City Council Meeting Tonight Will See ‘Mandate’ Candidates Face Numerical Reality

Written by on January 11, 2021

Tonight’s city council meeting in Malibu … it is safe to say … will be unlike any other.

Bruce Silverstein and Steve Uhring have virtually no chance of convincing the three other city council members of adopting their agenda.

But they are proposing ways to radically alter the way that the city manager runs city hall.

Silverstein and Uhring propose what they call transparency.

They want the city council to name them to a special committee … with the power to legally subpoena documents …

They call it “A Truly Independent Special Investigation Subcommittee .”

They say the allegations by former city councilman Jefferson Wagner … of an alleged bribery attempt 11 years ago against him by someone whose name he forgets … warrants the investigative committee.

Silverstein and Uhring want what they call unrestrained inspection rights … the ability to basically look at any paper on any desk.

They want the city council to take complete control over setting the Agenda for meetings of City Council.

Other changes … a whole list.

Silverstein is also making demands on the city manage … lots of demands.

Lots and lots of demands.

Take this one …

I hereby demand that Steve Uhring and I both be included in any conversation or writing in which you communicate any information or view about either of our two proposals to any City Councilmember, as well as any communication in which you obtain information from any of the City’s attorneys or anyone else respecting either of the proposals.

The same goes for any communication you may have respecting any other matter that may come before the City Council on January 11, 2021.

I also demand to be included in any communication you have with any of the City’s attorneys prior to the commencement of the City Council meeting on January 11, 2021.”

And unless the city manager complies … Silverstein backs up his demands with a threat to … in his words … “seek appropriate legal recourse.”

Silverstein’s demands include dozens of memos to city manager Reva Feldman… at one point eight memos in one night … according to three sources.

Feldman says she and her staff are overloaded with Silverstein demands.

In a memo released Friday … Feldman says “The Council-Manager form of government provides that the City Manager works at the direction of the Council as a whole.

Says Feldman … and we quote …

Councilmember Silverstein has demanded immediate responses to a considerable amount of work outside of the City’s Adopted Work Plan…

The City currently does not have sufficient resources to accommodate these demands without interrupting normal business and halting other previously established high priority Work Plan tasks. She is asking all five council members to provide direction on the amount of time per week that the City Manager and staff should provide on responding to requests from one Councilmember.

Another problem … Feldman says … is the number of Public Records Act requests that are paralyzing city hall.

And Bruce Silverstein is behind half of the increase.

City taxpayers are paying for staff to respond to 26 public records act requests from Councilmember Silverstein in response to his 26 PRA requests exceed 5,000 documents.

Feldman says the City is obligated to respond to all requests received pursuant to the PRA … and is doing so …and will continue to do so … as mandated by the PRA.

Additionally, since December 14, 2020, Councilmember Silverstein has requested thousands of records.

Feldman gives examples:

A request for documents pertaining to the City’s purchase of the City Hall building 11 years ago.

He wants documentation that reflects the identity of any real estate professional, consultant or other person or entity who advised or represented the City in the purchase of the property and the terms of the engagement of any such person or entity, as well as the identification of the real estate professional who represented the seller in the transaction.

And he wants a copy of the telephone logs and any other documents within the possession or control of the City that reflect the time, duration, and telephone number of all calls and text messages made or sent to or from any phone or other device used by the City Manager for the past nine months.

Enough … says the newest city councilmember not affiliated with Silverstein.

Paul Grisanti says city hall is being paralyzed by two city council members … and he says the majority of the council should set priorities.

Grisanti wants to change the policies … so that city council members get information from staff via city manager.

And he proposes that the city manager should ask the city council for guidance … on any request that requires extensive work by city employees.

Grisanti proposes that requests for information from members of the City Council that exceed one hour of work would need to go to the City Council for a priorities decision at a meeting of the City Council.

Finally … this context.

Two new city council councilmembers are claiming a mandate for change.

Bruce Silverstein and Steve Uhring together ranked number one and two in the last election.

But it was a crowded field … and together the three candidates running on a platform of getting rid of the city manager together won just 42 percent of the votes cast.

Two of them … Silverstein and Uhring .. won.

Andy Lyon lost.

Altogether … more than 61-hundred people cast votes in Malibu.

The raw vote count shows a difference of only 310 votes between Silverstein … the most-popular candidate … and the highest ranking losing candidate.

The four candidates who generally supported the city manager split the 58 percent majority of the ballots cast. 

Silverstein says over and over again that voters wanted a change … and expressed it by giving him the largest vote total. 

He got the largest number of votes. 

Looking at the ballot counts … shows that Silverstein … Uhring and Lyon got far fewer votes than the others. And as of tonight … the only math that matters is this …

Silverstein and Uhring are two.

Grisanti ..Mikke Pierson and Karen Farrer are three. 

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