Coronado CAN!: City of Coronado Council Meeting Report: Jan. 7th, 2014

of the Meeting

  • The Council approved $2,600 for median strip banners celebrating the April 5th commissioning of the new Navy ship LCS-4 USS Coronado;
  • The Council approved adding a free public dock near the boat launch as part of the C Dock reconstruction project in order to facilitate Coastal Commission approval and directed Staff to begin the CEQA review process;
  • A zoning exception was granted for an addition to the historically designated residence at 1030-1032 Olive Avenue to permit less separation between two structures on the same lot than normally required;
  • The Council heard a report on the completion of the audit of the City’s Comprehensive Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013; and
  • The Council considered the possibility of modifying its policy on beach fires and determined to continue to permit the existing fire rings as well as portable BBQs with instruction to Staff to develop specific recommendations for limits on types of fuel, height of fire and enforcement of rules.

Consent Calendar

Unusually, there were no ceremonial presentations so the meeting started right out with the Consent Calendar (matters thought to be so uncontroversial as to warrant no discussion) which, upon Mr. Woiwode’s motion, was amended to include the banners celebrating the USS Coronado. However, Mr. Woiwode asked that the item concerning the proposal to add a free public dock to the C Dock reconstruction project be removed from the consent motion to permit separate consideration.  The Consent Calendar items passed with unanimous consent, except that Ms. Denny explained that she was abstaining from approving the warrants paying City bills as she had concerns about the adequacy of internal controls (Note: see the City auditor’s remarks about the adequacy of the City’s controls - City’s controls above average - under the section on the City’s financial statements below).  The Consent Calendar included an authorization to staff to install “keep clear” pavement markings at frequently congested intersections. It also including a one time only waiver of the City’s alcohol prohibition on public property to allow wine and beer to be served at a Friends of the Library event.

Free Public Boat Dock Proposal

Several meetings ago the City Council determined to proceed with the CEQA evaluation process for the reconstruction of Boat Dock C.  Initially that project was proposed to include a free public dock as part of C Dock or adjacent to it, however current C Dock tenants expressed concerns about security issues in connection with this proposal.  City Staff has had discussions with the Coastal Commission Staff about the C Dock reconstruction project and learned that the Coastal Commission will likely require a free public dock component in order to get approval of the C dock project.  The Staff presented to the Council various public dock design alternatives near the existing Glorietta Bay boat launch ramp, such designs to be further developed as part of the C Dock CEQA analysis.  The free public boat dock will be paid for with $121,000 from the Port.

Although there was general support from Council members for this proposal, Ms.  Denny brought up a lengthy and detailed letter from resident Kevin Reilly making many specific design suggestions.  Mr. Ritter, Assistant City Manager, said that many of Mr. Reilly’s suggestions have been incorporated in the design.

Mr.  Ritter also said that the City had obtained a grant from the State of California Department of Waterways to pay for the reconstruction of C Dock as well as money from the Port for this project.

Ms. Denny and Mr. Bailey both asked about the possibility of installing a freshwater hose to permit boat owners to rinse off their boats, another suggestion made by Mr, Reilly.  City Manager Blair King said that Staff was aware that people have requested a fresh water hose but he thought the regulatory agencies might have concerns and asked that the Council not tie his hands in dealing with the regulators on this issue.

One more significant issues came up in the public comment period on this matter: Resident Tom Pray said that this facility was being constructed right next to the children’s beach where children could be in the water and might be hit by an unskilled boater.  Mr Woiwode expressed concern that the analysis of design alternatives take this issue into account.  He was assured by City attorney Joanna Canlas that it was not necessary to determine all the design specifics at this time and that the Staff just needed enough direction to start the CEQA process.

The project was approved 4-1 with Ms. Denny voting no.

