Santa Rosa Mayor Scott Bartley was the main speaker at the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce “Wake Up Santa Rosa” breakfast at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel this morning. But he wasn’t supposed to be.
He was slated to share the podium with Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire, but McGuire, apparently because of a scheduling mix-up, was a no-show.
So Bartley had to go it alone in a session that was billed as “the state of our city and county from 2013 into the future.”
The mayor began by confronting charges (including those raised in an Oct. 31 Press Democrat editorial titled “SR’s response: Duck and cover mouths”) that the City Council had been shamefully silent following the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, muzzled by the city attorney and city manager.
“Contrary to popular belief, we have always been free to say how we feel,” said Bartley. “The frustration is we didn’t have anything more to say.”
He said he and others from the city were getting all of their news from the newspaper. Bartley said he was proud of the work that city staff and, in particular, Santa Rosa police had done in response to the shooting.
“If we erred,” he said in reference to charges the council was too quiet, “we erred on the side of caution.”
But caution still seems to be the order of business these days.
Moments later, as Bartley was talking about the timeline for the draft tiered EIR for the reunification of Courthouse Square, he was in the middle of describing the upcoming timeline for design reviews, etc. when he stopped mid-sentence, noting that City Attorney Caroline Fowler, who was at a back table, was signaling him that he was delving into something he shouldn’t be.
“The city attorney doesn’t want me to get too involved in this,” he said with a smile.
So, without explanation, he didn’t.
He then moved on to speak about other issues – ones, presumably, more in keeping with the city attorney’s approval.
- Paul Gullixson