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BLOG: Opponents of Measure N Misstate the Facts. Is it Fear? Of What, Really? And Sign Vandalism?

The proponents of MEASURE N did not reinvent the wheel. Other City ordinances are far more complex and bureaucratic than MEASURE N. The claims that MEASURE N will drive away business are FALSE.

The proponents of MEASURE N did not reinvent the wheel.

Throughout California Sunshine Ordinances are very similar and have many clauses in common. Like other open government laws, the Dixon ordinance has been tailored to serve our best local interests.

The Davis proponents of a very similar ordinance are now including key sections from Dixon’s version in a draft presented to their own City Council.  They agree that there is good reason for a clause to prevent city employees, council members, or the agents of either, from lobbying or briefing a majority of council members on pending actions.  They are also including a provision that would require an item to be placed on their City Council’s agenda at the request of 20 or more registered voters.    

Local opponents are making a big fuss about the MEASURE N provision allowing the public “unlimited” time to speak on subjects pertinent to our City’s business. In fact, our present City Council has not limited speaking times; and, that practice has not been abused by the citizens.  The wild claims by opponents that someone could read the telephone book or encyclopedia all night are unfounded. MEASURE N will help to ensure that citizen input is not surpressed.   

  • Other City ordinances are far more complex and bureaucratic than MEASURE N.

MEASURE N is only 9 pages (5 pages in the absentee ballot booklet) with 4,390 words.  It serves all of us by keeping our local government honest.   By contrast, the City’s Nuisance Ordinance is over 40 pages long and about 17,000 words. 

What’s more, the City’s Zoning Ordinance has been in violation of State law for over thirty years due to its noncompliance with Dixon’s General Plan.  Former City Managers and bureaucrats allowed those violations to stay on the books.  Our oldest neighborhoods suffered the consequences.  With MEASURE N in place, citizens could put items on the agenda and problems would not be ignored for years.

  • The claims that MEASURE N will drive away business are FALSE.

Just look to all of the other communities that have Sunshine Ordinances and you’ll see that open government has nothing to do with whether business thrives.  And ask yourself whether an ordinance, not yet on the books, is somehow responsible for a downtown that has been languishing for thirty years and for the infrastructure problems in other areas such as the Northeast Quadrant.

  • MEASURE N, the SUNSHINE ORDINANCE, is endorsed by local citizens who have FOUGHT Government Waste for years.

The proponents have been the driving force behind other campaigns that, with your support, have saved thousands of local taxpayer $$$’s.

Opposition to MEASURE N is based on a misleading report prepared by the City Attorney and a consultant that padded their pockets with over $20,000 of our tax money.

  • Dixon has Been Under a Dark Cloud for Far Too Long!!
  • The Campaign against MEASURE N is local politics at its worst.
  • The attacks on the provisions of the “Sunshine Ordinance” are BASELESS and FALSE!
  • The attacks on individuals and on the proponents’ signs are disrespectful and mean-spirited.  It seems the same people who say that Dixon government is "already open enough" don't even want you to see the proponents campaign signs.

Vote for our right to be informed:  YES ON “MEASURE N”

