Must-See MCTV: City Council détente breaks down

Why wait till Wednesday?

By on Wed, February 22, 2006

"I didn't see that Mike [Ferreira] was a fit at this time."
— Bonnie McClung
"It's a sad day for Half Moon Bay."
— David Gorn

At last night’s Half Moon Bay City Council meeting, the nascent compromise between the two factions on the City Council completely broke down. The issue was Mike Ferreira’s appointment to the Planning Commission, but the implications are much broader.

The video of the meeting airs tonight at 7pm on MCTV, channel 6, and by all accounts you should program your Tivo, dust off your VCR, or turn on your TV, and check it out.

Despite Bonnie McClung’s willingness to compromise on the size of the Planning Commission and her apparent good relationship with former city Council member Mike Ferreira, she voted with Naomi Patridge and Marina Fraser to deny Ferreira an appointment to the Planning Commission.  Ferreira is a former planning commissioner. Following this vote, David Gorn and Jim Grady disengaged from the meeting, declining to participate in the nomination process and abstaining on all subsequent votes.

"I’m disappointed that they [Grady and Gorn] decided to pull out out of the process," McClung told Coastsider, saying that her vote was within the spirit of the compromise. "I didn’t see that Mike was a fit at this time because he’s a lightning rod for both sides."

"It’s a sad day for Half Moon Bay," City Council member David Gorn told me, saying that the spirit of the compromise, which was designed to avoid dividing the town politically, had been broken. "After this huge compromise, we have this mean-spirited political nastiness," said Gorn.

In response to a question, Gorn agreed that under the circumstances, it may have been preferable to let the majority remake the Planning Commission and take it to referendum.

Asked if this could be seen as an attempt to keep him out of circulation, Ferreira said, "I don’t need their help to circulate."

Here’s how it went down:

Gorn nominated current planning commissioner Kevin Lansing - approved 5-0

Grady nominated Mike Ferreira - denied 2-3 (Grady, Gorn ayes)

"You could hear a pin drop during the roll call", one observer told me.

Grady withdrew his nomination and asserted his right to withhold his nomination to a later date. The seat will remain vacant for now.

McClung nominated Doug Snow - approved 3-0-2 (Grady, Gorn abstaining)

Patridge nominated Patric Jonsson - approved 3-0-2 (Grady, Gorn abstaining)

Fraser nominated Thomas Roman - approved 3-0-2 (Grady, Gorn abstaining)

The council then moved to the at-large seats - Grady and Gorn did not nominate or participate.

Patridge nominated Jeff Allis, David Mier and Bob Feldman.

Fraser nominated Linda Poncini.

Jeff Allis - approved 3-0-2 (Grady, Gorn abstaining)

Bob Feldman - denied 0-3-2 (Grady, Gorn abstaining)

David Mier - denied 1-2-2 (Patridge aye, Grady, Gorn abstaining)

Linda Poncini - approved 2-1-2 (Fraser, McClung ayes, Grady, Gorn abstaining)

Technically, according to the ordinance, a majority of 3 votes is required for approval, but at this point everyone was so tired that they accepted Allis and Poncini for the two remaining seats.

As HMB Review Managing Editor Clay Lambert put it in his eerie signed column about McClung and Ferreira’s new-found friendship:

There are those in town who, for reasons I’ll never understand, are vested in continuing this Hatfield-and-McCoy feud between the so-called "no-growthers," which Ferreira was supposed to represent, and the "old guard," which is supposed to be the natural base for McClung. I’m sure there are supporters of each who think that fraternizing with the enemy is high treason.

He may be right.