm of controversy and divisiveness. The old Century 21 building just recently got approval as a city landmark, as well as added to the California Register of Historical Resources. Although, that came at a high cost, politically, as some council members remained vocally against it. In that contest, the Century 21 Theater was determined eligible for the National Register, therein causing some embarrassment for some council members that wanted to raze (flatten) the domes and raise (erect) a completely new building development in its place. Although that seemingly came to a compromise and at least one dome will be saved, its being pointed out how some of these council members have become retaliatory.
Since the Century 21 Theater decision and its progressions were made, city council took their regular break from session as of this last July, now to return this August. During that hiatus, the political tension was simmering. But, many of them have since returned with what appears to be a counter-attack and dis-empowerment of the opposition.
As key city administrators and other employees continue to resign in various offices and departments throughout the city bureaucracy, boards and commissions; still, its being accused that their replacements are “green” in a number of ways, beyond simple inexperience.
What is more, just within city planning itself, the city has not taken a priority at naming its substitute for Laurel Prevetti, therein leaving that office in an erroneous or unknown position. Such as with public outreach and transparency, citizens currently have no clear direction to address questions. Online searches about city departments still bring-up obsolete information. With that particular office, as well as others, its become like a maze, similar to the craziness of the haunted Winchester Mystery House: there’s a door there, but it opens to a brick wall.
Despite the business of so-called “Rules and Open Government,” its super-ordinate nature — as the committee of other committees — is currently bringing into question the authentic nature of transparent governance (e.g., “sunshine law” and “right to know”).
It seems somewhat obvious that there was a dilemma at the Council Agenda meeting of 12 August; but, that’s highlighted by the lesser known business of the The Rules and Open Government Committee that met as of 6 August 2014. This other session included Mayor Reed, select council members and a few city administrators. Taking a look at those other individuals and their personal stances on previous agenda items, its more revealing as to the politics and divisiveness that is currently playing out during this larger presentation of the “Council Agenda.”
The opening of the “Consent Calendar” of the 12 August Council Agenda began with a statement from Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio, as Mayor Reed asked him to brief. Focusing on item 2.19 Historic Landmarks Commission Nomination, he began by saying with regards to the appointed nominations to such committee:
These were approved by the rules committee last week to fill the vacancies, I understand one of my distinguished colleagues has a high level of interest in the appointments. I am completely open to input from my colleagues, verbally or in writing.
Oliverio answered to the Mayor and City Council, but was indirectly referring to Councilmember Don Rocha, who had authored a Memorandum that challenged his own initiative.
So, this in mind I’d like to make the following motion:
To re-appoint Romiro Torres and Marilyn Messina for terms ending June 30, 2015.
To appoint Jesus Gomez, Josh Marcotte and Patricia Jones for terms ending in June 30, 2018.
Apparently there is not enough support for Steve Roldan, who, in the rules committee, I wanted to appoint. I had chosen Steve because of his interest in historical preservation and his high-tech background. Which, I feel, we need a better representation from the tech sector…
…I’d encourage Steve to apply again for this city commission.
If council would like to change the appointment process…. let’s please consider that… I’m open to anything…how the council would like to do that.
Mayor Reed replied, “All right….the motion is to appoint Gomez, Marcotte and Messina… Those five positions.”
What was understated by Oliverio in the above is that said “re-appointment” refers to the incumbent commissioners that he was originally intending to jilt —as if to suddenly reject or abandon them — for the favor of a new set of commission members. His original intention, as set forth from the Rules Committee, was to appoint four new members, while unexpectedly letting go the incumbents. Of course, Oliverio’s original plan would have change the balance of the commission, such as with terms of continuity and, namely, experience.
As Mayor Reed opened the floor to the public with requests to speak, the following responses to City Council expressed resentment.
First up was Brian Grayson of Preservation Action Council of San Jose (PAC*SJ), who is probably the most obvious critic in these regards, as well as that person who is one of the more visible recipients of much acrimony. On this day, certainly, Grayson did not appear happy with circumstances; but, neither did he seem all that surprised as he put forth a rather mater-of-fact rebuke:
It’s unfortunate that we have to deal with this today. Instead of working to preserve the historic resources of San Jose, we have to spend time trying to preserve the historic landmarks commission. We support the memo submitted by council member Rocha, his proposal is what the Rules Committee should have considered at last week’s meeting.
Not only does his [Rocha’s] proposal bring new people on the commission, but it maintains the expertise and experience of two incumbent commissioners. It also provides broader geographic diversity, than what Councilmember Oliverio was attempting to achieve.
