While other city councils talk budgets, education, and housing reform– the city council members at Carson are squabbling over where to sit during their council meetings.
It's nice to know that our cities are run by such mature and professional adults.
According to the Daily Breeze, Mayor Jim Dear decided in April that he wanted his primary council opponents Lula Davis-Holmes and Mike Gipson to switch seats. Though they refused, Dear ordered the city staff to switch the nameplates to the seats where he wanted them to sit.
Dear went so far as to have the electronic voting system aligned to his preferred seating arrangement, forcing the two council members to vote orally while the rest of the council voted electronically.
Though the two members remained in their original seats, Dear retaliated by referring to Gipson and Davis-Holmes as “the others” in meetings, calling their verbal votes “blurt-outs,” and trying to disregard their votes.
This isn't the first instance of child play in the Carson city council meeting room.
A 2008 YouTube video shows Gipson refusing to sit down, prompting Dear to chide him.
“You're like a child,” Dear says, once again telling Gipson to sit down.
At one point, Gipson even challenges a member of a audience to a fight.
“Your nastiness and your vulgarity is not acceptable,” Dear said, eventually calling the council to recess in obvious frustration.
Davis-Holmes told the Breeze that Dear is simply trying to assert his authority.
“Mike and I are elected officials,” she said. “We're adults, we're not in a fifth-grade classroom. We should be allowed to sit where we want to.”
Unfortunately, only the council itself will be able to solve the seating problem. According to city manager Jerry Groomes, a city policy approved in 2009 gives the mayor authority to set council seating arrangements.
When not scolding council members during meetings, Dear works as a substitute elementary school teacher.
That explains a lot.