Courtesy Leigh Zerboni
I have only attended two city council meetings in my 8 years in Sunnyvale, both last Winter during the Raynor Park Activity Center fiasco, when, after having promised to provide local residents a minimum of two weeks notice prior to any vote on the sale, a vote was scheduled days before Thanksgiving and with only 72 hours notice. The proposal included not only the sale of 3.5 acres of park land on which the Raynor Activity Center stands, but also included an extensive priority use agreement giving the purchaser (an elite private school) use of significant park acreage for the school year and summer sessions.
For obvious reasons, our community was shocked and outraged.
At the Nov. 19 and Dec. 3 2013 meetings, I saw no evidence of the types of behaviors CM Pat Meyering is accused of in the recall petition. Yes, he did rant and rail a bit at both meetings with the same rhetoric about pension and legal costs. However, his comments were not disrespectful or disruptive; he made them during his allotted time, and then he was silent. During the public hearing, he listened attentively and was polite and respectful to all residents who spoke (for and against the sale).
I cannot say the same about all members of council. In fact, from my perspective, two CMs were engaged in side conversations throughout the public testimony, one CM continually rolled his eyes or shook his head during public comments. One CM (in my opinion, based on her questions) hadn’t read or didn’t understand the provisions of the agreement she voted to approve.
At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Vice Mayer sharply criticized our communities’ grass roots efforts to protect unrestricted public park use. Over 100 residents spoke out against the priority use agreement, and we had a petition with over 1600 signatures. In my opinion, such community activism should be lauded, not disparaged.
I have read the allegations on the “recallpatmeyering” website and they do not hold up to scrutiny. I urge Sunnyvale residents who are considering signing the recall petition to carefully investigate these issues on their own prior to signing. Watch videos of city council meetings (not just those brief cherry-picked moments posted on the recall website). If you only have time to watch one, check this one out on Youtube (the dysfunction starts at minute 1:10): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJf4TUjZW7Q.
In my opinion, that video clearly shows rude and disruptive behavior by (then) Mayor Spitaleri, who is one of the chief architects of the recall efforts.
Your signature on the recall petition does not come without real costs. The cost to hold a special recall election is significant (>$200,000) and that burden is on the taxpayers. This recall does not benefit Sunnyvale residents. It is the product of personal squabbling among current and past city councils persons. We deserve better.