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Despite Black Lives Matter protests, Mountain View City Council backs 'toothless' advisory board for police reform

Original post made on Dec 2, 2020

The Mountain View City Council voted to create a new advisory board to address community-police relations, falling short of what activists in the community sought in the wake of national calls for police reform.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 10:32 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by Alexander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 2, 2020 at 11:34 am

Alexander is a registered user.

Disappointing that the councilmembers, especially Abe-Koga and McAlister continue to spend time talking about themselves and complaining about residents rather than listening to them.

In last night's meeting, the HRC, after hundreds of contributions and countless hours of work, was given just 5 minutes to present. Compare that to the ~30 minutes of defensive rambling on the topic at the end of the meeting by Abe-Koga, Kamei, and McAlister, and it tells you everything you need to know about their priorities.

Posted by Essy Stone
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Essy Stone is a registered user.

I was shocked at how dismissive and disrespectful the council was towards all the callers last night. Like the evidence collected by the HRC, the calls revealed a clear pattern that the council chose to ignore, and worse, seemed to take as personal attacks against themselves. I was initially pleased to hear that Mayor Abe-Koga is vying to replace Simitian as supervisor, but after this meeting, it’s become evident to me that she is unfit to hold the position. I will not vote for her, I will tell others not to vote for her, and I will work to elect someone who actually listens to their constituents in her place. I hope my fellow MV Voice readers will join me.

Posted by Miriam
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 2, 2020 at 12:39 pm

Miriam is a registered user.

To hear council suggest that some of the most engaged Mountain View residents "do not know how Mountain View works" is really disappointing. The complaint that advisory bodies in Mountain View are "toothless" comes directly from folks who have served on such advisory bodies.

While I agreed with some and not others, I appreciated that councilmembers Clark, Hicks, Matichack, and Ramirez calmly responded community member feedback based on the merits of the arguments. The Mountain View community can be passionate, and personally I believe this is a strength of our city. I hope that in their roles as public servants and elected representatives, members of city council will respond to passionate community feedback by listening carefully and responding thoughtfully to what the community is saying.

Posted by Michael
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 2, 2020 at 2:24 pm

Michael is a registered user.

It would be helpful if this article included which Council members voted for / against the creation of the new advisory board.

Posted by Glen
a resident of The Crossings
on Dec 2, 2020 at 3:02 pm

Glen is a registered user.

Why fix something that isn't broken? Looking at Mountain View police's own web site from before the time of the BLM protests and the police reform shows evidence that the MV police was already doing what the protesters advocate. MV police are trained in de-escalation. They have a diverse and qualified force. They are transparent in the number of times and circumstances when they must apply force. I'm a nobody in MV, but the MV police and MV politicians return my calls. I can go to the MV city council meetings. I don't need a committee to get in the way when I have a complaint.

Posted by SC Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 2, 2020 at 3:53 pm

SC Parent is a registered user.

This seems like a reasonable approach. If the Council had created a more empowered board (like the Rent Control Board), they would have been accused of giving too much power to unelected members and we would have had civil war about the process for approving members. If you think the Rent Control Board is unaccountable or insensitive to the needs of renters, it's a bit schizophrenic to be demanding this board have unabridged power.

This decision places the board on the same level of responsibility as all of the other city commissions. The City Council members will continue to ultimately be responsible to the voters as to whether they are addressing the community's concerns. And there are new councilmembers joining soon, so this vote respects the contributions of the new members. Again, it seems reasonable to me.

Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 2, 2020 at 5:33 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

Where do I sign up?

This advisory board needs more than just cop haters and boot lickers at each extreme.

Posted by Todd
a resident of Whisman Station
on Dec 2, 2020 at 7:03 pm

Todd is a registered user.

Are there ANY members of the Mtn. View City Council who were NOT endorsed by the police union when they ran for office?

Posted by Ron Wolf
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 3, 2020 at 6:25 pm

Ron Wolf is a registered user.

