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Council Session Iced After 'Hockey-Checking' Charge

Conflict: Dispute over Santa Ana shop lease leads to incident during break. Moreno is accused by Franklin.

February 18, 1998|JEFF KASS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SANTA ANA — After one council member accused another of "hockey-checking" him during a break Tuesday, the mayor abruptly ended the City Council because of the simmering tensions.

Councilman Brett Franklin, 36, said Councilman Ted R. Moreno shoved his right elbow and hip into Franklin's right side as he stood outside a kitchen area.

Moreno, 30, said the two accidentally bumped into each other.

Rev. Chuck Mabry, pastor at Santa Ana's First United Methodist Church, said he would corroborate Franklin's version.

"It was intentional," said Mabry, who himself has differed with Moreno over city issues. "You don't come down a hall and throw your hip."

Franklin and Moreno are frequently at odds on the council, and the incident occurred after a particularly heated argument.

The city voted to break the lease for a gift shop located in the Regional Transportation Center in favor of a jobs center.

Moreno, however, had opposed breaking the lease, and at one point got up from his seat to argue with the other council members.

Councilwoman Patricia A. McGuigan walked out crying as the meeting seemed to spin out of control.

The meeting Tuesday was not held in Council Chambers, but in the community room at police headquarters. The council often uses the meeting room when there are few items on the agenda or discussions are planned.

After the break incident, Mayor Miguel A. Pulido Jr. briefly reconvened the meeting, then announced a sudden adjournment.

"We all got a little more excited than we usually do," he said.

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