Editor's note: This is a transcript from the Aug. 20 Mission Viejo City Council
During the sixth hour of the Monday night meeting of the Mission Viejo City Council, the following exchange took place. The exchange is unusual in several ways.
In this transcript, Council Member , who often votes with Council Member , this time accuses Schlicht of lying.
The following debate also involves a dispute about who has the right to speak, about what, and when. Schlict also insinuates a future lawsuit against the city as a result of the vote against her position.
Both Schlicht and Mayor are running for reelection this November.
Following a 4-1 vote approving the designation of a fire map zoning designation. ():
Schlicht: “I’d like to make a statement please.”
Ury: “That was what the past eight months were all about—"
Schlicht: (interrupting) “—I have a right to make a statement—”
Ury: (interrupting) “—You can make it during closing comments." (He attempts to move the discussion to the next agenda item)
Schlicht: (with the microphone off, asks for a point of order) “Mr. City Attorney, am I not allowed to make a comment following a vote?”
City Attorney William Curley: “Well, I know it’s in here somewhere. Hold on. Your local rules—“
Ury: (as an aside) “Because there’s something that’s been unsaid.”
Curley: “Your local rules give the opportunity for the council members to give a brief explanation for their action. I’ll find the precise language, but I know it’s in here. So my recommendation is ‘take the comment.”
Ury: “Fine, we’ll go ahead and have the comment if it makes you feel better. I think the only thing that’s happened over the past eight months is everybody watching, everybody on this dais, all the work that’s been done says that Cathy can make her own decision, but what you’re saying is incorrect. If you would like to buttress your incorrectness, go ahead. It’s all yours.”
Schlicht: “OK, well, I recognize the importance of proactive fire control measures in hazard mitigation measures. But the public has to be part of the process. And the public doesn't understand—it’s never been disclosed to the public that there are liabilities that go along with this zone. And I think we’ve had a flawed process. We should have had workshops where the public could have been educated along the way. And as a final comment, it was the fire authority, Cal Fire, says public involvement updating these fire maps—I’m sorry—It’s important that those interests be heard. And those interests are the public. And they, they have been misled. And I’ll end it with that. Thank you.”
Reardon: “Council member Schlicht, it is, it is very important that the residents understand that the liabilities that you just mentioned—and you didn’t enumerate them—I did read through your documents three times—they are liabilities you have stated, and you have made as liabilities. They are not true, they are not accurate. You’re entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to your own set of facts. And we have said over, and over, and over, the only reason that, that we even thought about and considered this option is because it was transparent for our homeowners. And to say anything other than that is wrong, it’s inaccurate, and I, I, I just can’t let it stand.”
Ury tries to move to the next agenda item, but is interrupted by Schlicht.
Schlicht: “I would like to respond. Mr. City Attorney, can you explain what ‘negligence per se’ is?”
Curley: “Negligence per se, I’m not even sure how it would apply in this situation, but it’s a mandatory finding of negligence, an action that doesn’t need to be proven in the sense that it isn’t something where you have the usual formulaic duty, breach, all of those you have to prove up—the mere fact that the action happened proves that it’s negligence. Now negligence is an omission, a failure. Honestly, not trying to be at all pugnacious, I don’t see negligence applying in this situation at all, but I’m sure there’s somebody else who has a different view.”
Schlicht: “It just takes one lawsuit.”
Curley: “That it does. It’s one that I relish challenging because—“
Ury: (interrupting) “—and as I mentioned, after eight months, I think the city has done its due diligence in terms of sparing the residents from the state mandate.”