Zoning Waiver for Historic Home Addition

The owners of the historically designated residence at 1030-1032 Olive Avenue had obtained an Historic Alteration Permit to put an addition on the main structure on the property.  During the Staff plan checking process it was determined that, because a second smaller structure on the same property was a separately permitted single family dwelling, the zoning rule requiring 20’ of space between dwelling structures would be violated by the addition.  The Historic Resource Commission had considered the matter and recommended that the Council grant a zoning exception to permit the previously approved addition to encroach 11 feet into the 20’ distance.  There were no comments from the public on this matter and the zoning exception was unanimously approved by the Council.

Presentation of the City’s Audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Year Ended June 30, 2013

Although City Treasurer Leslie Suelter has previously presented an interim financial report on the June 30, 2013 Fiscal Year to the Council in October, the City’s audit had been completed and the final results were as reported in October.  A representative from the City’s independent auditors, Lance, Soll and Lunghard, LLP was present to answer any questions.  The City’s financial statements had received what used to be called an “unqualified opinion,” now called an “unmodified opinion,” attesting that in the auditor’s opinion the City’s financial statement fairly represent the City’s financial position in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.  The City’s financial statement may be found on the City’s web-site under Administrative Services.

The City’s financial statements had been prepared in a somewhat different format this year in order that the City could apply for an award for excellence in financial statements from the Government Finance Officers Association.  Ms. Suelter particularly complemented Christine Zinn of her staff for her work in producing the financial statements in the new format.

The audit firm’s representative, Mr. Rick Kakuchi (not sure about the spelling) mentioned that there is a new accounting rule to be effective for 2016 which will require the listing of City pension liabilities as part of the financial statements.  Ms. Denny said she had taken an on-line course on pensions and thinks that the City’s pension liabilities will exceed total assets. She said it was her understanding that the new rule could be complied with earlier than 2016 and she asked if this was possible.  Mr. Kakuchi said that the City needed an actuarial analysis from CALPERS in order to do this and CALPERS had not provided this yet.

Ms. Denny also asked about the revenues in the City’s “enterprise funds”  which are supposed to be self supporting.  She said it appeared that revenues were down and expenses are up.  Ms. Suelter said that actually revenues were flat.  City Manager King said that reserves were used to complete a wastewater project and that the Staff would be coming back to Council with a study on the wastewater fund.

Mr. Bailey asked how Coronado’s internal controls compare with other cities.  Mr. Kakuchi said that Coronado’s financial controls were stronger than average.

Mr. Bailey also asked about a slide which appeared to show that revenues were less than expenses and transfers.  Ms. Suelter explained that the City had made an extraordinary optional pension payment to CALPERS in order to reduce future pension liabilities and, if the City had not decided to do so, revenues would have exceeded expenses and transfers.

Beach Fire Policy Review

At a prior Council meeting Ms. Denny had requested to put on a future agenda a review of the City’s beach fire policies and whether they should be changed to keep the beach healthier and safer.  She had suggested consideration of whether the fire rings should be removed and other beach fires prohibited, whether there should be limits on types of fuel, consideration of whether coal bins should be added or removed and other possibilities for improving fire policy.  The Staff had prepared an extensive report detailing the history of the City’s fire policies, current conditions, enforcement issues and the City’s maintenance policies for the beach and a review of fire policies for other coastal cities in the area as well as applicable laws.  The City’s report suggested a series of actions that the Council might consider from removing the fire rings and prohibiting portable BBQs and portable fire rings to limiting the types of fuel, the height of the fires and adding hot coal containers.

During the public comment period beach activist Ben Siegfried said he thought the fire rings should be removed.  He said people in the community have asked the Council to pay attention to this issue and had been ignored.  He said there were not enough policemen patrolling the beach to provide enforcement. He referred to his web-site, for more detail about the problems.

Another resident, John Julius, said he lives overlooking Sunset Park  and thinks the fire rings should be kept as they are. He remembers when there were 18 fire rings on the beach and there were problems but, now that the fire rings have been reduced to 8 and a curfew established, he thinks the problems have gone away..

