Nothing to Moo about

August 13, 2008

YAWN. S-t-r-e-t-c-h! Yep, right around August, a Town COWncil gets a mite tired, and really needs to take a load off and rest itself, to get right back to legislatin’ in the fall. At least, our Town COWncil does. As we mentioned in our June 24th COWncil Roundup, the Town COWncil voted for its annual vacation without even talking about it.

The August ‘Legislative Recess’ was included as part of the Consent Calendar, which are “items considered to be routine”, and was not discussed at all during the meeting. According to the one-page staff ‘report’ on the proposal, there are “no pressing issues” facing the COWncil in that time. Therefore, according to staff (and agreed by the COWncil in their unanimous vote), it’s appropriate for the COWncil to take off seven weeks between COWncil meetings! SEVEN weeks? No pressing business?

Other local COWmunities don’t take off this long. The Redwood City Council is meeting three times in August. You might say that’s not a fair comparison – Redwood City is a pretty big burg. They’ve got plenty of pressing issues concerning them. It’s easy to understand why they have to keep working. Fair enough – how about Portola Valley, then? They’re pretty similar to Woodside, and even they are only taking one meeting off – their second scheduled meeting of the month. They will meet as normal August 13th, as well as having TWO meetings in the last two weeks of July – July 23rd and July 30th, by which time our COWncil has already retired until September 9th. Apparently they have pressing issues that don’t apply in lil’ ol’ Woodside?

It seems like a lot of the business of the Town will be shut down for this long period. ASRB isn’t meeting. The Planning Commission isn’t meeting. The ‘report’ recommending this course of action notes that staff tends to go on vacation at this time, leaving the Town Hall shorthanded. Hopefully you don’t need anything done during this time – you’re probably out of luck.

“No pressing issues.” Hmm. You know, we thought of some:

• Fire. With fire season starting early this year throughout California, the COWncil deciding not to hold any meetings during this time might seem a little reckless – especially given Mayor Romines desire that the COWncil move quickly on discussions about adding the Glens to the High Severity Fire Zone. But apparently the COWncil and Town Manager George aren’t COWncerned – we guess it’s just not a “pressing issue.”
• As you can see in our Roundup for the July 8th meeting, the Town hasn’t nominated a representative to the League of California Cities Conference – and won’t know for sure if there are any Woodside-specific issues until after their last meeting in July, and the COWncil needs to nominate someone by September 5th – before the COWncil’s first meeting after their long legislative holiday. Hopefully there won’t be any “pressing issues” at the League conference!
• The many, many rec-COW-mendations from Management Partners that have never been addressed – why, that’s a whole bunch of not-“pressing issues!”
• The simmering anger in this Town between drivers, bikers, and equestrians, that threatens to destroy our cohesiveness as a Town and COWmunity, an issue that is CERTAINLY not “pressing,” right?
• And of course, the strange case of Hope Sullivan, ex-Planning Director and current mystery woman, who has been the subject of much speculation here and elsewhere. What has happened to her? How can such a high-level Town official vanish without word from her boss Susan George or from the Town COWncil, where she sat and answered questions meeting after meeting? Perhaps that’s one reason the COWncil is glad to take their restful vacation – to get away from citizens’ questions about just what happened. Perhaps they’re hoping it will all blow over in the meantime, that it won’t remain a “pressing issue” for us, all COWs, and the Town itself.

Oh well. At least by turning out the lights for seven weeks, maybe the COWncil might at least save a little electricity.

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