By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 09/18/16 – 1:11 PM PDT |
SAN BERNARDINO >> City Manager Mark Scott informed the City Council Friday that he would not allow any of the usual election forums or local election broadcasts unless a majority of the council members voted to reverse his decision.
At least one council member said he considered the revelation worthy of putting on the agenda for Monday’s council meeting as an emergency item so it can be reversed.
“I think it’s a suppression of the First Amendment rights of the public to hear items that are relevant to our government,” Councilman Henry Nickel said Friday. “It is not up to the unilateral decision of the city manager to deviate substantially from prior practice and policy until and unless it has been presented by the City Council, which has the policy-making power both under the current charter and the (proposed) new city charter.”
In his email to council members, Scott emphasized that the council could reinstate election events and broadcasts, but he suggested there was a conflict of interest.
“Just so you know, UNLESS directed otherwise by Council action, we have told those who have asked that we will NOT allow use of the Council Chamber for any election events or taping between now and the November election, nor will we be doing any local election broadcasts on Channel 3,” Scott wrote. “I appreciate that this has been done in the past, but with 2 City ballot measures on the ballot, it just seems smart to stay completely arms length.”
City officials worked on and endorsed a measure that would replace the city charter and another that would allow marijuana in the city.
Measure L would replace the existing city charter with a new one created by a charter review committee. That committee’s members were appointed by council members and Mayor Carey Davis, and the City Council voted 6-1 to put it on the ballot.
Measure P is one of three ballot measures that would replace San Bernardino’s dispensary ban with different types of regulatory frameworks. Intended to give the city more flexibility than either of the citizen-submitted ballot initiatives, Measure P was drafted by the city attorney’s office and put on the ballot by a 5-2 vote of the City Council.
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