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    The Council's Rightful Role Re The Mayor's "State of the City"

    (Jan. 11, 2005) -- After the President of the United States delivers a State of the Union address, members of Congress respond. Usually, it's something like, "I welcome the President's plan to (fill in the blank) but..."

    After the Governor of CA delivers a State of the State message, state Senators and Assemblymembers respond. Usually, it's something like, "I welcome the Governor's initiative to (fill in the blank) but he didn't say..."

    After Mayor Beverly O'Neill delivers her latest State of the City address, LB City Councilmembers are entitled to respond in exactly the same way as their federal and state legislative counterparts.

    The President, the Governor and the Mayor deliver their "State of" addresses to legislative bodies because it is lawmakers -- not the President, not the Governor and not the Mayor -- who decide how much is spent and for what.

    The President, the Governor and the Mayor report to legislators, not vice versa. Self-respecting lawmakers do not allow themselves to be silenced in this process.

    For several years, Mayor O'Neill has gotten away with discouraging LB Councilmembers from taking their rightful place in this public process.

    First, she changed the State of the City message -- a City Charter mandated duty -- from respectful delivery in the City Council Chamber into a fundraiser for the LB Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Second, she changed what is supposed to be a sober assessment of the State of the City -- its problems and solutions -- into an intoxicating cheerleading session.

    The truth is, the State of the City message is an agendized City Council item because it's a legal obligation for the Mayor. Councilmembers -- to whom the Mayor is supposedly reporting -- have every right to comment on what the Mayor said during that agendized opportunity. So does the public.

    They are entitled to speak about what the Mayor said...and what she chose to omit.

    They are entitled to comment -- proudly, unapologetically -- on what they think needs to be done on issues that confront this city. For Councilmembers, that's their job. For the public, that's their right. will post the Mayor's 2005 State of the City message on our web site.

    We'll also report what LB Councilmembers, and others as newsworthy, say in response to the Mayor's assessment of the state of this city.

    We'll let you see how LB lawmakers treat their role in this important public process.

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