But, this is not just about historic landmark’s commission. It’s about the larger issue of how volunteers are treated by the city.
The two commissioners who originally were not considered for reappointment never had the courtesy of being notified of that recommendation. In addition, the nominees were not even informed of their potential appointment until today. Some of the nominees filed their applications nearly a year ago, but heard nothing from the city until they received the notification today. People who are willing to volunteer their time and service to the city deserve better treatment.
The landmarks commission performs important work for the city and we urge support for Councilmember Rocha’s Proposal.
Also you may have not seen that the Mercury News today, online, posted an editorial regarding this. It didn’t make the print edition, but I would like to have this submitted to the council please.
[Minutes, as recorded per official video: 23:49- 25:04]
To see that editorial from the San Jose Mercury News click the link here.
Grayson presented the editorial to the council members, but most of them seemed to act indifferent and uninformed thereof. It did not have much impact on what followed right thereafter. For instance, Councilmember Rose Herrera acknowledged it; but, after much at-length discussion, she then congenially motioned against its position.
Following Brian Grayson was incumbent commissioner, Marilyn Messina, who appeared calm and gracious, although with a look of being heartbroken or dejected. By comparison to Messina, Grayson does not sit on the commission that’s at topic. But, as the lead person at PAC*SJ, Grayson does concern himself with much of those activities. Even though Messina is personally involved, her follow-up was shorter than that of Grayson’s. Her testimony left a cold and contrasting feeling to that of Grayson’s own heated, stark declaration. In less than a minute, she faced the jilted regards of Oliverio and similar colleagues, while simultaneously expressing appreciation for Rocha’s support. Messina’s words did not need to be long:
I have served as a historic landmarks commission for… [what is] going on two years, from district four. I am here to express my interest in continuing to serve as a commissioner. . I would like a full term, but, I am gratefully to Councilman Oliverio to extend the term that he had originally had recommended, that I not be reappointed. However, I would like a full term and I urge you to reconsider for councilman Rocha’s recommendation. I would also like the Opportunity to thank Councilman Rocha for his thoughtful and reasoned recommendation for reappointment to this Historic Landmarks Commission.
[Minutes, as recorded per official video: 25:27 – 26:20]
Abruptly, the grace of Marilyn Messina was contrasted by the often appearing Mark Trout; a resident at large who is recognized by the Mayor and Councilmembers, seemingly for his frequent grand-standing on personal issues. The Mayor pointed out that his talking points were separate from the matter that was present at hand. Mr. Trout began to say:
I remember when Susan Hammer was the mayor here. She spent, I’m not sure, how much money on the big snake by Market [Street]. It’s a picture [actually, a sculpture] of Quetzalcóatl, where they offered human sacrifice… I’d like to have this city council remove that and put up the [Biblical] Ten Commandments or some Christian thing.
If we think about it, human sacrifice is really not a good thing. That’s what that represents… So, if Susan Hammer knew it or not… and she probably did. She gave lesbians and sodomites marriage cirtifiates. So that’s what got me going down here…in the first place…
[Minutes, as recorded per official video: 26:30-27:12]
Those words went on like that for 42 seconds, until Mayor Reed interjected, saying: “Mr. Trout if you’re going to speak, you need to talk about what we’re talking about….”
Trout, continuing with his “red herring,” then said again: “It is an historic landmark that she put up. I would like that historic landmark taken down….”
Reed again cut into Trout’s words: “you will have to wait until our open forum to talk about other things.”
Reed and fellow council members had nothing to say about Trout’s disparaging remarks about lesbians and gays. That’s despite the fact that Mayor Reed has continued to be criticized by the openly gay County Supervisor Ken Yeager, as well as the LGBTQ community, for his seemingly homophobic and anti-gay politics.
For that matter, Reed and the Council said nothing to address this affront to persons of meso-American heritage, which makes a considerable percentage of the traditional San Jose population.
In such regards, it adds question if Mayor Reed, as well as some of these others, would discriminate against a fellow council member, city employee or volunteer board member? For example, what if Ken Yeager was still a current council member?
Whether its art or an historic structure, will the Mayor speak up and represent its population? Installation of Quetzalcóatl, according to the artist, represents “mythological deities of the Mesoamerican pantheon. It was created for the City of San Jose to symbolize the spirit of social harmony and diversity.” What’s more, does the city council recognize that even the gay community has its own heritage, art and, indeed, historic structure? Would it discriminate and erase on that basis? Does this mayor realize the significance of such erasure?
