Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks called her
collegaues on the rules committee “spinles wonders.”

Despite a round of aspersions against the Oakland City Council cast by Councilmember Desley Brooks and members of the public Thursday morning, potential censure proceedings for Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney will not occur until after a further investigation into her alleged wrongdoings is conducted, the Rules Committee recommended.

The determination ensures the discussion over censuring McElhaney for interfering in the city’s permitting process relating to a housing project next door to her home will not begin until after voters decide whether to re-elect her for a second term on the council on Nov. 8.

An Alameda County grand jury report in June corroborated an earlier article in the East Bay Express and found McElhaney “had a conflict of interest that prohibited her from using her elected position to influence an administrative decision on the townhouse project.” The report added, “Backroom dealing cannot be the standard by which the city of Oakland is governed.”

Embattled Council President Lynette Gibson
McElhaney had canceled the past two rules
committee meetings.

Led by a motion from Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Larry Reid, the committee voted to recommend the city administrator take over the matter and either appoint an independent investigator, in addition, to possibly folding the matter into the current inquiry being conducted by the Oakland Public Ethics Commission.

“What further investigation is necessary? You have the report,” Brooks told Reid, referring to the nearly four-month-old grand jury determination. “You’re hiding behind process to not do the right thing,” Brooks continued to the entire committee.

The Rules Committee meeting was also fraught with personal attacks, mostly from Brooks, who slammed the City Council for its obstinence. She labeled the entire committee as “spineless wonders,” which led to Councilmember Abel Guillen to read the council’s code of conduct to Brooks.

With a hint of smile, Guillen told Brooks, “Being called spineless is a violation of the rules.”
Brooks also called Kalb a “hypocrite” for his intransigence on the McElhaney matter, coming from one the city’s most recognized good government activists, she perceived.

During a Rules Committee meeting earlier this month, Brooks went off a 45-minute rant, which described Thursday as a “filibuster.” Subsequently, two successive Rules Committee meetings were canceled by McElhaney, in an apparent effort to avoid scheduling of censure hearings into her misconduct.