Councilwoman Marti Emerald made an unusual reference to an “Advisory Council” on Monday in her support of a new downtown library and City Hall. Readers asked me to find out who sits on the council. We couldn’t get them right away, as Emerald’s office said city attorneys needed to review the list.

Today we got the answer.

The councilwoman’s office sent me a statement and a list of names. In her statement Monday, Emerald said 20 people advised her on the library and city hall decision. Today’s list includes 34 names. There are 10 people from 92120, nine from 92115, eight from 92119 and seven from 92124.

The statement from Emerald’s office:

One of Councilmember Marti Emerald’s campaign promises was to put together an advisory council; a group of community members who expressed a desire to be involved but who don’t have the time to commit to attending monthly meetings.

This committee doesn’t duplicate the exceptional work done by the many Community Planning Groups and Community/Town Councils from District 7 that meet once a month. This Advisory Council meets quarterly and discusses one or two current events and concerns important to the District.

This is a list of those who, during the campaign, asked to be included on the advisory council:

(name, zip code)
Mr. James Brodfuehrer, 92126
Ms. Connie Wood, 92124
Ms. Roberta Froome, 92124
Ms. Maggie Brasch, 92124
Mr. Gary Knight, 92124
Ms. Dana Brown, 92124
Mr. David Taylor, 92124
Ms. Carol Mundell, 92124
Ms. Barbara Edgington, 92119
Ms. Nancy Rideout, 92119
Ms. Celeste Teipel, 92119
Ms. Ann Marie Spaulding, 92119
Ms. Carolyn Balkwell, 92119
Mr. Mike Minter, 92119
Ms. Jennifer Spencer, 92119
Mr. Howard Oleff, 92120
Ms. Barbara Cleves Anderson, 92119
Ms. Claudia Fisketti, 92120
Mrs. Selma Ben-Yehuda, 92120
Mr. Amnon Ben-Yehuda, 92120
Ms. Diane Coombs, 92120
Ms. Alia Khouri, 92120
Ms. Karen Owen, 92120
Ms. Sue Finch, 92120
Ms. Carol Shear, 92120
Mr. Chuck Latimer, 92120
Ms. Barbara Filner, 92115
Mr. B.J. Nystrom, 92115
Ms. Teri Nystrom, 92115
Ms. Verna Knowles, 92115
Ms. Renata Miller Zaks, 92115
Ms. Martha Spinler, 92115
Mrs. Sandy Weber, 92115
Ms. Pat Coffey, 92115
Mr. Chris Erickson, 92115

I talked with Geni Cavitt, the councilwoman’s communications director, about the list and their response to my People’s Reporterrequest yesterday. Cavitt said the office wanted to run some of the statement’s phrasing by city attorneys before releasing it to the public. The office had no intention of appearing secretive, Cavitt said.

Before receiving the list, I called Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, an open government advocacy group. Some readers have questioned whether the Emerald’s group would violate the state’s open meeting laws. Francke said the meetings are legal because the group would be considered a political organization and not a governmental body.

“It doesn’t come up often because the practice itself is unusual or it hasn’t become controversial,” said Francke. “What may be strange is the candor with which this official refers to the group.”

— KEEGAN KYLE

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