Without perpetuating confrontation, the Mayor and/or any council member could have stated this point of view. But, they chose not do that. In fact, regards for Susan Hammer were not considered, either.
In the video recorded minutes, Trout’s time at the floor continued from 26:30 to about 27:47, which is a few seconds more than that of Marilyn Messina. She is not a trout or red herring, but regards for Messina and incumbent commissioners was like that of a “fish out of water.”
Now, the allegorical stream of conversation had dried out, such as when the public “testimony” came to a close.
That gentleman, although being called “Trout,” was inferred as looking and sounding more like a “red herring.” But, despite his being dismissed as such, ironically, he did bring to mind some pertinent questions.
The “Plumed Serpent” sculpture at Plaza de César Chávez, also known as Quetzalcóatl, was not brought forth by the Historic Landmarks commission, but administered by City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs in 1994 (so noted by the national Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums).
It can be said that Mr. Trout had mistaken references; but, such is the foolishness that can plague the Historic Landmarks Commission, aside from Cultural Affairs and other boards and commissions. That’s if such wrongful regards are not challenged and/or corrected.
Even from outside, the board of commissioners are regularly mis-regard, dis-regarded, attacked and defamed. But, it goes on from there.
Mr. Trout also believed that this is an “historic landmark,” confusing it with a public work of art that is actually contemporary, although it has historic and cultural symbolism.
Mayor Reed concluded “Public Testimony” as Mr. Trout floundered away. The conversation next turned back to the Councilmembers themselves.
There began Councilmember Sam Liccardo, known lately as the mayoral candidate that’s endorsed by current Mayor Chuck Reed. Lately, Liccardo has been at-large campaigning against County Supervisor Dave Cortese for the Mayoral prominence, whereas he seemed rather amiss with current happenstance at the San Jose City Council Chambers. While supposedly informed and up-to-date on prime-time talking points; still, he didn’t seem to be “in the know” with this day’s Consent Calendar:
I’m just trying to catch up to where we are now.
I understand a memo has been submitted today, I’m just reading it now and trying to understand how exactly we got to where we got.
Perhaps I can ask council member Oliverio to help explain the sorta rational for changing whatever recommendation was made, because I’m honestly not very clear as to why we’re changing exactly.
So, Councilmember Oliverio replied from across the far end of the council chamber: “With my motion?” To which Liccardo nodded a silent yes and Oliverio supplied a rather matter-of-fact and well-suited tone:
Just because one of my colleagues had a strong viewpoint that they would like reappointments.
Again, that refered indirectly to Councilmember Don Rocha, with apparent regards to a few other council members.
And that I had not reached out to anyone on the council.
Therein, Oliverio added a brief side note or acknowledgement. But, this was really a considerable matter with regards to process, as it deals with the affairs of the Rules Committee, of which Oliverio is part. In turn, it also deals with the Council Agenda and its current business at the floor that day. Oliverio then continued…
Typically, these appointments are ones that council members make… reviewing them, coming to some discerning thought and making the appointments.
And, obviously, I see a memo — in writing — that they feel strongly. So I’m willing to accommodate that…
That tone was received with what appeared to be a sense of entitlement and prerogative, much to the seeming exasperation of his colleagues. Oliverio did not appear truly interested, perhaps merely entertaining these points for the sake of public discourse. Oliverio hinted at his disfavor later on. Meanwhile he reiterated his original stance and put forth a seeming compromise:
…to appoint them for the shorter terms, and then back-filling it with new people for the longer term. Instead of giving someone new a short-term.
To those words ended by Oliverio, Councilmember Don Rocha had his chance to address the Council Chambers and set forth an alternative:
I want to thank my colleague Councilmember Oliverio for making those changes.
I’m going to make a substitute motion, I feel strongly about continuing the current individuals on that are on the commission. I don’t think they’ve done work that would warrant removing them. Unless that is the case, I think they deserve another term. So, I am going to make a substitute motion with my memo.
Rocha felt passionately that incumbent commissioners had been inappropriately dismissed, for what appears to be no good or known reason. These individuals, as he forwarded, deserved feedback as to why they were seemingly censured or removed by Oliverio. It was Rocha’s belief that these incumbents should have the chance to serve another term, therein providing experience and continuity.
Mayor Reed took Rocha’s statement and put forward a “Substitute motion on the floor… With memorandum Councilmember Rocha authored.