Shores resident Trish Trowbridge urged the Council to remove the fire rings.  She had special concerns with portable BBQ’s and fires near the Shores because of the narrowness of the beach at this location and the proximity of residences,  She said that Florida has banned all beach fires and this has made Florida beaches clean and safe.

Resident Tom Pray said he believed there is a problem with lack of enforcement and he favored reducing or removing the fire rings but, if they are not removed, he suggested a system of requiring a reservation to use the fire rings which would require a payment of deposit which would be refundable if the site was properly cleaned up.

There was much discussion by the Council.  The Mayor started the discussion by saying he favored maintaining the existing fire rings - he said removing them would require Coastal Commission approval which he doubted would be forthcoming - and he would also add some additional hot coal containers nearby but would prohibit the portable BBQs and portable fire rings.  He would step up enforcement and liked the idea of a “beach concierge” to ensure proper use. He did not want to limit fire material except for toxic material, and was willing to consider limits on the height of fires.

Ms Denny asked the City Attorney about  the Coastal Commission’s position on the fire rings and Ms. Canlas said the Coastal Commission would oppose the removal of the fire rings, but the BBQs could be prohibited.  Ms. Denny gave an lengthy explanation of her views - which appeared to try the patience of the other Council members - on why the fire rings should be removed, saying that the beach would be cleaner and safer and the air would be cleaner without beach fires.  She said the City should not permit beach fires without stepped up enforcement and maintenance and she thought it was too expensive to increase enforcement and maintenance staff to assure a clean, safe beach.

The other Council members generally were in favor of the fire rings and also permitting the use of portable BBQs and other portable fire devices, subject to some limitations on height of fires and type of fuel. There was also sympathy to reviewing enforcement policies.  Mr. Woiwode was interested in Mr. Pray’s suggestion for a fire reservation system in order to have some accountability for cleanup. City Manager King noted that using the police for enforcement of beach policies was a very expensive way of dealing with enforcement issues, and suggested other enforcement alternatives such as contract enforcement personnel.

During the Council’s discussion Mr. Siegfried repeatedly tried to provide additional comments from the audience which the Mayor refused to permit.  Ms. Denny expressed dismay about this and asked if Mr. Siegfried could return to the podium to answer some questions.  The Mayor refused to permit this.  He said Mr. Siegfried had his chance to speak during the public comment period and refused to give him more time.

After the Council’s discussion, the Mayor offered to make a motion but Ms. Denny interrupted and offered to make a motion which she said would capture the prevailing views but which she might not support.  The Mayor expressed frustration that Ms. Denny would make a motion that she would not support, but Ms. Denny said that she felt that since she had initiated the review of this issue, she thought it was appropriate that she be permitted to make the motion.  The Mayor allowed her to make the motion - which did not propose any change in the fire rings or portable fire device but proposed more hot coal receptacles and asked the Staff to come back with recommendations for a limit on types of fuel, height of fires and enforcement personnel and possibly an earlier curfew in the summer.   Immediately thereafter, the Mayor said he would propose a substitute motion and then asked if anyone would second Ms. Denny motion.  No one seconded Ms. Denny’s motion so the Mayor made a substitute motion, which in truth was not much different than Ms. Denny’s motion, except that it expressly, rather than implicitly, maintained the City’s current fire rings and portable BBQs.  The Mayor’s motion also proposed adding more hot coal receptacles, proposed limiting permissible fuel to charcoal and clean wood (as defined in the Staff memorandum but not requiring fuel to be purchased from the City) and restricting fire material to a height of 12”.  In response to a concern expressed by Mr. Bailey, the Mayor’s motion was amended to request the Staff to come back with a range of options for dealing with the issue of burning pallets (which have caused problems with nails in the sand or splinters on the sidewalks when they are broken up prior to taking them on the beach).  The Mayor’s motion also asked the Staff to propose a range of options for improving enforcement of beach fire policies. The motion passed 4-1 with Ms. Denny voting no.


