Mayor Anthony Silva’s vote against (or was it?) moving the Marshall Plan on to the next stage continues to inspire discussion. Here’s how it appeared from the back press table of the council chambers. This came close to the midnight hour, probably not a moment of clarity for anybody in the room.
The vote came due on a three-part motion to 1) hold community meetings on the Marshall Plan 2) authorize $300K to pay for Ceasefire and keep the Marshall Plan steering committee alive and 3) after getting community input, have the city manager come back with financing that jibes with bankruptcy negotiations.
For the record, this vote didn’t enact the Marshall Plan, but rather keeps it moving forward.
Silva said he supported the Marshall Plan, yet he’s got a competing tax initiative, which was to be presented as something to oppose in the moments to follow the vote. All the council members voted to approve the motion, and Silva said he abstained. Word is that city administrators in the well told him that there was no button for abstaining, so he pushed the next best thing – casting the “no” vote.
Silva hedged his bets, saying he supports the Marshall Plan, announcing that he abstained and then voting “no.”
City Clerk Bonnie Paige read out the 6-1 vote count, saying Silva dissented. The council moved on with no further discussion.
Section 404 of the city charter on quorums says:
A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Every member when present, must vote upon all propositions. (emphasis added)
It doesn’t say so here in Section 404, but the common practice in Stockton allowing abstentions is a stated conflict of interest. There is no third button available to council members who abstain. Silva made no conflicts known, so we reported that he voted “no.”