My colleague Brett Wilkison reported today that Santa Rosa Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi abstained on a vote to cut $5.9 million from the city budget because she objected to some of the particulars. That sparked a sharp response from former councilman Mike Martini. Here’s an excerpt from his letter to the editor:
“Abstaining is appropriate for conflicts of interest or lack of preparation but not because you don’t like the options. Furthermore, if you are going to abstain from the vote you should abstain from any discussion.
“The main job (and the hardest) a council member faces is preparing the budget. How the people’s money gets spent is key to the success or failure of local government. How a council member prioritizes spending, supports or opposes city employees and allocates resources between planning, recreation, utilities and public safety is the most appropriate measure of the job they are doing.
“To abstain from this decision is a great injustice to the citizens.”
The full text of Martini’s letter will appear in Friday’s paper.
What do you think about Jacobi’s abstention and Martini’s response? My thought: Maybe she should have asked for a vote on each of the proposed cuts to create a record of which she — and other council members — favored and opposed
— Jim Sweeney