Daly City Council Fight Over Bags

The Daly City Council erupted in a shouting match tonight with a councilmember abruptly leaving the dais. The argument was over process, respect, and a potential Brown Act violation when a request to consider a bag ban was discussed.

Councilmember Canepa asked for the city’s solid waste committee to consider a bag ordinance that he stated was already drafted. It was no surprise since the San Francisco Examiner reported on his intended introduction two weeks ago.

After his comments, Councilmember Maggie Gomez was recognized to speak and did so forcefully. She began by sharing her extreme displeasure with Canepa for what she felt was a disrespectful way to introduce the subject.

When Gomez continued by discussing Daly City’s previous consideration of a bag ban before Canepa was a Councilmember he had enough. Canepa began interrupting her by speaking over her loudly – very loudly. To address the lack of decorum the remaining councilmembers tried to shout Canepa down but to no avail.

Amongst the shouting about respecting others Councilmember Torres’ warnings of potentially violating California’s open meeting laws were heard. Receiving no comfort from the reassuring yells that no violation had occurred he abruptly walked off the dais.

The ruckus settled down and Torres returned to his seat as quickly as it started. It took the steady hand of a shocked city manager to bring some calm back to the schoolyard. The meeting quickly ended after some mumbling about sending the issue to their solid waste committee.

My reaction is WOW! I have not seen a council meeting argument become this vicious so quick in my career. With no real discussion I have no indication if or when Daly City will engage in another bag ban conversation. My sense is it will be sometime from now when cooler heads prevail.