Sunnyvale Mayor Spitaleri Opposes Free Speech and Disrupts Council Meeting

Tony Spitaleri threw a hostile tantrum during the May 22 Council Meeting,
trying to silence a critic of his administration of the city government.

Just minutes after pledging allegiance to the flag, during the Sunnyvale Council Meeting, on May 22, 2012, and prior to voting on item 1.C. MOTION RTC, 12-121, Mayor Tony Spitaleri erupted in a shockingly hostile manner, repeatedly shouting and disrupting Council Member Patrick Meyering, as Meyering commented about the issue ~ The List of Claims and Bills Approved for Payment by the City Manager.  

Spitaleri’s verbal assaults attempting to abort Meyerings comments toward agenda 1.C., came with rapid-fire, hostile jabs, in a pitbull schoolyard-bully offensive manner. Each time Council Member Meyering began to speak, Mayor Spitaleri demonstrated combative behavior with menacing words and orders to halt Meyering’s speech.

Spitaleri’s uncivil manner was apparently found to be out-of-compliance, because, after he demanded a 10-minute recess and conferred with City Manager Gary Luebbers, Spitaleri returned to state that Meyering was, indeed, entitled to a 3-minute speech. While watching this episode of shocking behavior, I felt mortified over Spitaleri’s adversarial and brutal treatment toward a fellow Council Member who was speaking on behalf of the Sunnyvale Residents.

Here is what Council Member Patrick Meyering relayed:

  • “I’m not able to support spending $1.6 million of taxpayer money, when my request for copies of underlying bills is refused. The first time I asked for a copy, in February, I was given it. I was disappointed to see on the bill that the city pays taxpayer money to lawyers at a rate of $450/hour. That’s twice the normal rate. I complained about that and since then I’ve been refused copies of the bills.”
  • “My view is that it’s very risky to vote in the blind to spend taxpayer money when you’re refused copies of the underlying bills. There’ve been problems with improper use of taxpayers’ money.  In Los Altos, a city hall department head was found to have submitted improper invoices and taken the money for himself. Two different Sunnyvale PTA’s  –  parent teacher associations  –  discovered that members were improperly using the organization’s money for their own benefit.”
  • “In my opinion, a prudent, conscientious councilmember looks at the underlying bill.  I’ve been barred from receiving further copies of those bills because I complained about wasteful spending in a past bill.  So there are really two problems. First, your money is being wasted and the underlying bills show that. Second, the councilmember, who wants to correct the spending problems at city hall is blocked from getting copies of the underlying bills and repeatedly interrupted when it’s his tun to speak.”

After Meyering’s comments, Council Member Chris Moylan quipped “I don’t need to look at the bills” with a smile and seemingly “wink” at Sunnyvale staff.

I can appreciate, as should the taxpayers of the City of Sunnyvale, the fact that Council Member Meyering is concerned with reviewing and not voting blindly. His comments speak for themself. Yet, without resolve nor disclosure of the bills, the motion was passed by the other Council Members.

I am saddened and disturbed by Spitaleri’s combative squelch. Sunnyvale Attorney Kahn has stated, “The Council is the ultimate seeker of the facts.” Has this been forgotten? Who is the Council ultimately serving?

Click here for the Broadcast of the Council Meeting.


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