|(April 7, 2021) -- City Clerk records show that within minutes of a 24-hour notice of a Special City Council meeting going online (to discuss/vote on use of LB's Convention Center to temporarily house migrant minors), over a dozen speakers -- some of them appointees of Mayor Robert Garcia or his political allies -- swiftly signed up for the twenty available public speaker slots.
They included Mayor Garcia's brother, Jaoob O'Donnell (now a field rep for state Senator Lena Gonazalez), and Sharon Weissman, a former "senior advisor" and "trnsportation deputy" in Garcia's City Hall office, whom Garcia has since appointed to LB's Harbor Commission.
By the 8 p.m. hour, seven of the twenty slots remained open, and by mid-morning April 6 they were filled by other Mayoral allies, electeds and appointees.
The result created an echo chamber of public support for the Mayor-Council supported action. Some media outlets marveled at how public testimony was uanimously supportive. Some of the Mayoral appointees didn't identify themselves as such, including Ms. Weissman, who simply said she was a CD 5 resident.
Opponents were either "asleep at the switch" or unwilling to sign up to speak publicly on the item.
Among speakers who successfully signed up was James Suazo of LB Forward (first to sign up) who (with allied groups) took a nuanced position opposed to continued child incarceration, urged a firm end date to the Convention Center use and sought federal immigrant enabling legal changes.
The City Clerk's office says the 24 hour notice of a Special Meeting went online at 4:44 p.m. Below is what happened in the minutes and hours that followed:
[Scroll down for further.] .
The cap on 20 telephoned public speakers isn't set in LB's Council-enacted Municipal Code; it's current COVID-19 City Clerk office practice.
As of April 7, "e-comments" aren't yet publicly visible online for the April 6 Council item (although the City Clerk's office rfoutinely shows them to Councilmembers before their meeting.) Submitted "e-comments" will become publicly visible when April 6 minutes are prepared and webposted.
Some Councilmembers (including Suzie Price) signaled in their Council remarks that their offices had received public pushback on the proposed Convention Center use.
April 8, 3:45 a.m. Context added re Jacob O'Donnell (Mayor Garcia's brother.
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