Council Roundup: City to increase fees to close budget gaps
by Michael Langley
Apr 18, 2014 | 7917 views | 36 36 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tracy City Council members learned Tuesday that the city is losing millions of dollars each year to provide services to residents.

The city staff presented an updated master fee schedule — a list of costs to residents for city services and facilities — during the regular meeting of the council.

Anne Bell, a management analyst in the finance department, told council members that the city was raising all fees by 2.556 percent starting July 1 based upon the U.S. Department of Labor Consumer Price Index for the Bay Area, which is the closest geographic comparison available to use.

“The annual update of the fee schedule attempts to align city revenue fees with the cost of providing the services,” Bell said. “However, consideration is also given towards making sure that those positive services are affordable to the community. It’s a balancing act.”

Bell told council members that the city took in $3,736,979 during the 2012-13 fiscal year from the fees it charges for business licenses, animal adoption, programs at and rental of the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts, and other services. That same year the city spent $7,949,738 to provide those services.

“The fee revenue is considerably lower than the cost to provide the services,” she said.

Councilman Robert Rickman was surprised by the discrepancy.

“I don’t think it had ever been laid out like this before,” Rickman said.

Rickman questioned whether the city needed to do more to reduce the subsidy of more than $4.2 million from the city’s General Fund before the revenue from Measure E — the half-cent sales tax increase passed in 2010 — ends next year.

“One thing I don’t like is raising fees or taxes,” he said, adding, “If it’s not for increasing revenue or to get a profit, then it’s not a tax.”

Mayor Brent Ives asked Administrative Services Director Jenny Haruyama whether fees might have to be increased again soon or if the city might have to reduce services.

“It’s conceivable that, as we have this discussion about how we’re going to close the gap, that these could be on the table as well as a component?” he said.

Haruyama responded that both would be possibilities.

Councilwoman Nancy Young asked Haruyama about other funding sources.

“I know there’s different grants that we could get for different things, as options maybe for helping close some of these gaps,” Young said.

Haruyama said the city already employs a person whose responsibility it is to aggressively seek out grants.

Rickman made a motion to accept the fee increases, which was seconded by Councilman Charles Manne. The council voted unanimously to approve the increases.

More homes in Tracy

Acting City Manager Maria Hurtado revealed that twelve new housing developments are almost ready to break ground, adding about 1,200 new residences to Tracy.

Hurtado said 500 of the planned residences are high-density, multi-family housing, and the rest are single-family homes.

“Whereas the economic recession resulted in a standstill for residential construction these past several years, this last year the city has experienced a substantial amount of residential development, which is a good sign of economic recovery,” Hurtado said.

Hurtado also said Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is adding a second location in Tracy. She also mentioned that Ono Hawaiian Barbecue, Extreme Pita and SweeTarts cakes and cupcakes were among the growing list of food vendors opening up shop in Tracy in the near future.

Meeting disrupted

The meeting was disrupted for a few minutes during the first period for public comment when businessman and regular council meeting attendee David Helm accused Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel of spreading rumors about him.

Helm said he had heard that Maciel was questioning the propriety of a gift the owner of Helm’s Alehouse had received from Tracy firefighters.

Helm then accused the mayor pro tem of publicly calling him gay in front of his son. He added that Maciel could not “hold his jockstrap in a fight.” The mayor asked Helm to temper his language, because several teenagers were in the council chambers. The businessman said he believed he had offended no one.

When Helm’s five-minute time for comment expired, Maciel, who had not yet spoken, asked the mayor if he could clarify something in Helm’s statement. Helm returned to the podium, saying “OK, Mike, let’s do this.”

Ives told Helm that his time for comment was over and that he would allow Maciel to make his statement. Helm protested, but the mayor said that he was being disruptive and asked Helm not to force him to call the police officer providing security to remove him from the meeting.

Helm replied, “Please, Brent, I implore you to have me removed for speaking my mind.”

