Interesting City Council meeting last Tuesday night. On the agenda there was an item that was recommended by the city Attorney Grant Weed to be placed on the agenda and brought before the council. This item was included to ensure the city was following the most recent court decisions and was placed on the agenda as a policy change to protect the city from a possible future lawsuit. We are not going to get into the details of the proposed city policy but instead the process that was unfair to the citizens that attended the meetings and also the interesting comments to the council and citizens that occurred during the meeting.
The wide majority of the crowd at the meeting was there for this one issue. It was on the agenda and information was included in the agenda package that was available to the council and the citizens on the previous Friday. The issue was never heard by the council and the citizens that attended never got a chance to participate. The council had adequate time to prepare themselves to hear this issue but instead they short circuited the process by removing this item from the agenda leaving the citizens that came to speak without an issue to speak to.
During the approval of the agenda Council person Tara Hizon made a motion that this item be tabled. This was done for the supposed reason that there was much more important issue for the council to deal with that night. Her comments were more than a bit confusing because Tara Hizon insisted that this item was being tabled when in fact it was being removed from the agenda and not tabled.
After tabling, or removing from the published agenda, the issue that the majority of the public came to hear and participate in was no longer on the agenda. During the open comment period 8 or 9 people commented on that issue in fact all the comment were concerning this issue except for 2 people. Both of these other commenter’s comments were notable.
First speaker was a citizen who is a self anointed “city council watcher” and well known supporter of certain members of the council. He attempted to apologize to the citizens in the councils name and place the blame directly on the Mayors shoulders for the agenda item and the fact that it was removed from the agenda. He did not speak to the council and the mayor, he spoke directly to the audience and seemed to be speaking for the council itself except for the notable exception he made towards Jim Campbell. He was correct in saying that the Mayor and administration added this to the agenda for the council to decide upon but that is how our system works. We have seen in the very recent past how our previous Mayor and administration ignored clear and direct warnings of liability and now our city is facing $14,000,000.00 in possible liability with the Native American grave fiasco during the downtown street rebuild.
It was amazing to see this supporter of certain members of the city council apologizing to the public for the councils actions and attempting to place all blame on the Mayor especially on an issue that was to prevent the city from the possibility of a lawsuit and was the duty of the Mayor to include on the agenda for the council to hear.
The second notable speaker was a gentleman reminding us that the filing period for city council candidates is soon approaching. He suggested to the council that they have been being watched since their past election and the people have been judging them ever since. He also alluded to the fact that many in the council who are up for election should be worried because of the citizens of Oak Harbor have been watching the councils actions, antics and arguments and suggested they may be surprised come the November election. We could not agree more.
This is why the citizens of this city need to take their city council back from those that are mere puppets of these “city council watchers” who obviously not only manipulate those on the council but then apologize for their actions during public meetings. This was a shameful display and prime evidence that there are those on our council who work for others and not the citizens of our city or for the best interests of our city.
Below is a video that was edited from the original recordings available from the city. They have been edited for brevity and include Tara Hizon speaking about removing the agenda item. The first citizen speaking for the city council and placing all blame on the Mayor. And finally the gentlemen speaking and reminding the council that we are watching…a classic in it’s own right and a very apt comment to the council considering the antics and arguments that happened at that nights meeting.