Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Stunting Progress

Jorge Vera placed this item on the city council agenda:  Discussion with possible action for recall procedures to go before an oversight committee to validate claims.  Vera is facing a recall after being arrested for cocaine possession and making a false report.  The merits of his item I'll discuss later, but first I want to speak of how the council behaved last night.

Vera introduced his two items at the end of the meeting.  However, when he got to the one I included above, he decided to table it.  George Altgelt was already at the podium ready to speak.  There was some back-and-forth between council members, and they had to clarify that a comment couldn't be allowed because the item was now tabled.  Jorge Vera did an honorable thing and un-tabled the matter so Altgelt could speak.  But as soon as the local attorney started his presentation, he was interrupted by the city manager, and chastised by Roque Vela Jr.  Via the LMT:
"You had your time during public comment ... All of a sudden Councilman (Vera) is here ... cameras are rolling.  Now you want to talk?"
First thing, cameras are rolling during public comments too, and second, Roque Vela, you're an asshole!  What difference does it make when George Altgelt, or anybody for that matter, decides to speak?

The mayor interjected to let Altgelt speak, but mentioned that he had a minute and a half left.  The speaker protested the interruptions, but he wasn't allowed more time to voice his concerns.  It didn't make any difference because a request to table the item was made again, and council approved it.

It got testy, and Altgelt had some parting words for Jorge Vera:  "You had a brief moment of bravery, Councilman Vera."

It's embarrassing how city council and the city manager bully people that show up to challenge them and their policies.  And what's equally frustrating are the ones who sit by and let it happen, not defending people's right to speak before city council.

At any rate, Jorge Vera is facing a recall vote tonight.  People in his district signed a petition, that was partly spearheaded by George Altgelt, to have him removed.  But even though we know that Vera contacted the assistant police chief, and the night commander the night of his arrest, and that cocaine was found in his vehicle, he is remaining steadfast in proclaiming his innocence.



He interfered with administration the night of his arrest; He submitted his statement of innocence to the ethics committee; and now he's trying to interfere with anyone trying to put forth any efforts to have a city official recalled.  For somebody who is supposedly innocent, he's working very hard to put up roadblocks to any pushback coming his way.

This is the government we deserve.  Not because we don't vote, but because our voices aren't heard.  We could have our voices heard, but what good is it if we have a city government that doesn't allow our speech?



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