At that point, the officer, who had moved down the aisle close to Helm, walked with the businessman back to his seat. Helm yelled back to the podium as Maciel began to speak. The mayor immediately told Helm that the act was disruptive and asked him not to repeat it.

Maciel said that if anyone wished to know if something they heard from a third party was true, they should seek him out and ask him. Watch the public comments portion of the meeting in the video below.

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at mlangley@tracypress.com or 830-4231.

 

 
Comments
(36)
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dirtyharrie
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April 22, 2014
Hypocrites.
fortheunderdog
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April 21, 2014
I would rather have Maciel comment in public instead of trying to seek him out. I don't trust this guy any further than I can throw him.

And did you see the smirk on Ives' face at the end of the video. He may have been smiling but I would think otherwise.

This bunch of good ole boys has to go. Good ole boys thinking has to go. Good ole boys politics has to go.

I, for one, will not give my vote to Maciel for mayor.
Rudy_Santos
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April 21, 2014
I never voted for either of them especially Maciel. I could tell from the beginning that Maciel was cocky and arrogant which I can not stand in an individual.
yamca
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April 21, 2014
I'm glad you are upset with status quo, but your and your friend's methods sure suck. In fact you knucklehead are the reason for status quo. Gary Hampton should have shirts made for you boys as a reward for helping Gary Hampton (the city manager) get a ten percent increase.

I wish I had friends who were willing to create a diversion to help the city manager gave himself a raise. The same meeting where we are told that measure e funding is all gone.

The problem with "change" is you get worse and worse, until you find Gary Hampton the city manager with his hand in the cookie jar, taking the last cookie. And his friends creating a diversion to help him get away with it.

I too want to "vote them all out". But the problem is we have a crook for an assistant city manager stealing the cookie jar that was intended to protect the city's public safety.

Wtf?
Altimeter
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April 21, 2014
yamca,

Did you forget to take your Prozac this morning?

If you’re going to take on more responsibility you should be compensated for it, I bet if you took on more responsibility you will be crying for more money.

You’re the Knucklehead where is the proof that Gary Hampton has his hands in the cookie jar? You are the reason why this country is going down the tubes all hot air and no substance.



You should consider yourself part of the status quo along with the others.

yamca
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April 21, 2014
Watch the video. Paul Miles tried to put a stop to it. Paul Miles just did not point out that Gary Hampton is now the Assistant City Manager and is essentially giving himself a raise.

When people take on more responsibility there should be a period of time when they are evaluated. They should not be allowed to take measure e and give themselves a raise. Gary Hampton's credit card should be given back. And by that I mean the 10% raise he just gave himself.

This happened in Bell CA because people like you stood by and said nothing. The city manager and police chief in Bell gave themselves raises while the city had no money left.

Gary Hampton is both the City Manager and Police Chief and is essentially giving himself a raise and the only one in the room who almost caught onto it, is Paul Miles who has been saying Gary Hampton is a crook.
rosa62
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April 21, 2014
Yomomma, you really need to think about what you're saying. Gary Hampton is serving, on a temporary basis, as the Assistant City Manager.

He is one of only a few honest people at City Hall and you are way out in left field thinking he's crooked.