This article is reprinted by permission as part of a collaboration between Coronado CAN! and to enable residents to stay more informed about civic issues, with the ultimate goal of better protecting and preserving Coronado's small town character and charm.

To read more articles like this one or learn more about this non-profit, non-partisan, all-volunteer organization, visit the Coronado CAN! website.

Coronado CAN! Mission Statement:
Coronado CAN! works to make it easier for registered voters and residents in the 92118 zip code to be well informed about issues that are of interest to them, to speak for themselves both individually and collectively with the strongest possible voice, and to enhance the communication government depends upon to be able to most effectively serve their electorate, the taxpayers, and the community as a whole.  Learn more about Coronado CAN!

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Comment by Councilwoman Barbara Denny on January 11, 2014 at 4:13pm

Hello, eCoronado readers. I hope you're all having a great weekend. It's beautiful.

After reading this review of our 7 January 2014 joint City Council & Redevelopment Successor Agency meeting, there are many points that require clarification. I'm going to focus on just two of them: civility and financial controls.


First and foremost, there is an important point to be made about civility at our meetings. It's severely lacking.

Over the years, countless unbiased residents, presenters, and others have approached me to express their dismay and disappointment over the lack of civility and respect that the mayor and councilmen show toward me during meetings. Some of these good people I met for the first time when they introduced themselves to me whether in person or over the telephone.

It has come to my attention that the mayor and councilmen have been approached over the years by some of the same people, and perhaps other people, with the same complaints about their behavior, too.

To a person, these unbiased observers have commented that they appreciate my professionalism during our meetings because it's clear that I show civility and respect toward the mayor and councilmen, whether or not I agree with them and their particular style of decision-making.

It's important for the public to know this because some determined people have been working very hard over the years to create the false impression that I'm part of the problem and that there is two-way "fighting" on city council. That's not true.

It's patently obvious to anyone who attends meetings in other settings that Coronado council meetings fall far below the average standard of civility, respect and professionalism due to the behavior of the mayor and councilmen.

Those are simply the facts.

In that regard, I'm disappointed that the writer of this review chose to insert, twice, their personal opinion to the effect that I was "long winded" and the mayor and councilmen were "impatient." This is a form of bias through editorializing in such a way as to paint me in a negative light and the others in a positive light.

This bias completely ignores the problem of the lack of civility on city council.

An unbiased writer would have observed that that I was civil, respectful and professional when discussing all of the facts and the law applicable to agenda items in a thorough manner. And the mayor and councilmen were rude and unprofessional toward me while I was speaking.

Our council spends a total of approximately 5 hours per month making decisions, when you factor in the cancelled meetings for the summer and sometimes the holidays. Yet the mayor and councilmen still manage to insert enough of their personal drama over my decision-making style at virtually every meeting.

During council meetings, I'm mindful to focus on the facts and the law. I'm conscious of the need to make a thorough record of the decision because that's part of our legal duty of transparency when making decisions that affect the public. Simply holding our meetings in public isn't enough to fulfill our legal duty of transparency, although public meetings are an important requirement of transparency.

Naturally, some agenda items present many facts and much law to consider because they are more complex. Other items aren't complex because they present fewer facts and less law to consider.

It might be helpful for everyone to remember that when agenda items are naturally more complex, then the decision-making process naturally should take longer because there are more facts and law to consider. That's just life.

In the end, regardless of differences in decision-making styles, the fact is there's no excuse for uncivil and disrespectful behavior during council meetings.

Along with countless members of the public, I invite the mayor and councilmen to join me in behaving professionally during council meetings.

All the best,
Barbara Denny, Esq.

Comment by Councilwoman Barbara Denny on January 11, 2014 at 4:15pm

Hello, eCoronado readers. I hope you're all having a great weekend. It's beautiful.