"The last thing we would want here to have an adversarial relationship where we have a body where our key partner in all this, the police department, feels like some level of trust has been broken," Clark said.

Well, no Mr Clark, you are totally off on this. The last thing 'we' would want here is to have a police dept that is not accountable to Council or is against having their actions reviewed.

This whole thing is just terrible optics and couldn't look more like intentional stonewalling. I'm disappointed in Council letting this opportunity for better governance slip by.

Disappointed, but not surprised, #followTheMoney...

Posted by Mark
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 3, 2020 at 9:50 pm

Mark is a registered user.

The organization BLM, is a violent, Marxist organization, which I do not welcome or want to come to our city. Activist, stay out of Mtn.View. Go to Portland or Seattle were you are welcome.

Black Lives matter, yes, so do Brown, Yellow and every color under the sun matters. Yet you can not say this without the BLM organization threatening you for saying that.

Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 3, 2020 at 11:56 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

Sounds like the City Citizens are going to have to pass another City Charter Amendment so that a independent committee gets ELECTED by the City with the power to discipline the City Police.

Our experience with the RHC has proven that the City Council will try to manipulate that committee.

Perhaps with the threat of the City using the City Charter to handcuff the City Council might be enough to get them off their you know what's and get something done the right way?

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Dec 4, 2020 at 7:58 am

SRB is a registered user.

Really disappointed that the City Council didn't go with the successful model it had adopted a few years ago to address environmental sustainability issues (another crisis):

"The Environmental Sustainability Task Force 2 (ESTF-2) was a Council Advisory Body of appointed community members that ran from September 2017 to June 2018. ESTF-2 developed 36 recommendations for specific actions the City can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Regardless of how a committee is labeled -a Task Force, an Advisory Body, or both- what matters are the goals set for its work.
There was hardly any discussion of goals during the Council meeting, let's now hope the newly elected council will set some tangible ones.

Posted by JustAWorkingStiff
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2020 at 11:31 pm

JustAWorkingStiff is a registered user.

Any Advisory Board city uses for police oversight should receive training on why and how police operations are currently conducted. And any differences of opinion between the police and the advisory board clearly identified and acknowledged. It has been my experience that there may be a very wide gap between what inexperienced civilians think and the why and how of actual police work.

That gap needs to be narrowed, and there may be areas where they will need to agree to disagree. The problem with these kind of issues is that the wrong policy or operational implementation may result in a police officer killed, injured, or inadvertently reduce their effectiveness (the law of unintended consequences).

The City Council made the correct decision to have this committee in an advisory role, not a decision making role. The Advisory Board will need to sharpen their data collection and persuasion skills, and rely less on just making demands. The police department should have the final say how they conduct law enforcement operations, subject to oversight from City Council.

With that said, I am a bit critical of MVPD. It did not surprise me to see a survey suggesting bullying/over bearing MVPD officers. Over a period of a decade I received 2 tickets. One from Sunnyvale PD, the other from MVPD. Both busted me fair and square since I did indeed violate traffic laws. The difference was that the Sunnyvale PD officer was very professional when issuing me a ticket. The MVPD officer used bullying, unnecessary language unrelated to issuing me a ticket. I am a supporter of law enforcement and found his conduct unprofessional. In the past, I was an elected civilian representing civilian problems to law enforcement. We had a very good working relationship, with law enforcement being very effective. I observed police officers being very patient with both naïve and rude civilians, which was a tribute to their professionalism and training. This was a very violent and heavily armed city, with about 100 murders in a good year, and approaching 400 murders in a bad year, along with significant riots. Yet, this MVPD officer operating in a relatively low stress city chose to bully somebody who was cooperative and no threat (unless you consider dropping my laptop on his foot a threat). MV is a pretty quiet city compared to the violent city I came from, so I do not believe that this MVPD officer was experiencing so much stress as to justify his behavior. What is the point of this story? A police advisory board can be useful, but it needs to have boundaries.

Posted by AlishaRendals
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jan 11, 2021 at 6:19 am

AlishaRendals is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

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