You need to calm down, take another Prozac and have a little quiet time.
yamca
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April 21, 2014
Just because he is a new city manager does not mean he is not corrupt. Everyone there is corrupt. He is no exception. You can put on a nice face and shake hands and then turn around and write yourself a ten thousand dollar check. That's corruption. Nobody is exempt in politics, because money corrupts everyone. Thing is he should never have dipped, because measure e was supposed to be used to hire more police not give him ten thousand dollars. You take a prozac if you want to ask your doctor that is your business. But measure e is the citizens business. Corrupt people had better watch out because when you misuse measure e, it is our money too. For those who doubt, you watch the first ten minutes of the video and you will quickly be enlightened about his character. Rosa has something to hide.
fortheunderdog
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April 22, 2014
What needs to be seen is how many other city government employees have a city issued credit card and how many have misused it. Those are the people who should be looked at. If any are found to have used their credit card for personal business (not for the city) they should be asked to resign or terminated. There should be no double standard given the fact that Churchill was let go of his position. Like I've said before, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Hampton is doing 2 jobs at the moment. His responsibilities are to protect the people of Tracy and look after their best interest.
yamca
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April 22, 2014
I think both need to be done. I think he should give back the money and his credit cards too. Not one or the other. If he needs more money to do his job he should ask for a formal review. Find someone else to do his job because the only thing he's done so far is to write himself a check.
yamca
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April 21, 2014
Firstly, the Tracy Press did not film it there is a video camera built into the walls. Our community or city, whatever you call it has been publishing the videos on their website since Churchill set this in motion. The Tracy Press simply decides to publish the link in their website because someone went there and acted like a drunk bozo, using "jockstrap" name calling in front of the students.

They usually get hauled down to the PD and held there for a while until the meeting is over, but this guy has an in with the PD and can act disruptive all he wants because the police chief likes him.

He should go down there and apologize along with the chief for not standing up to his pal.
Seek_the_Truth
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April 21, 2014
TP, thanks for uploading the video clip!
Macpup
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April 21, 2014
I would like to know how much of the "shortfall" is attributed to the Grand Theater. It has not turned a profit since it was built. Instead of increasing fees (which is a cute word for taxes), lets start cutting things like.... the person that is paid solely to find grants... must not be working.

Why is the Bay Area the guide for what our fees should be? Isn't it our lower economy/housing why the bay area moves here, so aligning us with them is a scam.

As we all knew when Measure E passed, the City will never live within it's budget and will need to extend this sales tax OR increase fees (which is a tax). But we have a statue and a kiosk downtown!
yamca
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April 21, 2014
The grand did this and your daddy did that. Get over it. The grand is the best thing the downtown has going.

Measure e was a money bucket that the chief dipped into so he could pay for an armored vehicle and a huge RV that nobody uses.

dirtyharrie
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April 20, 2014
I do not think Gary Hampton will arrest Helm, as Helm has publically endorsed Hampton in his political career as TPD Chief.

I think even the police chief is afraid of him.
rayderfan
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April 21, 2014
Chief Hampton isn't going to arrest Mr. Helm because Mr. Helm has not done anything wrong.

I am sure if Mr. Helm did something wrong he would expect Chief Hampton to arrest him. That's why Mr. Helm is right, because he stays within the boundaries of the law.

Unlike our former City Manager.
jtashjian
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April 20, 2014
Go Dave Helm. I can't believe Maciel is going to be the next Mayor? Can we please have a candidate with integrity?
bobrod
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April 19, 2014
Yet another example of the "Special Rules for special people" attitude in city government. Bullies are cowards.
DHELM
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April 18, 2014
I did call Maciel out. Once again, he never denied anything I said. At least he didn’t outright lie.. He has invited dialogue when he sought to defend the indefensible against “bloggers” but doesn’t do to well when it happens face to face.

As far as the Tracy Press goes, come on guys at least try to be accurate. I expect to hear your endorsement of Maciel for mayor any day! BTW, this clarifying comments change invites dialogue, but Maciel has chosen it as a time to rebuke citizens..too bad.

I was wondering why the Press didn’t cover the discussion of shortening public comments and presentations. If citizens only get 5 minutes, does that mean no-one be allowed to exceed 5 minutes? No more sales pitches from certain developers, lengthy staff presentations, etc? Or will only the council’s supporters be allowed to speak? Maciel is a bully, and when you stand up to him, he does what most bullies do...folds

DHELM
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April 18, 2014
OK, let's address the issues one at a time. There are 15 minutes set aside for public comment at the beginning of each meeting and unlimited time at the end of the meetings, so no time was "wasted." The law provides for this time so that the public can have input. We live in a republic and it supposed to be democracy. The First Amendment to prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. No Foul.