After reading this review of our 7 January 2014 joint City Council & Redevelopment Successor Agency meeting, there are many points that require clarification. Here's the second area that needs clarification.

CITY FINANCES -- Changes in financial reporting & financial controls

Changes in financial reporting

Over the past four years, I have focused on our finances and financial reporting. Toward that end, I have spent a great deal of my own time on due diligence and independent research. For those of you who may not know, every elected official has a legal duty to refrain from rubber-stamping agenda items through their own due diligence which includes independent research.

I'm very pleased that as a result of my focus, our city has since become more focused on financial reporting, too.

For example, I appreciate that, as a direct result of my request, our city staff has made changes in their financial bi-monthly report of city checks that have been written to third parties. They are included in every complete agenda packet that is available online for public review.

When I first was elected, it took me a very long time to make sense of that bi-monthly check report. I wasn't pleased that the other member of the Audit Committee at the time told me that he was so unconcerned about the checks that he barely looked at the reports. He was content to simply rubber-stamp it.

So I asked staff if our city's computer system provided for an easy and inexpensive way to report the checks so that not only I, but others who were similarly interested, could have a clearer picture of our checks. Such a change would help elected officials who, like me, want to clearly understand the complexities of our city finance. A change would also give taxpayers a clearer picture of how the city spends their tax dollars.

City staff responded that they were able to do so. They could report the checks grouped into their respective city along with the totals for each fund clearly represented.

As a result of my request, staff made those changes in the bi-monthly check report. I was very pleased. I thanked staff many times.

In the past our city was never eligible to be considered for a financial reporting "award" from the professional association board on which our city auditor, Mr. Richard Kukuchi*, holds a leadership position. But for the first time, with additional changes our city staff made this year in reporting financial information on our state-mandated public reports, it's now likely that our city will receive this recognition.

Kudos and thank you to city staff for making these changes. I appreciate it. I was pleased to thank city staff at our January 7 meeting, too.

Financial Controls

There are many types of financial controls. The State requires our city to have in place -- and to consistently use -- certain financial controls. The State also requires our city to pay for and publish audits of our city books by an outside auditing firm on a regular basis. These required audits are required to determine if the required financial controls are in place.

The reason for both audits and financial controls is to give transparency to our city finances so that the public can oversee how the city spends their tax dollars. The goal is to avoid human error, as well as fraud, waste and abuse of tax dollars.

To explain to the public just what are internal financial controls, I asked Mr. Kukuchi to give us one example during our last meeting. He explained that "separation of duties" is a financial control. One staff member will perform a function and another staff member will perform a companion function. This separation of duties is intended to increase the chances that financial reporting will be accurate by reducing the chances of human error.

The State requires financial controls in accordance with best accounting practices. Independent of the State, our city can and should require financial controls over the city books, too.

In the past, around the 1950s or so, our city enacted an ordinance that required our city's Audit Committee (the two newest members of council) to review the city's bills BEFORE the city checks were cut and cashed by third parties.

This "prior bill review" is a financial control.

At some unknown point in time, our council-manager form of city government stopped complying with that ordinance. Unknown to the public, they allowed the Audit Committee to stop reviewing the city bills at all.

Instead of rectifying the situation by starting to follow the ordinance, our city council voted 4-1, with myself dissenting, to re-write our city ordinance in order to remove that financial control of "prior bill review."

The reasons given were the mayor's statement that "we have too many bills now" and councilman Ovrom's statement that "other boards don't have this" financial control.

The result is that taxpayers lost an important financial control. No elected official on city council reviews the bills at all -- not BEFORE and not AFTER the checks are cashed. The removal of this financial control increases the chances of human error, as well as fraud, waste and abuse of tax dollars.

Yet at every meeting, elected officials are still expected to "approve" all of the checks the city wrote and presented in the bi-monthly city check reports.

