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Vanderbilt seeks limits to Agendizing Power of Anaheim City Council members

Four flags including a non-governmental one all the way to the right. Where’s the Gay Pride Tom?

Anaheim Council Member James Vanderbilt will offer a proposal that obstructs an elected council member’s democratic right to have his or her agenda items heard and considered. The proposal is antithetical to how city elected do business and it’s all for the sake of saving staff time and to ease their workload.

Here’s Vanderbilt’s proposal:

Any member of the City Council may,Council Members may, during the City Council

Communications portion of a City Council meeting, request that an item be placed on a

future City Council regular meeting agenda. Items requested by Council Members shall

be presented at the next regular meeting, unless otherwise directed, as a discussion item

that would allow Council to discuss and by a majority vote, determine whether staff shall

be directed to provide a complete staff report and actionable item at a subsequent

meeting. No staff work shall be undertaken until the City Council has had the opportunity

to provide formal direction to staff. The Mayor shall have the authority to place an item

on a future agenda outside of an open City Council meeting through the City Manager’s


Agenda items that are not expected to take significant staff time or are time sensitive in

nature, as determined by the City Manager, may be placed on the next regular agenda

following a council member’s request.

Reference: Resolution No. 2016-241

Resolution No. 2017-041


Council members don’t serve staff – they serve their constituents.

Vanderbilt’s proposal amounts to a direct attack on constituents.  He’s framed this question in a head scratching way: “Let’s not make staff work so hard.” Really?  Perhaps if they worked harder, the meetings would not go on so long.

Why listen, discuss, and negotiate if he can whip four votes to silence the city council minority? Under this proposal, Dr. Jose Moreno wouldn’t be able to have agendize the flagpole issue in the first place.  The better question to ask Vanderbilt is why he didn’t offer a second on Dr. Jose Moreno’s motion on a new flagpole at City Hall.