Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Removal Powers In Place

The San Jose Council acted last night in enacting policy empowering them to remove fellow officers from office. The legislation comes on the heels of the Gonzo scandals that have dominated city news for over a year now. Most disconcerting for Councilmembers was their utter lack of capacity to do anything meaningful to 'da Mayor for his ethical problems.

While empowering the local politic with the tools to make removal of corrupt officials possible is a good thing, getting carried away with these policies is not. I have not fully read the new enactment so I cannot pass judgment entirely. We had many lessons from the Gonzo scandal. One of which was that an impotent Council can allow corruption to remain unchecked. But we also saw how quickly our local media can cook up good-guy/bad-guy dichotomies. It was partisanship and mob mentality that brought about the Clinton impeachment trials. Politicians should be held to a higher standard than average citizens. But we should be ever vigilant that these removal procedures are reserved for the worst of the worst and not devolve into a new arrow in the political quiver.


At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wondering what is your basis of knowledge to judge public policy? What do you know, what's your background? Frankly from what I have read you have no basis and no qualifications.

Thanks for telling us your uninformed opinion added to the fact you have not read the new policies and probably would not understand if you did. Way to go SJSU!

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Ben Watson said...

Any San Jose resident can judge public policy. It doesn't mean that there is anything we can do about it right now, but anyone can form an opinion on public policy. After all what qualifications do you have? You seem to be the least educated and most biased person in this discussion, a very ugly combination. And if you have such a problem with SJSU, why don't you tell us what school you went to and what grades you received...oh wait you won't even tell us your name.

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous ABC said...

I also am suspicious of legislation that allows removal from office of a duly elected official. There seems to be more abuse of those laws (Bill Clinton, Gray Davis, Andrew Johnson) than proper use (Nixon). And as much as I think our mayor should have resigned from office after being indicted -- just out of a sense of decency (which he sadly lacks) -- he hasn't been convicted of anything and I would have opposed efforts to remove him at this time. So we'll see how this plays out in the future.

Interestingly enough, East Palo Alto is going through a process right now with one of their councilmembers. This article discusses the council's options in dealing with councilmember Peter Evans who, according to the report, "made offensive comments about whites during city council meetings." One possibility is asking the San Mateo County grand jury to remove him from office.

Also, since this has come up before and there seems to be a bit of confusion about it, while San Jose is a charter city, East Palo Alto is a general law city which, according to the League of California Cities, is defined as "A general law city operates within the parameters and guidelines of California municipal law. The advantage of a general law city is that general state laws have been subjected to judicial scrutiny and tested over the years, so there is relatively little confusion about their application. City charters, by contrast, can be much more complicated and can raise many more questions about what can and cannot be done under state law."

So while the City of San Jose -- as a charter city -- must create specific legislation to enable them to remove an elected official from office, East Palo Alto -- as a general law city -- can rely on existing state laws to try and remove him from office.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

still wondering about the genius of criticizing legislation that the author has admittedly not read. talk about the dumbification of the american media!


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