Cefalu: ‘A public spectacle resolves nothing’ (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Cefalu: ‘A public spectacle resolves nothing’ (opinion)

John N. Cefalu
Tribune Guest Columnist


Councilwoman JoAnn Conner was censured Monday, Oct. 19, at a special city council meeting for behavior. Read the story here. The Tribune asked several relevant parties to write guest opinion columns about the issue. All perspectives expressed are unique to the authors and are not the opinions of Tahoe Daily Tribune. The intent of publishing all columns on the same day is to give our readers an opportunity to hear directly from those involved to better understand the complexity of this issue. Letters to the editor are welcome in response to these columns. Email letters to crow@tahoedailytribune.com.

Read Conner’s guest column here.

Read Hal Cole and Wendy David’s guest column here.

Read Nancy Kerry’s guest column here.

The three-hour censure hearing that took place this past week can only be cast as a no-win for either side of the issue.

The city council refused to acknowledge that their action was contrary to the rule of law, in which the accusers must lodge their complaints in writing and be allowed to come forward and face their accused. The hearing had all of the characteristics of a “kangaroo court.”

I have been a member of city councils where individual members became very passionate about their views on issues, and without exception, became very vocal and often verbally abusive to other council members and staff. Those differences are always dealt with behind closed doors, away from the public’s eyes and ears, resulting in positive outcomes.

The offer by Ms. Mittelstadt to the city council to meet with the members of the city council and work through the issues with Ms. Conner was a reasonable and responsible offer to resolve this matter.

A public spectacle resolves nothing, but leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of this community.

At the heart of this matter was the challenge of Ms. Conner regarding sign fees being assessed on businesses in this community, a legitimate argument. Those fees are based on a city employee’s investment in time and effort, whereby a professional sign maker, using the same method, can complete the analysis in a fraction of the time. If this is an example of the basis for all of the fees being charged to residents and businesses, it is obvious the city is guilty of gouging. Council members who claim they represent the entire community need to devote some of their time interacting with business owners and residents.

John N. Cefalu is a business owner, long-time resident and former city councilman.

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