That then led to the next council member’s address.
Councilmember Rose Herrera went at length trying to seem sympathetic to both sides of the debate; but, in the end, after much discourse and business thereof, she then quite plainly went against Rocha’s memo.
I appreciate both my colleagues input on the subject.
I don’t know if everyone has seen the Mercury News Editorial? But, I think their main point was that they wanted to have the reappointment of those folks, the incumbents.
I think that’s accomplished in either one of these motions.
I appreciate Councilmember Oliverio’s willingness to reconsider and make all those appointments.
[Minutes, as recorded per official video: 29:43]
Herrera’s discourse probably included the most pre-thought; such as to be a blatant contrast to that of Sam Liccardo, who really didn’t have any comments. Liccardo only asked for a brief; whereas, Herrera appeared to have a set of talking points already mapped out. Her talk even tried to appease her dissenting colleagues. A joinder was offered in the following two lines:
I think the terms are less the issue
I would like to see us come together on this.
Herrera’s joinder appeared in a rather Pollyanna like fashion, especially since the “terms” are indeed very much additional to the issue, if not the a central issue. These issues reach beyond this particular committee and its nominations. It’s the precedent for other business, of which her colleagues are upset. “Coming together” is what’s not happening here.
Herrera then flips the page of her discourse, taking it into the next series of matters.
….I have another question
She takes off her glasses and sweeps hair back from her face.
I really think there’s a lot of confusion over how we appoint these commissions in the first place…
I don’t know if every commission now is on the same page with who appoints. But, I definitely think at minimum… we need to publicly show, on the website…
Councilmember Herrera’s discourse was now babbling a bit, as if her brain was seemingly recalling those talking points which she was trying to fulfill. Unfortunately, for a few moments, although she was talking about public issues and the importance of their clarity; ironically, it was not coming across very clearly. For a few seconds, it was not all that fathomable what she was putting forth…
I know that people can go….that are in the [inaudible] commissions… and they can go on the websites and learn the process for applying to those…
But, as a council member, I don’t know…
I don’t know that I understand every commission.
And how it’s appointed
And who has that final authority.
And I think that contributes to where we’re at right now…
She finally came out with it, but each of those short and successive additions still provide incongruity to the logic of the day’s business.
To each of those points could be asked in return:
How can a council member appropriately vote in reference to a commission, without firstly understanding its significance? Should council members be completely informed prior to vote? If they are not, should they delay such action?
If a council member is not sure about “how it’s appointed”; then, is that just another example of why he or she must seek information, so as to not act in haste?
Not knowing the process of appointment and the final authority, would this imply that Councilmember Herrera and her colleagues are not in-step with open governance and transparency? Isn’t this suppose to be the purpose and stipulation set forth by the Rules and Open Government Committee? Is any of this even familiar or taken with priority?
What’s more odd, is that having said all that, Herrera still came forth with more profitless perplexity:
I don’t think that appointing process is very clear. I would like to get it more standardized.
They [the citizens of San Jose] should know what that process is too… its public… it should be explicit…. how these appointments are made…
Councilmember Herrera looked to San Jose City Clerk, Toni Taber for direction, as if these things are not already attributed.
Toni Taber sits on the Rules and Open Governement Committee herself, aside from which her office puts forth all the documents that become the very record of the city’s business and its process.
Taber justly replied:
Tomorrow at the Rules Committee….we’ll be looking at updated appointment process.
We need to get 04 out there for response from rules committee…so all commissions can circulate that draft petition around and get their feedback. When we bring it back to council, we’ll be addressing how HLC [the Historic Land Commission, at subject for discussion] is appointed and we realize that, one, there’s one other, the building code access and advisory board were left out of that structural improvement.
City Clerk Taber primary talked with her technical lingo, directing it towards the Councilmembers; although, she was being pretty straightforward with such regards. In that, she notes the burden of paperwork and process that has been done. Then she notes what’s still not done. Finally, what’s still pressing and… (maybe) what should be on the agenda?
After acknowledging Councilmember Herrera’s points, Taber turns to Councilmember Xavier Campos who began with a hypothetical question:
The other commission that stayed in the same process was Planning, right?
That suddenly brought into question related matters of greater turmoil. It includes the greater breadth of city politics. Campos’ question framed the Historic Landmark Commission within a bigger picture of concern.
Taber’s reply was not political, but remained technical:
Planning [is] in 04… [supposedly, referring to the rules process]
Planning commission, ethics commission, appeals hearing board, retirement board… all quasi-judicial and have their own process…Have their own nominating process.
