There is something irregular going on with Council member Randy Pope as I believe it’s time for some open discussion to occur in order to understand some of his recent actions which I find to be not in the best interest of Oakley.
I have thrown Mr. Pope two strikes this week for issuing a comment in the Contra Costa Times and failing to attend the All Abilities Playground ribbon cutting. These actions to me seem opportunistic to me as he is quick to talk to the media/internet as if he is leading the charge (which he isn’t) while not taking the time to show support for something so positive in Oakley with the groundbreaking.
I do not believe it to be appropriate or ethical for a council member to state his or her opinion to the media prior to the City Council taking action on an agenda item later in the evening. Essentially, Mr. Pope is saying his mind is already made up prior to public comments and council discussion–that is not a healthy attitude.
What if Mr. Pope, upon hearing council discussion and public comments, changes his mind? Does he go back to the reporter and get to take back his opinion? He would appear wish-washy. This is what happens when you are quick to insert opinions prior to agenda item discussion.
Normally, there is nothing wrong with explaining an Agenda Item to a reporter for clarifications—unfortunately, Mr. Pope inserted an opinion which the Contra Costa Times published on 1/11/2012 at 12:19:57 AM PST and later removed that opinion at 8:49:15 PM PST.
There is nothing wrong with paragraph below as he explained the issue at hand on the Density Bonus which he is correct on the history.
Councilman Randy Pope noted before the meeting that the Oakley City Council previously allowed Corporation for Better Housing to build a certain number of apartments per acre not realizing that this state law would give the nonprofit the right to add more at a later date.
Unfortunately, he screwed up by inserting his opinion which was originally quoted and later was removed on the update where Mr. Pope proclaimed “It stinks to high heaven”.
It’s worth asking why this was removed.
Not to sound like a conspiracy nut, because they are counterproductive, but the other side of this issue is why could he spill his opinion to the newspaper, but decide to keep his mouth shut on this issue during the actual meeting discussion?
I like Mr. Pope, but this is somewhat bizarre behavior for him. After all, had he said “it stinks to high heaven” during the council meeting, that would have been a headline and probably drawn cheers from the audience and the rest of the city. Instead, it’s not on record on the council minutes.
Mayor Kevin Romick and City Manager Bryan Montgomery were both used in the same article and they did not get to insert their opinions on this issue in order to score kudos from Oakley residents. So I am curious why did someone who kept his mouth shut during the actual discussion during a council meeting miraculously have an opinion for the newspapers?
But this is not the only odd behavior of Mr. Pope, it got me thinking about some of his recent activities on the web.
It needs to be asked why is he an administer on a Facebook group called the Oakley Watchdog when the purpose of the group is to watch over the very people he serves with? There is no better example of a conflict of interest than this.
Some of his posts are even questionable and somewhat negative towards the City. On December 8, Mr. Pope posted at 2:27 pm the following:
The DA and FPPC have advised that they will not be opening any proceedings regarding the Council’s aborted home loan deal with the City Manager. So now it is time for us to put in place some protections/preventions from it happening again. I would like to hear from members of this group on their ideas. You can post or message me privately if you like.
On the Watchdog Group, there was a post regarding donations to Friends of Oakley where it came across in my opinion as “hey look at me, I donated and so should you or you are not as good as me”. I was not the only one offended by the arrogance of this statement—after some back and forth about the intention, the post deleted by Mr. Pope.
He then made a post on Oct. 26, 2011 on the group where he said:
“I have contacted DDA Bolen of the Contra Costa DA’s Office, and Adrianne Korchmaros of the FPPC, and requested each conduct an inquiry into the allegations under their respective agency purview(FPPC=conflict of interest, DA=violations of Brown Act). These types of things take a while, and I wouldn’t expect any fast answers. In the meantime, your elected officials now have no doubt that the citizens of Oakley are watching and engaged”.
This is something that should have been handled behind the scenes, not in the public eye in order to pander to a small group of people. Some applaud this type of transparency while others essentially might say he sold out the rest of the council and city staff. I’d of waited until after the investigation to report to the public what transpired.
He also posted the anti-city of Oakley articles from the Times City Manager Mischaracterizes Home Loan Gift on (Oct. 23, 2011). Why would he, as a council member, who is the only vote against the deal publicize such a negative article? Could it be because his name was applaud during the entire incident while others were dragged into the mud?
On Saturday the city held a ribbon cutting for the World of Discovery at Crockett Park where many representatives from the State were on hand while Mr. Pope was absent. This was a magnificent day for Oakley; Mr. Pope was a no show. Even Carol Rios, who was attacked for missing events and meetings was on hand.
Will Mr. Pope now be attacked for missing this event or will those who attacked Ms. Rios now become hypocrites and give him a pass? The truth is, his absence is not that big of deal, but its part of a larger pattern.
I would encourage Mr. Pope in the future to save his opinions for after the council meeting and removing himself from the Watchdog group as it appears he is trying to control the message at the expense of other council members and city staff.
Instead, he should try to have a more open and honest debate within the community outside of the Watchdog group and newspapers so he does not get to grandstand.
I realize I will not score a lot of points for this post from the Watchdog folks, but enough is enough with this guy. If he wants to be a councilmember, I would hope he starts acting like one and having a positive influence on Oakley rather than trying to self-promote himself.
After all, promoting the wonderful City of Oakley in a positive light is more important than promotion of any single council member or resident. Mr. Pope, please knock it off.