Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006 | After Kroll finished their presentation, which labeled the city council as “negligent,” council president Scott Peters invoked the “doofus” defense, inferring the voters were at fault for electing rubes to the City Council. He described Tony Young as a former school teacher, Toni Atkins as a health care worker and explained that Donna Frye ran a surf shop.

Peters, a practicing attorney before joining the council, and a person who has voted in lock step to approve virtually any scheme staff put before him, didn’t even convince his colleagues. Atkins quickly took umbrage at his characterization of her background. Young, of course, has been accused of nothing by anyone, and Frye, the only council member who consistently asks questions about proposals, just smiled, since she’d been exonerated in the sewage rate scheme and was widely known to be the only council member who sided with Diann Shipione in the pension fiasco.

Still, Peters has a point that voters ought to consider more carefully the depth of background of council candidates. Anyone who heard the city manager claim on November 18, 2002, as part of Manager’s Proposal II, that a 20 percent increase in pension benefits would only result in a “fiscal impact” of 5 million dollars and didn’t ask a lot of questions about that number, is either corrupt or not paying attention. Only Frye asked any questions and subsequently voted “no.” The council had put the scheme on the consent agenda, so it wouldn’t have even been discussed had not Shipione, then a pension board member, raised hell.

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