Saturday, June 11, 2011

Art Emergency?

May 18th Barth says she knows of damage to the art and doesn't know if it was intentional or not. See clip below (the clip has been fixed).

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The next week Barth, Gaspar and Houlihan voted to make protecting the art an emergency agenda item.

This part of the Brown appears to be the part that Jerome Stocks addresses in the next clip (from the following meeting).
54954.2.(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the legislative body may take action on items of business not appearing on the posted agenda under any of the conditions stated below. Prior to discussing any item pursuant to this subdivision, the legislative body shall publicly identify the item.
(1) Upon a determination by a majority vote of the legislative body that an emergency situation exists, as defined in Section54956.5.
(2) Upon a determination by a two-thirds vote of the members of the legislative body present at the meeting, or, if less than two-thirds of the members are present, a unanimous vote of those members present, that there is a need to take immediate action and that the need for action came to the attention of the local agency subsequent to the agenda being posted as specified in subdivision (a).

Notice the part that says the "agency", which is the city, can't have known about the issue. In this case, the potential danger from vandalism seems to have been discussed the week before.

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From Calaware:
“Emergency” meetings can be called by telephone notice to the members and convene an hour after local newspapers and broadcasters (that have requested such notice and provided phone numbers to be used) have been alerted. They may address only “matters upon which prompt action is necessary due to the disruption or threatened disruption of public facilities” caused by a “a work stoppage, crippling activity , or other activity that severely impairs public health, safety , or both.” The only closed session permitted is one addressing personnel or public access to facilities, as provided in Government Code §54957 (see 7 below), and then only if agreed to by two thirds of those present, or if less than two thirds of the body is present, unanimously . If the topic is a “dire” emergency , defined as being caused by criminal or terrorist activity , the meeting may convene as soon as any requesting local media have been alerted. Minutes and other meeting particulars must be posted for 10 days in a public place as soon as possible (Government Code §54956.5).

From FAC:
A legislative body may discuss a nonagenda item at a regular meeting if, by majority vote, the body determines that the matter in questions constitutes an emergency. The Brown Act provides for emergency meetings to be held by a legislative body with little or no notice to the public, depending upon the situation. When a majority of the legislative body determines that an emergency situation exists, it may call an emergency meeting. (Gov’t Code § 54956.5).

According to the California Attorney General’s Office, the Brown Act defines an emergency as a crippling activity, work stoppage or other activity which severely impairs public health, safety or both. (Gov’t Code § 5795605(a)(1)). Absent a dire emergency, at least one hour before the meeting, telephonic notice must be provided to all media entities that have requested that they receive notice of any special meetings called pursuant to section 54956. (Gov’t Code § 54956.5(b)).

A dire emergency is a crippling disaster, mass destruction, terrorist act, or threatened terrorist activity that poses peril so immediate and significant that requiring a legislative body to provide one-hour notice before holding an emergency meeting may endanger the pubic health, safety, or both, as determined by a majority of the members of the legislative body. (Gov’t Code § 54956.5(a)(2)). At the conclusion of such meeting, the minutes of the meeting, a list of persons who the legislative body notified or attempted to notify, a copy of the roll call vote, and any actions taken at the meeting must be posted for a minimum of 10 days in a public place as soon after the meeting as possible. (Gov’t Code § 54956.5(e)). Furthermore, as a general rule, emergency meetings may not be held in closed session.


  1. The most significant thing in this council discussion was the final vote, which was 3 to 2 in favor of an emergency discussion. Gaspar, for the first and only time, I believe, voted against Stocks and Bond and sided with Barth and Houlihan. The motion still failed as it needed a super majority.

    Stocks and Bond have been hard-nosed and dogmatic on the whole issue of the Surfing Madonna. The legal justification under the Brown Act for an emergency discussion is debatable. Yes, there was prior knowledge of damage, reportedly minor. There was more damage. Was it enough for an additional discussion and action? It didn't matter, as Stocks didn't miss a chance to bash Barth on her success in getting changes in city procedure under the Brown Act

    Mayor Bond could have easily agendized the discussion for the following week. He didn't. That left the mosaic vulnerable to damage.

    I am reminded of the damage suffered by Michelangelo's La Pietra and of numerous paintings that have been slashed in major museums. So far the Madonna has been lucky. A simple Plexiglas sheet would suffice, and some citizens have already offered to do it for free.

  2. Barth, Houlihan, and Gaspar also could have made a motion to have the issue added to a future agenda. Perhaps an unscheduled meeting. That would have taken Bond to make happen, but he didn't vote against such a meeting. He only voted against added an item to the night's agenda.


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