Campos then came back to say:
The only thing I wanted to add to this — is having served on the planning commission — the historical preservation commission works hand-in-hand with the Planning commission and does a lot of the background that’s valuable when planning is making some very tuff decisions.
Both bodies don’t always agree, but I think they agreed on a number of things, at least in the last ten or fifteen years…
With that said, I think its important to be able to retain experience.
And we got two incumbents that have spent the last four years on this commission… able to provide a lot of good feedback and experience. ….As a planning commissioner, after my first term, it was that much more helpful to have term behind me. …
We sell our city short if we restrict the two incumbents to a half term or mid-term.
So, I will be supporting the substitute motion [by Rocha, opposing Oliverio]
Councilmember Campos’ remarks were soon followed by that of Ash Kalra, who expanded on that same idea:
I would urge my colleagues to support the motion on the floor right now.… [supporting Don Rocha, opposing Oliverio]
We’re not the kings in terms of appointment.
We want to make sure that we have a process that has integrity…and that doesn’t, in any way, have a chilling effect on those that have a desire to serve their city as volunteers…
The last words by Kalra seemed to realize the so-called offer and compromise by Oliverio; but, nevertheless, confirmed the displeasure of his fellow colleagues that were standing in opposition. Kalra continued:
I appreciate some sense of some compromise…. Oliverio’s motion allowing the incumbents to be able to continue to serve.
There’s no reasons that I’ve been given. …They should be allowed to be given the full term. Then allow the new one’s the shorter term. Then you have the opportunity to vet them.
Oliverio replied with a defensive stance; but maintained an overall affront to his colleagues.
All the appointments… have interest in historical preservation and therefore independent. None of them are from my own council district.
That may be true, but at least one of those appointed members, Josh Marcotte, is known as the husband of Mayra Flores de Marcotte, who is an active board member of Willow Glen Neighborhood Association (WGNA). That neighborhood association deals primarily with Willow Glen, of which the majority is in Oliverio’s District 6. The Marcottes are believed to live in District 3, which is technically in the greater Willow Glen Planning area. Their district is that of Sam Liccardo, who supported Oliverio’s case. But, the center plate of WGNA and its social issues is in Oliverio’s District 6. To some extent, it includes a small corner of District 3 (the Gardner area) and south Willow Glen/Cambrian (District 9, of Don Rocha).
For that matter, Councilmember Oliverio also appointed WGNA’s Chris Roth to the Library Commission.
A 41 year grassroots neighborhood association, all of the San Jose City Council, and many of the city’s administrators are aware of WGNA; whereas, Oliverio should know that its Bylaws explicitly forbid a conflict of interest in regards to political nature. WGNA is non-profit 501(c)(4) association that has traditionally stuck to neighborhood social issues.
Section 7. CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Each member of the Board of Directors is to avoid conflict of interest or the appearance thereof between their political, personal, professional, and financial interests and the stated purpose of the Association.
Nevertheless, Chris Roth brags on his own Facebook Page that he is an “Alternate to the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee, the official body of the Democratic Party in Silicon Valley.” At that, Roth attributes this favor to none other than Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio, saying:
Thrilled to have been appointed as an Alternate to the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee, the official body of the Democratic Party in Silicon Valley…. Thank you Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio for your support!
Indeed, at the time of this writing, Chris Roth simultaneously forwards himself as current Board President of Willow Glen Neighborhood Association, even though Bylaws stipulate that this is a conflict of interest.
For that matter, WGNA currently has no 1st Vice President or Treasurer listed, although by its Bylaws and the laws of California, it should appoint a Treasurer. Roth was formerly the Treasurer, prior to taking title as “President.” In consideration of the laws of the State of California, such as for Mutual Benefit Corporations that are a 501(c)(4) organizations like WGNA, there is typically separate and individual appointment for officer positions like President, Treasurer and Board Secretary. Again, holding more than one position is seen as a conflict of interest. So, that adds yet another to the count. It seems that both Oliverio and Roth should know this; as well they should be transparent about Josh Marcotte’s ties to Mayra Flores de Marcotte.
In short, Oliverio has fostered Chris Roth, who not only sits as a commissioner of San Jose’s Library Commission; but, also as an Alternate to the Democratic Central Committee; all the while as Roth still appears to have conflicts with the WGNA Bylaws. Appointing Josh Marcotte to the Historic Landmarks Commission suggests further influence by Pierluigi Oliverio into the affairs of WGNA. That’s despite the fact of which said Board is not fully functional, by admission of its own online posting, seen below:
To get the full records of WGNA in these regards, it would have to be found online from “minutes,” or at the request of WGNA Secretary, Ryan Eliot.
