Dark Days in Sunnyvale: Will Pat Meyering be Recalled?

It’s May, which means Sunnyvale Councilman Pat Meyering is once again in the what’s-up-with-that-guy spotlight. Almost exactly a year ago, the Sunnyvale City Council censured Meyering for his oddball behavior. He repeatedly shouted down colleagues and even went so far as to accuse some councilmembers of accepting “sweetheart deals” in the form of contributions from companies looking to do city business. They hadn’t taken that money, but it sure sounded good at the time. This was after Meyering sued Sunnyvale—he fell on city property—following his successful election. His lawsuit was not as successful. Word is Meyering’s boorish behavior has been so bad it had a role in Sunnyvale’s former city manager Gary Luebbers and city attorney Mike Martello David Kahn hightailing it out of town. Meyering has kept up the theatrics to varying degrees since then. Instead of rallying votes to get proposals passed on the council, he reportedly told a colleague he preferred to “tear it all down,” à la Heath Ledger’s turn in “The Dark Knight.” As a result, there’s now an effort to get Meyering recalled by collecting signatures to have a special election in November. City officials say the group, www.recallpatmeyering.org, which includes former Sunnyvale Mayor Tony Spitaleri and Vice Mayor Chris Moylan, will need to collect 8,284 signatures—or 15 percent of the city’s registered voters—by early June, which could be a long shot. Time is short and the group’s social media presence could be better—just 49 likes on Facebook as of now.

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8 Comments

  1. Mike Martello was an interim city attorney hired on a temporary basis (month-to-month) after David Kahn resigned and to fill the gap while we recruited Joan Borger. You’re referring to David Kahn, not Martello.

    And Sunnyvale has even-year elections. Our last odd-year election was last year, at which time we voted to move to even-year elections. Our next scheduled council election is 2016.

  2. According to CA Elections Code 21221:

    (a) In the case of an officer of a city, county, school district, community college district, county board of education, or resident voting district, the number of signatures shall be equal in number to not less than the following percent of the registered voters in the electoral jurisdiction:

    http://law.onecle.com/california/elections/11221.html

    According to the information on the recall web site, the Sunnyvale City Clerk is supposed to approve the petition at which point the proponents have 160 days to gather signatures from 15% of the registered voters in Sunnyvale:

    http://www.recallpatmeyering.org/howarecallworks.html

    The letter approving the recall from the Clerk says that there were 55,229 registered voters as of the latest count, and that the 15% necessary to qualify the recall is 8,284. According to my calculator 55229 * .15 = 8284.35. Since the language above says “not less than the following percent”, the threshold should be 8,285 and not 8,284.

    http://www.recallpatmeyering.org/images/Letter_-_Petition_Format_Accepted.pdf

    This is inconsequential, but it is sloppy. Considering the nature of the letter, I also thought that the collegial use of “Chris” instead of “Mr. Moylan” was not appropriate. After looking at the approval letter, I’m more inclined to give Mr. Meyering the benefit of a doubt.

  3. What evidence can “The Fly” present proving that the Sunnyvale City Council members cited by Pat Meyering have NOT accepted campaign contributions from land developers? Or are Sunnyvale voters just supposed to trust “The Fly” when he/she/it implies that these Council members’ hands are completely clean?

    I urge Sunnyvale residents to look at the pattern of contributions listed in campaign filings to see which Sunnyvale City Council members have been heavily funded by developers and other special interests.

    View campaign filings at: http://www.specialinterestwatch.org/Councilmembers.aspx

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no way to individually contact members of the council from the city’s web site. All e-mail goes to the entire council and “key City staff”. Even though this was explained as some sort of attempt to enforce Brown Law meeting rules, It seems to be there for another purpose. If part of the role of a council is oversight, how is it a good thing to have a communication channel controlled by “key City staff”. I checked a bunch of cities in the area, and I couldn’t find another city where councilmembers couldn’t be contacted individually by either e-mail or telephone. This is odd and it’s probably a sign of something.

    http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/CityGovernment/CityCouncil.aspx

  5. Yes, it is troubling that an incoming piece of mail — delivered by the U.S. Postal Service and addressed either to an individual Council member or addressed to all of the Council members — is not then immediately delivered to that Council member or immediately photocopied and delivered to all of the Council members.

    Council member Meyering raised this troubling issue at the May 6 Council meeting, as he recently received a piece of mail addressed to him that had been mailed over two months ago. Meyering’s concerns were quickly swept under the rug by other Council members.

    This is indeed troubling, since instances of delayed mail delivery do not allow Council members to provide timely information to their constituents, thus limiting their ability to represent their constituents effectively.

    As well, this delayed mail delivery could be a violation of United States Code, Title 39.