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Gary Erwin October 07, 2012 at 09:15 PM
I would like to address your point “The claims that MEASURE N will drive away business are FALSE.” Morning View LLC (the proposed Movie Studio) has halted their project in hopes of seeing Measure N’s defeat . So when you write that ”N” will not drive away business are you writing your blog as an out and out lie or have you missed reading the news that they have halted their plans?
Greg Coppes October 07, 2012 at 10:08 PM
The proponents of N are violating one of their own credo's, to not pass a law without away to pay for it. They had the chance to refute the cost and were not prepared to do so at the forum.
Steve Steiert October 08, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Rodney, A question for you, "Local opponents are making a big fuss about the MEASURE N provision allowing the public “unlimited” time.." YES, we have. Davis would make a 3 minute limit (Section 6a). "The wild claims...read the telephone book or encyclopedia all night..." I haven't made those claims, but please answer this: Is there ANYTHING in Measure N that would stop a person from reading the phone book? No limits means no limits. AN EXAMPLE: On 9-17-2012, a special meeting of the Council was held to take action on some time sensitive material for the movie studio. Here was the item: "8.1 Minute Action directing the City Manager to issue a letter of support to Morning View, LLC committing to expedited action regarding the entitlement process for a studio project in the City of Dixon’s SouthWest development area." I can assume that "time sensitive" and special meeting meant that something had to be done, now. Let's assume Measure N was already in place and there was one council member who was against the movie studio. (very realistic) First, a group of people could hold the microphone and speak until 10PM in opposition to the studio. Second, a unanimous vote of the Council would be needed to extend the meeting past 10PM Third, 10PM comes around and the one council member opposed to the studio votes no on extending the meeting. Motion never comes to a vote. Talk about tyranny of the minority.
Rodney Farmer October 08, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Based on their loooong history of not finding a home (e.g., Vallejo, El Dorado Hills, Sutter County, Fairfield, more), I think anything anyone in Dixon would say about them one way or the other at this point in time is premature and naive. Who knows what their true intentions are? I spoke to the owner of one of the prospective parcels recently and he has NOT BEEN CONTACTED about this AT ALL.
Steve Steiert October 08, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Rodney, another question, "They (the Davis folks) agree that there is good reason for a clause to prevent city employees, council members, or the agents of either, from lobbying or briefing a majority of council members on pending actions." Our current council--to my knowledge--has no civil engineers. And the City has some big issues regarding wastewater, well water, etc. Under Measure N, our city engineers would be unable to "brief" 3 of the council members on these complex engineering issues. QUESTION: Rodney, do you feel the public is served by muzzling our city engineers and keeping them from offering their professional advice?
C. Duncan October 08, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I suspect *Rodney Farmer* is a troll and currently serving on our city council and running for mayor who also writes a lovely column for the Independent Voice who sports the initials M.C., but given that he can wear many different hats/personalities this should not pose a problem.... Wearing my sarcastic hat, Cindy Duncan
Rodney Farmer October 08, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Either you are unaware or you are ignoring the practice of the past mayor that SELECTIVELY limited speaking times for the public. Developers, staff and the council members themselves generally were given unlimited time to present their views, but those citizens who disagreed with the mayor were sometimes cut off virtually mid-sentence. And aren't future challenges to certain council decisions limited by state law to items raised by the challengers in previous public hearings? Have you ever tied to make more than a simple statement to the Council in 3 minutes or less? It's not easy to explain much of anything complex in 3 minutes.
Steve Steiert October 08, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Rodney, thanks, and I'll answer your question, "Have you ever tied to make more than a simple statement to the Council in 3 minutes or less? It's not easy to explain much of anything complex in 3 minutes." Fair enough, then why didn't Mrs. Riddle, put a 5 or 10 minute limit. Or why didn't she say that several citizens could combine (as they have proposed in Berkeley) their speaking times and allow one person to speak for 20 minutes? But that's not what Measure N says. It says "unlimited." We have to vote on what the measure says.
Steve Steiert October 08, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Rodney, thanks, and I'll answer your question, "Have you ever tied to make more than a simple statement to the Council in 3 minutes or less? It's not easy to explain much of anything complex in 3 minutes." Fair enough, then why didn't Mrs. Riddle, put a 5 or 10 minute limit. Or why didn't she say that several citizens could combine (as they have proposed in Berkeley) their speaking times and allow one person to speak for 20 minutes? But that's not what Measure N says. It says "unlimited." We have to vote on what the measure says.
Rodney Farmer October 08, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Another misstated "fact", or wild (and untrue) speculation. Perhaps I should be flattered. But why not ask M.C. himself?
Rodney Farmer October 08, 2012 at 01:47 AM
". . . muzzling our city engineers and keeping them from offering their professional advice?" Give me a break. If three council members need briefing, what about the other two? Do you propose keeping them in the dark and only bringing them up to speed later with a different version of the "facts"? That would be possible with what you suggest. Government business should be PUBLIC business, not business conducted in such a way so as to achieve a preconceived outcome determined by a few. But that is the way many decisions have been made in the past, sad to say.
