Great Moments in Public Deliberation
by Mark Scaramella, February 10, 2010
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Meeting, February 2, 2010. Agenda Item: Approval of Minutes.
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Board Chair Carre Brown: I think the Clerk put 6c on the agenda, discussion. There was one item and I think Supervisor, uh, uh, Colfax alluded to the fact that it was only his choice that that was to be on there as a reconsideration. But the discussion that was going on between Supervisors Pinches and Supervisor Colfax, or, not Colfax, McCowen, um, obviously it had not concluded and that was on the tape. You were discussing… What was it you were discussing? The…
Supervisor John Pinches: Yeah, but we took a vote, it was a 2-2 vote.
Supervisor Kendall Smith: Yeah.
Brown: That was not the issue. There was continued discussion. We took a vote. That was not the issue of why the whole thing came back. Uh, Supervisor Pinches, you were talking and debating with Supervisor McCowen about the duplication of fees for applicants.
Pinches: I was asking the question, how can we took the vote? I believe, that's the reason I was asking the question.
Brown: You asked the question.
Pinches: How come they have to come back and pay another fee application? And they said yes. So that's different. That's a different issue. That was after the vote.
Brown: We weren't voting on the board meeting. The whole issue hadn't concluded according to the clerk. I was listening to the tape, and we were still… All three votes had concluded.
Supervisor John McCowen: Madam Chair. We took action and the minutes reflect that we took action. Motion fails. That was that item. Chair Brown presiding. That indicates we went on to something else. The something else was what is listed here as the board directive. I was waiting until the conclusion of all those items to raise the issue of bringing back as an agenda item a discussion of did we want to continue the moratorium or not. And that's what these comments refer to and we had a full discussion of that and we agreed that yes it was going to come back as an agenda item. I first raised it saying I want it to be an agenda item. You said you agreed with that. The Clerk of the Board asked, Is that a consensus? You looked around and asked, Is that a consensus? Nobody objected. So that direction was given that that had come back and it was after that that the power went out and we took a recess. So we had concluded action. I believe county counsel concurs with that. That's my recollection, Supervisor Pinches. Supervisor Smith. We all had the same recollection of that item.
Brown: Well, we did take action on all three that were listed.
Brown: But we didn't conclude the discussion about bringing back… I mean, that's how I felt. I listened to the Clerk. So I'm not sure. What he…
County Counsel Jeanine Nadel: I guess we have to distinguish between the action item and then the discussions that go on after that. A lot of times you will discuss issues after you've taken a vote. That doesn't necessarily mean… That's not part of the action though. So I think the confusion here was there was ongoing discussion but you'd already taken action but then you started in on another discussion.
Brown: Well, I think the confusion started here because of the gentleman that was here. And it was on the agenda. And they concluded that it was going to be further discussed. They got up during public comment and I asked them to wait until we got to the item not knowing what they were coming back to… to speak to. So, um, I just want to say I think it's confusion all the way around. Obviously, um, there, there was a lot of confusion. I'm just trying to say the Clerk did not try to bring something back to further action on any of those three items. It had to do on the moratorium. We did not finish discussion.
Pinches: We'll blame it on the City of Ukiah. They turned the power off.
McCowen: I'll second that. And, um…
Brown: But we do need to give direction.
McCowen: No. We need to, uh, approve the minutes. So what I was…
Brown: What I meant was…
McCowen: I'd like to…
Pinches: Madam Chair, I call the 5:30 rule.
Brown: I think I'm getting tired.
Board Clerk Kristi Furman: Can you please hold on for 30 seconds?
Pinches: No more than 30 seconds!
McCowen: [Immediately] So the only clarification is the way this reads, General consensus of the board to direct staff to agendize a policy discussion of applications for UVAP during the current process and the intent of what I was asking for was not to accept applications for UVAP, but to, to, uh, to process land use and zoning change applications prior to the completion of the UVAP, therefore ending the moratorium.
Pinches: Which is just exactly what we did on the Savings Bank issue.
McCowen: Well, we did. And so now as Supervisor Smith has suggested, we should have had the policy discussion first so this is a call to have the policy discussion so we're not doing it by…
Pinches: By de facto we implemented the policy.
McCowen: Well, but this will make it…
Pinches: And that's what we did!
Smith: So we need a discussion.
McCowen: But this would make it clear to everyone so that they, so that Planning and Building doesn't have to come in if they get another application…
Pinches: If anybody watching this isn't totally confused by now…
McCowen: I agree with you.
Pinches: We're even putting the Sheriff to sleep and he's supposed to be wide awake!
McCowen: So I don't think personally, we need a wording change with the clarification that I just stated and with that I would move approval of the minutes of January 26th.
Brown: [Sighs.] It's been moved and seconded. Any other statements or directions, or…
Smith: Please! No!
Brown: Ok. I'm sorry.
Pinches: All those in favor.
Brown: All those in favor say aye.
[All say "aye."]
Brown: Opposed? [silence] Hearing none, I think we have some approved minutes. So, um, further, do you want that policy to come back?
McCowen: Yes. I think we…
Pinches: We've already implemented it! We've already implemented the policy! Why are we gonna bring that back?
McCowen: It can be on consent calendar. Madam Chair if you please.
Brown: Oh, we can't have it on consent calendar. That's too big of a discussion!
Pinches: Why make… Why make more work?
McCowen: It can be a very short item.
Pinches: Let's get out of this makin' work for ourselves.
McCowen: Well, right now staff thinks there's a policy.
Pinches: It's kinda like stackin' your wood three times. You just don't do it.
McCowen: Staff believes there is a policy. Not a process. So I think staff would like direction.
Brown: Ok, we're going to go back to the consent calendar.