(June 13, 2003) -- What's wrong with JetBlue Airways paying some firm to ask voters a series of carefully formulated questions about their attitudes toward LB Airport? Nothing.
What's wrong with a member of the City Council using misleading pretenses that ambushed the public and used the city's legislative body to stage what should have been a corporate press event? In our view, everything.
The former is fine. In our opinion, the latter merits Council censure.
We like Councilwoman Kell. She probably thinks she's done nothing wrong. That's the problem.
As reported by LBReport.com, Kell agendized the following item:
In an effort to make even more information available to residents and the City Council, I am asking for a [sic] update from JetBlue on their Operations and Community Outreach efforts.
With that verbiage, Kell showed she thought it was appropriate to use the City Council to apply the "mushroom treatment" -- keeping the public in the dark and fed manure, a way to ambush her constituents...and the constituents of other Councilmembers.
We are fed up with this. The City Council has called for transparency. Councilwoman Kell has misused the Council proceedings for opacity.
The Council must distance itself from Kell's conduct or her actions will make a mockery of their words.
We consider Kell's actions on this item a breach of what Councilmembers had a right to expect, a violation of what the public had a right to know, a misuse of the legislative body of CA's fifth largest city.
Councilwoman Kell showed what she considers fit for the government body on which Councilmembers serve. Either the members of that body share her view or they do not. Her actions have made this a defining moment for them.
Our proposed verbiage:
WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Long Beach is committed to openness and truthfulness in its dealings with the public;
WHEREAS, the City Council believes taxpayer funded facilities and resources should be used for public purposes and not to serve private or corporate interests;
WHEREAS, item 29 on the June 3, 2003 City Council agenda presented by Councilmember Jackie Kell failed to adhere to these Council principles;
NOW THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Long Beach censures Councilwoman Jackie Kell for her actions in connection with that item.
We have not used the word JetBlue in our proposed censure motion. JetBlue is not to blame. Kell is.
We are not afraid of the JetBlue-funded voter survey. We posted it online verbatim so voters could evaluate it for themselves. We are not surprised that some of the usual suspects would consider it impressive and are trying to use it, in effect, to end Airport discussion. We thank them for identifying themselves.
Councilwoman Kell treated the proceedings of the legislative body of CA's fifth largest city like some wholly owned corporate subsidiary.
In our view, that merits censure...unless Councilmembers think the mushroom treatment is smart and a servile position is flattering.