Eye on the East Bay: Early bedtime for Richmond City Council
By Contra Costa Times
Posted: 02/06/15, 8:58 PM PST | Updated: 1 day ago
EARLY BEDTIME FOR RICHMOND COUNCIL: The Eye has spent many a long night at Richmond's City Council chamber, watching what at times could only be described as political theater drone on into the wee morning hours. Dysfunction that included name-calling, shouting over one another and clashes between council members -- and council members and the public -- became the norm over the years.
Now, with a new mayor, new council and one vacant seat, meeting times have plummeted; Tuesday's council meeting ended before 8 p.m.
Granted, there were only four council members present, and the agenda was fairly light, but still -- it was under an hour and a half.
So far this year, the longest meeting was just over 3 hours.
"I think that brings us to the end of our agenda," said Mayor Tom Butt toward the end of Tuesday's meeting, a note of befuddlement in his voice.
"Is that right, Madam clerk?" he asked. "There must be some mistake, but I think we're there."
Councilman Jael Myrick said meetings are moving more swiftly than before, and he's cautiously optimistic that will continue.
"It's possible we've gotten lucky so far," he said. "But the first two meetings had a pretty thorough agenda, and we got through a lot of stuff, so there is something to be said about council being a more cohesive group."
It remains to be seen how the dynamic will be affected when a yet-to-be-named council member fills the vacant seat.
Staff writers Nate Gartrell and Matthias Gafni and Correspondent Jennifer Baires contributed to this report.