Buried in the online edition of today's LA Times was this little gem about the City Council asking the City Attorney's office to petition the California Supreme Court to (hold your breaths for this) strike a decision of the California Court of Appeal for the 2nd District from the official reporter. Oh yeah, the three-judge panel unanimously held that council-members not paying attention during procedings that are effectively judicial in nature violates due process.
Here's a particularly telling excerpt from the story:
"The Los Angeles City Council, which was busted by a state appeals court for not listening during a public hearing, now wants to ensure the stinging rebuke can't be cited as legal precedent.
In closed session Wednesday, the council voted 10 to 0 to have the city attorney petition the state Supreme Court to remove the court ruling from legal books. Five members were absent."
I almost feel awkward writing anything beyond this. Do they SERIOUSLY think they are being intellectually (or otherwise) honest? I mean I know I'm talking about the same City Council that rolls to work in style (see e.g. Beth Shuster, "Lincoln Sets the Standard for City Council Members," L.A. Times, Jan. 15, 2000, B1), but there has to be SOME common sense hiding in that chamber somewhere. And in case it's lost on any of the members: YOU ARE THERE TO SERVE YOUR CONSTITUTENTS, NOT CUT DEALS IN THE BACKROOMS WHILE PEOPLE SCREAM AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS. I'm almost tempted to yearn for the days of the Spanish Viceroys. At least they had the semblance of listening to complaints...or so I hear. But I digress, back to the case at hand.
"'We're saying that the facts are unique to this case,' said Katie Buckland, a spokeswoman for City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo. 'We don't think it's a good precedent for any time a government body is meeting.'
She said the city was concerned that, strictly applied, the ruling could mean that the council must always sit "still and silent" during any proceeding, not just a quasi-judicial hearing."
Heaven help us if ANYONE tells the Council that they should actually pay attention to government business.