The Anaheim City Council on Monday voted to weaken the mayor’s agenda-setting powers but stepped back from a proposed resolution that would have forced him to get the support of at least one additional council member to put items on the agenda.
The proposed change was touted by its backer as a way to streamline council operations but was seen by some observers as a rebuke to Mayor Tom Tait for taking positions that are at odds with the council majority.
Since his election three years ago, Tait has cast the lone dissenting vote in several controversial decisions and has used his agenda-setting power to place some of those issues on the agenda for public discussion.
Most recently, Tait has been loudly critical about the parameters of a deal to keep the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Anaheim and earlier this month cast the lone vote against such a deal.
After the vote, Tait put the Angels deal back on the council’s agenda, saying that the public had not had an adequate opportunity to examine the proposal.
After a heated meeting, Councilman Jordan Brandman said he thought it was time to reexamine the mayor’s ability to put items on the agenda. Brandman’s proposal would have eroded one of the mayor’s only significant powers by forcing him to get the support of at least one additional council member to put an item on the agenda.
Brandman said the proposal was not a political move but simply a way to improve council dealings. Tait had said the proposal "muzzles dissent and muzzles public discourse."
"The bottom line is that if the board doesn't agree with something, it won't get on the agenda to air to the public," he said.
During a two-hour special meeting Monday morning, several speakers condemned the proposal as an attack on dissent. They also expressed frustration that the meeting to discuss the proposal was held at 8 a.m. on a Monday.
The resolution ultimately approved during the meeting allows the mayor and any member of the council to place items on the agenda only during council meetings.
The mayor will no longer be allowed to place items on the agenda outside of meetings. The changes were approved 4 to 1, with Tait dissenting.
Before the vote was taken, Tait used his mayoral power to request that the Angels deal be placed on the agenda every third council meeting for discussion until a final deal is negotiated.