Maciel has stated publicly that I was gay and was running a gay bar and I called him on that several years ago. I'm not gay and if I was it wouldn't be anyone's business. The fact that a sitting council member would say such a thing is reminiscent of a grade school jibe and certainly not something that should be tolerated. It's called bullying, homophobia, xenophobia, and host us other adjectives which are derisive and just plain inappropriate. Maciel never denied saying it, he just got that deer in the headlights look when I confronted him previously.

Maciel has previously criticized me for getting rid of former Chief Thiessen and said I went after her. He remains an ardent supporter. I never called her any names. I pointed out the issues and she ended up electing to resign for “mostly personal reasons.” Not before accusing some of the staff of being sexists and walking away with 90K of the taxpayers money as a severance. Maciel was wrong on that one too and he still sore about it.

Then there was the “Hayward Conspiracy” where in Maciel formulated an elaborate scenario that pitted locals against the marauding tribe of ex-Hayward cops seeking to take over the City of Tracy. Yea, right.

DHELM
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April 18, 2014
Maciel went on a smear campaign writing letters to the editor and making accusations about me and others critical of some city decisions and actions. I called him on that advising him I for one was not a nameless faceless “creature” as he had indicated in writing. When myself and others questioned why the city gave away 7 million dollars in taxpayer money to a developer, never collected 2 million dollars contractually due to the city from the same developer, why the city was attempting to illegally shorten the airport runway to benefit the same developer, and why they would accept a check for 50k from the same developer and rewrite the fuel service operators lease to benefit both the FSO and the same developer, Maciel got defensive and after a time, when facts kept being presented, went on offense. When he didn’t have facts, he made it personal. Looking disapprovingly down upon those who dare to question his eminence and then spouting off and challenging the great unwashed to take issues to the grand jury. Well the runway ended back over 4k feet, the city took over the fuel service operations, prices went down $1.50 a gallon, the developer can’t build houses dangerously close to the airport but we still haven’t got the 2 million, and we are all paying more for water and sewage to subsidize the giveaway after the council voted to increase fees on all residents.

While looking into all that I found Churchill had abused his position, the public’s trust, and his credit cards repeatedly. The outside auditors covered it up as did Johnston, along with the counsel. Ives sought to minimize the matter, although, he to his credit acknowledged it happened. My efforts to ferret out the truth were blocked and Maciel went on offense, again in vain. He pledged his support publicly on television, in the press and all around town. The more I dug, the more I found. Two reprimands, a paid week off, all the disinformation and rallying of the inner circle proved ineffective. Not even a call from the Tracy Press supporting Churchill. The council, Maciel included, fired Churchill. Not before Maciel ran around town proclaiming I was a “Loud mouth moron with nothing better to do than file public records act requests.” I called him on that too and he didn’t deny.

me-here
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April 21, 2014
Dave, thank you and the other citizens who keep up to date on the airport and the issues with the favored "developer" who has not done what was agreed to, who gets special favors of not paying for the given services to his property and going back to the airport runway...reducing its potential so the developer can build houses where the buyers will complain until the airport is closed. So many of us know Ives tries to let the developer have what he wants at "our" expense.

Dave, keep on the Council's trail. You are doing a good job ...
Rudy_Santos
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April 21, 2014
Can someone please explain to me why the airport is that important? I'd rather have a waterpark that the entire community can utilize and benefit from instead of a small airport that is losing money and only .001% of Tracy rseidents utilize.