With the removal of the financial control of "prior bill review" by the Audit Committee I can't support, or rubber-stamp, these bi-monthly reports. Therefore, I exercise my independent right to vote my conscience. I ABSTAIN from rubber-stamping the check reports. Since only 3 YES votes are required to "approve" the cashed checks my vote has no negative effect on the check reports.

All the best,
Barbara Denny, Esq.

* Mr. Kukuchi and his auditing firm have a long contractual relationship with our city. Our city hired him to perform regular audits, with selected sample checks.

Mr. Kukuchi's firm doesn't perform forensic audits for Coronado. A forensic audit is a thorough and complete accounting of how the city spent tax dollars for a specific project, or for a specific time period. They reveal more specific, more detailed, and better information about the city books.

Forensic audits of city books aren't required by the State for obvious reasons. As a result, forensic audits are rare.

Comment by Mayor Casey Tanaka on January 11, 2014 at 5:44pm

Ms. Denny stated above, "I'm disappointed that the writer of this review chose to insert, twice, their personal opinion to the effect that I was "long winded" and the mayor and councilmen were "impatient." This is a form of bias through editorializing in such a way as to paint me in a negative light and the others in a positive light."

I invite interested citizens to decide for yourself. The link below is the video of the entire meeting. You can click on the topics on the right side and jump right to that part of the video.

Comment by Councilwoman Barbara Denny on January 13, 2014 at 9:12am

Hello, eCoronado readers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

What an excellent idea.

I strongly encourage eCoronado readers to go to the city website at and view not only this past meeting, but prior meetings, too.

Link to 7 Jan 2014 meeting click here

Link to 15 Oct 2013 meeting click here

In the 15 Oct 2013 meeting video, scroll down to see at least these two agenda items:

Review and Approve that the Warrants, as Certified by the City/Agency Treasurer, are all Correct, Just, and Conform to the Approved Budgets for FY 2012-2013 and FY 2013-2014. Consent Calendar 5b -- At the instigation of councilman Woiwode, the mayor and councilmen enlisted the help of the city manager to try to bully me into changing my independent ABSTAIN vote of my conscience on this agenda item. It's the agenda item about the city checks that have already been cashed by third parties without the Audit Committee ever reviewing the bills at all. This process violates our original city ordinance that calls for PRIOR bill review by the Audit Committee members, comprised of two elected officials. "Prior bill review" (review of the city bills BEFORE the city pays them) by the committee is an important internal financial control required by our city in the original city ordinance. No member of council regularly and independently reviews the city bills from third parties. Yet in Coronado all members of council are expected to rubber-stamp the checks that the city writes to pay the bills to those third parties. Watch how the mayor and councilmen, with the aid of the city manager, tried to bully me into joining them in their bi-monthly rubber-stamp YES vote on the city checks. They tried hard to create the false impression that there's something "illegal" with my vote. They're wrong. It's perfectly legal for me to ABSTAIN.

-- and --

Acceptance of the Psomas Design Recommendation Report Regarding the Pomona Avenue, Seventh Street, and Adella Avenue Intersection Improvement Project. City Council Business 11b -- None of the three Coronado SANDAG representatives -- Woiwode, Ovrom, Tanaka -- nor the City Manager and the City Attorney, had the courage to admit to their back room deal with SANDAG. Their back room deal essentially "robbed" Coronado Corridor residents of the benefits of the Toll Revenue Fund tax dollars by making major changes to the Settlement Agreement of 2000. This original Settlement Agreement intended the Toll Revenue Funds to help Corridor residents living along and in between Third and Fourth Streets. Finally in response to my line of questioning, a member of city staff admitted that they changed the original Settlement Agreement to the disadvantage of Coronado residents . . . without public notice and without public discussion. The original Settlement Agreement specifically limited the Toll Revenue Funds to help Corridor residents by mitigating (reducing) the negative effects of the toll removal upon them (increased noise, decreased air quality, etc.) The "amended" Settlement Agreement removes that original spending limitation. In essence, it says that now the city can spend the Toll Revenue Funds on things outside the Corridor that don't help Corridor residents. In effect, Coronado city officials secretly "robbed" our Corridor residents of the Toll Revenue Funds that were originally intended to help them.

