“It’s like being a high school student gossiping in the halls.” That’s outgoing Councilmember Jo Anne Johnson, describing the way the Council chooses its chair and assigns various committee positions. The process—which concluded last week—is done behind closed doors, and Johnson said it’s largely a game of “he said, she said” that “leads to a lot of misinformation and hurt feelings.”
“I always wanted everything to be out in the open, transparent,” Johnson told us. “What you say privately, why not say it in public?” She said she tried to change things during her decade on the Council, but found, “people don’t want to rock the boat.”
Johnson did add that, while she doesn’t like the secrecy, she’s pleased with this year’s results, which saw Danny Mateo keep his chairmanship and Joe Pontanilla take over as vice chair while holding his post as head of the Budget and Finance Committee.
“This next budget is going to be rough—experience and continuity are extremely important,” Johnson said.
Gladys Baisa and Mike Victorino, veteran Councilmembers who missed out on the chair- and vice chairmanships, will head up the General Plan and Water Resources committees, respectively. Other chair assignments include: Riki Hokama, Policy Committee; Bob Carroll, Land Use Committee; Elle Cochran, Infrastructure Management Committee; Mike White, Economic Development, Agriculture and Recreation Committee; and Don Couch, Planning Committee.