Due to an overcrowded chamber, the Irvine Fire Department recently forced approximately 50 people outside in the 40-degree-plus night air until the issue they were interested in came up on the agenda.
Due to poor management and a lack of respect by the Irvine City Council for the general public, most of those people waited until 11 p.m. before their issue was discussed.
In every other city where I have attended council meetings, the health, safety and general welfare of the public comes first, and the agenda is adjusted to allow people to speak on a volatile issue, and then the City Council can continue its business.
If you tuned in early, you could have watched a presentation to the Boy Scouts of America, but they were not there as yet. An hour later when they did arrive they listened and waited. They listened and waited for 2 hours, but the council did not bother to tell them that their presentation was already made.
If you tuned in later you could have watched an Academy Award performance of intimidation and manipulation. While high school students found enough courage to speak in front of the council on a safety issue at their school, they were informed by the mayor that he wanted to impose a 50-cent-a-day parking fee on all students in Irvine. When a high school student, in front of the council, asked who would pay the fee, the mayor said (with a smile) you will!
The council then took approximately 2 hours on a proposed budget agenda that could not be acted on until July, 1989, when the new fiscal year starts. They did pass and vote on sub-items in that agenda that did not cost anything.
The real treat of the evening (11:30 p.m.) was when the city staff informed the City Council and the public that the Residential Resale Code Proposal included health insurance premiums, pension funds, vacation funds and overhead costs suggested by the City Council.
How can this council or any council vote on an issue that they themselves are underwriting for themselves in the interest of health, safety and general welfare?
People of Irvine, if you like entertainment that includes mystery, drama and comedy, I strongly suggest you attend your council meetings.
The price is right--admission is free. Try and get there a little early or you might be left out in the cold air.