yamca
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April 21, 2014
Hold on. Couple of issues. From what I could see, the development actually does not impede the airport. I actually drove out there month ago looking at property and surveying the area. I found out the airport is out there where they have gravel mining going on. I never knew that before. There a huge holes in the earth adjacent to the airport about a hundred feet deep and as big as football staduims. I also saw a few water canals at both ends of the airport runways. There are roads at the ends of the runways as well. I had to laugh when the people said they were upset at a runway extension. It's a joke for anyone to say the airport is an issue. I guess that's why it comes down to such rude behavior at the meetings. Nobody can make the airport an issue so instead they try to give the audience a visualization about mike's "jockstrap". TMI and disruptive. I don't want to pick sides, but Gary Hampton got a 10% increase and sat by to watch the fireworks at taxpayer expense. Paul Miles said not to give Gary Hampton a 10% increase and I have to agree with Paul Miles right there. I don't want my taxpayer money going to Gary Hampton's salary increase. Everyone is corrupted to the bone. Can you say Bell, CA where the police chief was giving himself a raise. Well we have Bell all over again.
Altimeter
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April 21, 2014
rudy_sanots,

The Airport is a goldmine!

It was here far before any of you moved here to Tracy.

It serves a vital service to the community and can provide a bigger economic value.

Pilots fly in from all over to fuel-up at a reasonable price and SkyView Aviation provides service to those pilots. That's a money maker in my book, far more then having more homes and a swim-park which will cost the taxpayers of Tracy.

Build your swim-park and homes somewhere else!

dirtyharrie
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April 22, 2014
The airport is no goldmine. The only mines are the concrete company that has been mining there since anyone can remember. The federal gov abandoned the airport years ago. Development would not hurt the airport which might be nice to have real toilets and a restaurant. No harm there.

The airport has been a money loser since Skyview moved in. DHELM should have let the developer pay the 50k. Skyview is a money pit. Not a goldmine. All talk. No action.

Also regarding the runway extension.A joke. That four feet of runway allowed a Skyview employee to run his car full of Skyview customerz into the water-ducts at the end of the runway. No joke. One Skyview customer was killed in the water for four feet of runway.

There is no gold at the end of this four foot rainbow.
DHELM
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April 18, 2014
When the Tracy Firefighters Association gave me a fire helmet that they paid for and had “Helm’s Alehouse” placed on the shield, Maciel went down to city hall and wanted an investigation done because he heard the Firefighters had rewarded me for getting rid of Churchill. Fact was I hosted their Firefighter of the Year dinner and the gifted me a helmet as a thank you. If Maciel tries to refrain from relying on rumors, maybe he should try harder, or at the very least, not start provoke investigations which affect people’s lives (remember Mike, your line). Oh yea, Maciel forgot…He voted to fire Churchill.

For the record, I said Maciel couldn’t hold my jock in a fight, verbal or otherwise. The mayor interrupted me asking me to tone it down. Of course that was after his dismissive gesturing and facial expressions throughout my presentation to council. I didn’t know “jock” was a bad word, it can’t be that bad, the press quoted it. In retrospect, probably wasn’t the best phrase. Fact is, every time Maciel shoots off his mouth or we end up in an intellectual excerise he ends up short.

The officer on scene never escorted me anywhere. I did call Maciel. Once again, he never deni
jarbuckle
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April 18, 2014
Mr. Maciel is a bit of a bully. I'm glad Helms called him out. Maybe we could have a celebrity smack down like we had at the grand with the celebrity dancers. That would be very entertaining. I bet Maciel wouldn't have much to say after that.
Tracyite4life
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April 18, 2014
I am a little concerned about the raising of the fees. I understand trying to raise them a little to help the budget but a lot of families count on things at the senior center and the classes for disabled kids. Please don't make it so some families can't use the city things.