Few residents read the written reviews of council meetings in CAN and the Eagle. But when they do, they tell me that the reality of the council meetings they see on the videos differs greatly from the written reviews . . . due to biased writers.

Tone and body language convey a lot of meaning. Watch the meeting videos.

Better yet, come to the council meetings and witness for yourself additional things that the video camera misses.

See firsthand the personal style of the mayor and councilmen -- incivility, disrespect and unprofessionalism.

All the best,
Barbara Denny, Esq.


Comment by Councilwoman Barbara Denny on January 13, 2014 at 9:18am

Hello again, eCoronado readers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

One person asked me some questions over the weekend regarding this written review of our meeting. Here are the answers.

No, I didn't "interrupt" the mayor. The writer of this review is incorrect. We use "points of order" during meetings for procedural matters. For example, a procedural matter is my statement that I'd like the opportunity to make the motion on the agenda item that I brought to council.

Yes. As a fine point, a confident and gracious mayor acting as chair (presiding officer) of our meeting would have inquired first as to whether or not I wanted to make the motion before he started to make a motion himself.  Casey went ahead and started making a motion without asking me whether or not I wanted the opportunity to do so.

No, city officials maintain that Coronado council meetings don't follow Robert's Rules of Order. These are the rules with which most people are familiar because they are most frequently used by various boards. You can read about Roberts Rules by clicking here.

Coronado council is supposed to follow Parliamentary Rules during meetings. You can read about them by clicking here.

I wrote that council is "supposed to" follow Parliamentary Rules because it doesn't do so. 

The mayor habitually violates the Parliamentary Rules because he habitually attacks me.  Elected officials aren't allowed to make personal attacks, referred to as "personal remarks." Here's the Parliamentary Rule:

10. PERSONAL REMARKS IN DEBATE ARE ALWAYS OUT OF ORDER - The presiding officer must rule all personal remarks out of order.

In this vein, watch the 3 December 2013 meeting video here.

Scroll down on the right side of the screen to see this agenda item 11 f. Then click on the item that says this:

Introduction of "An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Coronado, California, Amending Section 2.34.040 of Chapter 2.34 of Title 2 of the Coronado Municipal Code Regarding the Duties of the Auditing Committee of the City Council" and Adoption of a Resolution Revising City Council Policy # 3 Entitled "Assignment To Audit Committee." City Council Business 11f

Among other things, you'll hear the mayor refer to me as "repugnant" and "repulsive."

Yes, the mayor was out of order because he made personal remarks.

Yes, as presiding officer of our meetings, the mayor is supposed to enforce the meeting rules, not violate them.

All the best,
Barbara Denny, Esq.


Comment by MIKE GAPP on January 13, 2014 at 12:13pm

I followed Concilwoman Denny's direction and went to the following link;

The following is just my opinion, after thoughtfully reviewing our honorable Councilwoman Denny's objections, both int eh meeting, and on this forum.

Bottom Line Up Front - I say "No Foul" on this one.


Some of the Positives that I drew from this (and other) observations is that:

1) We, the Citizens of Coronado, benefit greatly from some key strengths of our vibrant City Council and Mayor, as well as our excellent City Manager. Blair King - some of those key strengths being;

(A) Councilwoman Denny's profound and observable encyclopedic knowledge of the histories and laws which, the latter decreasingly perhaps, affect modern politics and the decisions made,

(B) Councilman Ovrom's directness and ability to plop a matter in a nutshell for the public to ingest, as he did on this matter in the video at about the 20 minute mark, and

(C) of course, what I consider to be a great pearl among a necklace of other strengths of our local government's membership, Mayor Tanaka's proven intellect and outright endurance on these matters, as evidenced by how he (to me at least) gave due process and hearing to Councilwoman Denny's earnest objections and valid (but perhaps indigestible to the common goldfish attention spans that have become so common) pinpointed concerns about the measures being taken.

