Two bills from Mayor Kirk Caldwell deferred by city council.
Bill 51 prohibits obstructing sidewalks. Bill 52 is about getting homeless people off sidewalks into shelters.
The mayor’s reaction to the deferment?
“Surprised and disappointed,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. “Why delay something that’s so important to the public?”
Caldwell said Councilman Trevor Ozawa and Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga stopped the bills in their tracks. He claims it’s politically motivated.
“I think it was a little bit like, hey, he didn’t move my bill so I’m not going to move his bill. I just think it shouldn’t be that way. We should move good bills based on policy not on politics,” Caldwell said.
Ozawa said the measures didn’t have the votes needed to move forward.
“Caldwell is the one being political. He’s not mentioning his ally, Council Member Elefante, who was the first no vote, on these measures, followed by me. Carol didn’t even vote. She just changed it after that point,” Ozawa said.
Ozawa explained that he voted no because the mayor couldn’t provide answers to important questions. Specifically, why the mayor is now pushing bills so closely related to ones he’s vetoed in the past.
“What changed since the previous opposition to these exact type of bills? Number two, are we going to have enforcement under these two measures?” Ozawa asked.
The mayor said if the City Council will move forward bills 51 and 52, he’s open to suggestions on ways to make them better.
“If there’s things we need to do to make it better, lets keep it moving and get that input and not defer it,” Caldwell said.
Fukunaga said although the mayor and some members of the City Council may not see eye to eye, they are ultimately committed to the same outcome.
“I don’t anticipate that this is going to be a lengthy delay. I do anticipate that all of the questions will be answered and that we will also be moving forward with specific actions to improve the level of either services or housing or other kinds of solutions so that we can actually get our sidewalks and our parks cleared,” Fukunaga said.
Caldwell said with the deferral the next time City Council could revisit both bills is in the fall.