It’s a good thing the young historical essay contest winners and Girl Scouts recognized at the beginning of the May 10 Los Altos City Council meeting didn’t stay for the duration. They would have witnessed a poor example of civic engagement at a meeting marred by needless drama and dysfunctional leadership.
First, the approval of a resolution disbanding the city’s downtown parking committee over Brown Act (the state’s open meetings law) violations drew protests from both committee members and their opponents, chiefly two former Los Altos mayors, Ron Packard and David Casas. Their group, Friends of Los Altos, raised the Brown Act violations and triggered a third-party investigation. The arbiter agreed that there were violations and recommended disbanding the committee. However, the arbiter also ruled that the city could use the information the committee gathered as part of the public process for creating a downtown parking plan. That didn’t sit well with Casas and Packard, both of whom issued threatening responses (Casas: “Tonight is not the end of this saga – this is not going to go away.” And Packard: “We did not threaten to sue the city, although tonight we’re coming close to it.”). View the webcast at losaltosca.gov to see for yourself.