And for the man who wanted to talk to the councilman, which it looks like everyone wants to comment on, please stop.

you wasted the time the council needed to consider actually important issues because you had beef with one of them. that's my time. that's all of our time. we pay them to do the business and what he did was not business. as they say, take it outside.

if he called that guy gay, so what. if he's spreading rumors about him, don't waste meeting time because most of us don't care. we do care about the fees.

that was not the right way to approach his personal situation.

please stop and keep it professional.
guapo
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April 18, 2014
It's public forum no? And if you pay the city council then you should ask for your money back. They don't get paid. Your right though. Take it outside. However it does concern me that the councilman didn't deny it.....
C3TJ
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April 19, 2014
Having watched the way certain council members behave and the manner in which the city is run, I'm perfectly fine with what happened. No time was wasted, when you hold public office, I hold you to a higher standard. If you're going to act like some of our council members have, then you're not fit for public office and should resign your position. So, no, there was no time wasted.
Sero7
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April 18, 2014
Kudos to Dave Helm. I think this is the right way to approach the situation and clear the air. People in today's society want to do things via text and email and not talk things out. Communications head to head is how you deal with things. As for Maciel, well there are people like him who have a little power and think they are above all others. When a person comes along like Mr Helm's and confronts them, they don't know how to deal with that and feel a loss of control because they feel they are above others and they shouldn't be challenged. Mr Maciel is accountable to the citizens of Tracy, but in his eyes he is accountable to nobody but himself because he feels

above all others. In light of all of this, the Mayor and City Counsel I hope realizes that they are from here forward going to be closely watched on what and how they do things. I will use my voting rights to bring in new Council with the exception of Rickman. And no, if Maciel runs for Mayor, that's a no for my vote. To much a "good old Boys club" presently!
jimf01
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April 18, 2014
Here's an attaboy to Dave Helm, and another to the Tracy Press for putting up the video.

I can back up the notion that there are City Council members in this town, past and present, who want to do what they want to do, and don't want to hear any crap from the citizens.

Mr Helm has experienced this first hand, apparently. I did as well.

It is extremely discouraging that we have Mr Maciel treating citizens with utter disrespect, he didn't deny what Helm said in his bleating response, now did he?
rayderfan
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April 18, 2014
I commend Mr. Helm for confronting Councilman Maciel about his off the cuff comments and would encourage everyone, who has been the subject of Maciel's continued comments, to seek him out.

You may not be successful in finding him but you will certainly be following what he has suggested as a good way to get to the bottom of things.

I strongly encourage Mr. Helm to seek Councilman Maciel out and have that converstation with him regarding Maciel's comments. Maciel has a tendency to stick his foot in his mouth and calling him out regarding his actions is a great way to make him understand what he is doing.

What Maciel doesn't understand is that his off the cuff comments are what starts the rumor mill working. If he would refrain from making comments like he does Mr. Helm would not be inclined to call him out.

Maciel doesn't realize that he is a City Councilman and not just a Public Citizen and therefore everything he says is taken as a comment from a Councilman. It's a lesson he should have learned following his "Letters to the Editor" period when he would write a comment then get attacked in the public comments.

Come on Mike, I thought you were smarter than that.
rayderfan
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April 18, 2014
For Mr. Helm, I encourage you to continue looking into "things" as it is clear there are numerous "items" from the past five years that will be interesting to learn about.

Churchill was "DIRTY" and everything he was involved in should be brought into question.

For the Editorial Board; your attempts to discredit Mr. Helm by including videos of him getting fed up with the shenanigans that go on at City Hall should make you realize that Mr. Helm is a vigilant citizen and business owner who only wants city government cleaned up. No more, no less.

As for Maciel's need to make a comment following an "Items From The Audience" public comment, and Ives' allowing him to do so; I think it's time again to review the City's policy on that. I believe the policy says elected officials are not allowed to comment. They have to listen and they can't make statements. At least that's been the City Council's policy for the past five years.
yamca
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April 20, 2014
From afar it seems he's upset about the swim center. I don't know why he can't stay on subject though. I guess its because the swim center ain't a bad idea.

In debate class they had a term for his type of fallacy. Its basically a bait and switch technique where a debater tries to get his fellow debater riled up, and when he does that , he says the other guy lost.

Both debaters get dragged down the tubes if that were to happen.


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