Steve Steiert October 08, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Rodney, Here's the text of N. Tell me where I'm wrong. Section 12.01.12 Internal Lobbying "No City employee, member of a legislative body, or agent of either shall privately lobby or brief a majority of the members of that or another legislative body, either at one place and time or serially, to propose, oppose, or otherwise discuss any recommendation or agenda item pending or to be submitted to such legislative body." Under Measure N, the city engineer could NOT recommend a particular course of action to three council members. This section---of all the badly written sections of Measure N---is beyond ridiculous.
Steve Steiert October 08, 2012 at 03:10 AM
In fairness, I should have inserted the word "privately." In other words, any discussion with three council members-- outside of the open meetings--would be off limits. And how is this going to help Dixon?
Mike Smith October 08, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Rodney, "Based on their loooong history of not finding a home (e.g., Vallejo, El Dorado Hills, Sutter County, Fairfield, more), I think anything anyone in Dixon would say about them one way or the other at this point in time is premature and naive. Who knows what their true intentions are? I spoke to the owner of one of the prospective parcels recently and he has NOT BEEN CONTACTED about this AT ALL." As one of the people speaking for Morning View - Simply Not True. Mike Smith
Dane Besneatte October 08, 2012 at 07:22 PM
It is interesting that Rodney Farmer has so much to say which mimics proponents lies and misstatements about Measure N and his baseless claims are exactly what the proponents of Measure N postulate. With such strong support of Measure N and knowledge of ordinances elsehwere why weren't you at the forum in support of this measure? Like the proponents Rodney will read the words out loud and then tell you it says or means something different. All we have to do is trust the good will of these 'open government' fighters as they are in it for the good of the community, LMAOF, now that is naive and blatantly ignorant. Either Rodney is one of them or a knucklehead as he knows not about what he writes. Believe what you will Rodney as it is clear you have made up your mind and will not be swayed by the facts. Your arguments are without merit and your responses are the same blather we get from the proponents of Measure N. If Measure N would not effect business coming to town why is it that Mike has placed an item on the next agenda to 'clarify' the application of one provision of the proposal specifically related to Morningview? Tomorrow night we have an agenda item on this so can we expect to see you there?
Jack October 09, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Although hinted at, here's a link to Morning View's letter to the reporter. I think their view of Measure 'N' is unequivical. http://www.thereporter.com/letters/ci_21719070/studio-deal-awaits-n-vote
Mike Smith October 09, 2012 at 04:55 PM
As stated in Morning View's letter: "We have discussed our concerns with the authors of Measure N but even though they did not intend the measure to discourage businesses from coming to Dixon, they have been unable to respond satisfactorily to our concerns about the specific language. Accordingly, we are asking that they urge a NO vote on the measure, and do so publicly at the Oct. 15 community forum, with the commitment that we would be available, if they want our help, to assist in redrafting it for a future ballot in a way that would avoid these unintended consequences." The matter is in the hands of Measure N's author. Morning View hopes Measure N's author will support a “No on N” at the Oct. 15th forum with Morning View’s commitment to work together on a revised the Measure. Any help in motivating such an outcome would be much appreciated and would allow the project to move forward. Mike Smith
Ian Arnold October 10, 2012 at 07:34 AM
I've also extended the same invitation--both privately and publicly--to what's left of the proponents of Measure N. I absolutely believe that the original intent was simply for greater transparency in local government. I think the majority of us would support that. Unfortunately, Measure N as written is filled with unintended consequences. Even Ms. Riddle and Councilmember Ceremello have admitted that the language of the ballot measure goes beyond their intent. It comes as no surprise to me that Councilmember Bogue--who signed the ballot statement as a proponent of Measure N--now opposes it. Like candidate Ted Hickman, Councilmember Bogue read the full text only after he had committed to support the measure. I salute him for publicly admitting he was wrong. We all make mistakes, I only hope the remaining proponents of the current ballot measure are willing to admit to theirs.
Dave Johnson October 11, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I guess Rodney Farmer wasn't around when Mike Ceremello would address every meeting of the City Council, Parks and Recreation and Planning Commission, and go on and on and read newspaper articles. Then when the City Council passed a resolution to limit speaker time, he sued the City, the Council Members, and some of City Staff individually, in Federal Court claiming that his Civil Rights were being violated. The suit last over five years and cost the City well over $100,000, then he dropped the suit for who knows what reason. That is why there is a five minute limit for speakers, which the Mayor doesn't enforce unless a person starts repeating himself.
Younger Curmudgeon October 20, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Hey Dave, Rod and Mike are same person, different personalities. I just read Mike's campaign website. Pretty sure Rod got the college degrees because Mike certainly did not. Maybe Rod does not remember Mike at the mike ... that was interminable Mike? Rod may feel his time in the spotlight was being hogged? I am not terribly well versed in these complicated matters. I did watch United States of Tara on showtime. Mike has four personalities that I am aware of. Maybe he could start a show of his own after the election?
Mary Ann Courville October 20, 2012 at 07:02 AM
There is ONE big difference between Measure N and the City and County of San Francisco's Open Governance Ordinance. This difference is: San Francisco's Sunshine Ordinance allows for EXEMPTIONS for Businesses. Those Exemptions are for •Personnel records ..•Medical records..•Home telephone numbers ..•Social Security numbers.....TRADE Secrets.. •Documents that are subject to the attorney client privilege •Documents protected from disclosure by the State Constitutional Right to Privacy •Certain law enforcement records •Records protected from disclosure by state and federal laws Dixon's "greater transparency" statement 12.01.02..does NOT ALLOW these exemptions.....and ALL must be revealed. Measure N will KILL business opportunities in Dixon.

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