The case in point, is not just “district representation,” but conflicts with any council member and outside interests. As exampled, Oliverio can appeal to Board Members of WGNA, therein influencing the balance of power in that organization. That’s although WGNA is suppose to be a non-political, grassroots and a non-profit association that addresses social issues.
Likewise, it goes the similarly for participation in the Commissions, Boards and Committees of the City of San Jose. Hidden conflicts of interest go against that which is set forth by the Rules and Open Government Committee. Again, Oliverio sits therein, with insight from current Mayor Chuck Reed and Vice Mayor Nguyen, plus Councilmember Constant (District 1).
Regardless thereof, Oliverio finished his retort:
I will be supporting my motion, because I believe it gives more people a chance to serve, by cycling through people.
Therein is yet another irony, coming from Oliverio’s own rhetoric, since its “Cycling through people” which is what his opposition dislikes. Even if Oliverio seemed not to mean it that way, essentially colleagues are implying that he is “milling” out commission seats.
But, with that, Mayor Reed simply bridged Oliverio’s comment, thereby making an easy explanation for his vote:
We have a lot of people that want to serve on our boards and commissions. We have placed term limits on there and we still have lots of people that want to serve. This is a chance to get more people, if they’re all qualified…. all interested in historic preservation.
So, I am not going to support the motion on the floor, I’ll support the original motion [in favor of Oliverio]
So, then came the ire and disgust of Councilmember Don Rocha, but which really came as no surprise:
By appearance, all I can surmise is that this was a political decision.
There really is no compelling reason why these folks shouldn’t be serving a full term, based on their credibility… I’m sorry, credentials.
If this is purely about a political move up here [at the Council Chambers], that’s a failure of leadership…
And I would encourage you to support my motion.
Mayor Reed didn’t seem very moved and simply motioned to complete the order of business:
Well, lets find out, we have motion on the floor… Councilmember’s motion
I count opposed [to Rocha’s motion] : Oliverio, Constant, Reed, Nguyen, Khamis, Herrera, Liccardo. Motions fails… 4-7 vote.
Until that time, Councilmember Pete Constant, Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and Councilmember Johny Khamis had remained silent. In fact, their vote was merely recorded by raise of hand. No words were recorded from them. The video cameras never pointed at them, throughout this entire ordeal.
It was an odd turn of expression by Councilmember Constant; since, in prior months, he had been very vocal in opposition to Century 21’s preservation. Now, he remained silent, hidden in the background.
What is more, both Constant and Vice Mayor Nguyen sit on the Rules and Open Government Committee, including that of Mayor Reed, Councilmember Oliverio and City Clerk Taber.
Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio is the council’s liaison to the Rules and Open Governmnt Committee, which includes seven members. He had the privilege of nominating candidates for five vacancies this month.
Oliverio, like Mayor Reed and Constant, sits on the Rules and Open Government Committee, while all three of them also opposed saving the Century 21 dome theater that incumbent commissioners of the Historic Landmarks Committee deemed historic.
Oliverio led the campaign, along with silence of Pete Constant and Mayor Reed; therein, to rule over his colleagues, as well as that of the Historic Landmarks Commission.
At that, it’s also been rumored that this triumverate will also have influence on the seemingly disarrayed Planning commission and department. That idea, as expressed in the Mercury News editorial that was cited by Brian Grayson of PAC*SJ, is that fewer structures will be salvaged that are “newer than the Peralta Adobe.”
In short, what’s being conveyed is a priorly “done deal,” in advance of the City Council Agenda; whereas, what happens at Council Chambers is now being said to be a pretense. The four dissenters appear to already know that, but nonetheless stand in opposition to Mayor Reed and his gang.
In the bottom line, this is what really drew the ire and disgust of Rocha, Kalra and Campos… and a fourth person tha’s camera-shy. The Council Agenda merely seemed like a practice and outward appearance, not the reality.
So came Mayor Reeds closing, acting like a gavel to what’s already known:
Motion on floor still…Oliverio’s.
Same people, different set of terms: opposed, Kalra, Campos, Rocha…
Motion passes on a 7-4 vote.
Indeed, a “different set of terms” is what was has been gaveled. It begins to set forth a “process,” while the outgoing Mayor still maintains his seat.