Some of the Negatives that I drew from this (and other) observations is that:

1) Respect for dissenting views, particularly complex fact-supported ones, is not well-documented by the City Council or the Mayor - that is not to be taken as much of a criticism IMHO - the nature of Leadership is to eradicate competition by any means. It's just a fact (and does not assume that ending dissent has to be through "negative means"), we can talk about Leadership Ideals at another time, but my half a century in the world indicates that I am right, when it comes to reality.

2) If a Mayor or Council Member does not want to be subject to moves or public criticism, proper or not, they need to stop "code switching" whenever it is convenient. - I have countless examples of this being done in Council, but I think focusing on them at this time would be antithetical to this synopsis, and the offenders know who they are. (God love you, grow a thicker hide, Offended as well as Offenders, not just for our sake in the Public, but for your own success in getting your point across.)

3) The (perhaps necessary) use of pronouns and acronyms in the meeting were detrimental to my understanding, and I had to make educated guesses at the meaning of each instance. - That always worries me, but it is a small point.

4) Councilwoman Denny seems to have mistakenly mis-characterized Mayor Tanaka's comments; "repulsive," "repugnant," et al - that is not what seems to have happened after watching the video, repeatedly. That said, I think it is an honest mistake of understanding by Councilwoman Denny, more likely to happen after all the load the honorable Councilwoman Denny has taken resisting many measures in my attention that follow the pattern of questioning change, particularly possibly-extra-legal changes, in matters that continue to affect Coronado, while similar changes in other cities in California are in evidence that have impacted those respective locales, quite objectively; negatively. - When ya see things objectively, yer gonna be objectionable. LOL


In Summary.

Life is Risk.

If this city is not growing, it's dying.

The trend I see in Councilwoman Denny's leadership is a brilliant command of the facts and a personal standard set on a foundation of steel (which I personally appreciate greatly for reasons she alluded to in the video) - but she is not in charge of the Council and I think she often is buried in semantics among people who can't or don't really care because of relatively innocent pretexts, and not caring, will simply not be diverted by some of her more esoteric appeals to reason and justice.

Meanwhile, the Mayor is in charge, and Mayor Tanaka needs to get things done. - And while I do not endorse everything the honorable Mayor does for, or sometimes what I see as in spite of,  Coronadans, I can certainly empathize with the Mayor, having been a "hirer and firer" a few times myself, that the nature of his position is to to sometimes take fire from even his supporters, in order to attempt to achieve progress and to approach peace. Politics sucks.

....And the Mayor's comments did not seem as a a character attack on Councilwoman Denny to me. They were a qualification, as he saw it from the Hot Seat, of Councilwoman Denny's current tack, from his perspective as the moderator of the meeting, and nothing more. - Councilwoman Denny should thoughtfully consider terminating commentary on anything that can not be transmitted by the written word, for her causes' benefit IMHO (please see her above comments about body language, needing to be present, etc., provided they haven't been edited at the time of this reading). 

Councilwoman Denny remains a valuable asset to the City Council, in my view.

I thank all the Council and the Mayor for their service, with a thumbs up to Mister Blair King and the City Attorney as well, in this matter.

I know it's tough to do what ya gotta do, all of you in government, these are turbulent times.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mike Gapp

Comment by Mayor Casey Tanaka on January 13, 2014 at 12:54pm

Thoughtful commentary Mike!

Comment by Councilwoman Barbara Denny on January 14, 2014 at 9:35am

Hello, Mike Gapp.  I hope this reply finds you well.

Thank you for your kind words.  I appreciate and understand your entire comment.

I'm also impressed with your thoroughness.  Thanks for taking time out of your day to view an agenda item discussion on video and contribute your thoughts.

All the best,

Barbara Denny, Esq.

Comment (keep it clean & on topic)

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