I’d like to pose these questions to the community:
Who is making the decisions in the City of Arcata? I believe the ultimate decision-making power and responsibility for these decisions lies with the Council and no one else. Attorneys and staff are there to advise the Council, not make decisions without our knowledge or consent. As you read this, please keep in mind there are two possibilities. 1. The staff is acting independently without consent from the Council. 2. The Council is fully aware of all of the decisions that are being made and approving them outside of publicly noticed meetings, violating The Brown Act. In either case, the responsibility still falls on the Council and is completely inappropriate and illegal. Mayor Atkins-Salazar told me months ago in a text that she lets the staff and attorneys make all of the decisions for her, making this a likely explanation for how these decisions are being made.
How much taxpayer money has been spent in total on staff time and attorney’s fees to investigate me for false allegations? The City refuses to say.
Where did the money come from? It wasn’t in that year’s budget. The City refuses to say.
Who approved all these expenses? If it was the Council, then they violated the Brown Act because this didn’t happen in a publicly noticed meeting. It happened behind closed doors. The alternative is that the employee who made the allegations against me approved the expenses on her own which would be a clear and blatant conflict of interest. The City refuses to say who approved these expenses.
Who is approving the City press releases? The only way the Council can legally approve them is by holding a publicly noticed meeting and holding an official vote. No one council member, including the mayor, has any expressed authority to represent the City or the Council without authorization from the Council via a majority vote. When the city attorney or staff issues a press release and says, “…the City…”, who are they referring to? Are they speaking on behalf of the City staff? Is the staff making all the decisions that the voters elected council members to make?
As a Community, we all need to be asking these questions of our elected officials. You deserve to know what we believe and where we stand on every issue. You deserve a City Council of leaders who will take the time to dig into the issues and aren’t afraid to question anything. We need to be able to trust the information we are provided with, but most importantly, we need to verify by asking hard questions, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.