Mayor’s “State of the City” Address “Not in Accord” with Charter, Says Assistant City Attorney Doryanna Moreno

Posted on February 7, 2020


EZCVgKFH3sAfter avoiding the issue for months, at least since October, when the Mayor missed her Charter-required State of the City address before Council, the City Attorney’s office finally stated an opinion on the matter during a brief comment at the Rules Committee meeting, February 6, 2019. Moreno stated:

“The meeting that is scheduled for tomorrow…the state of the city…is not in accord with the requirements of Charter section 305. So that’s clear on its face, I don’t think that anybody could confuse that this is what the charter requires. And when [section] 305 says “to the Council”, it means a duly noticed Council meeting.”

In October, 2019 the Mayor’s State of the City address failed to materialize. Long-time advocates at City Council, Asata Oldibala and Gene Hazard, noted the Charter violation and asked Council Members to let the Mayor know about her obligations. The Mayor later appeared at a November Council meeting, for a legislative item titled State of the City.

But the Mayor stated during her presentation there that her words should not be construed as the Charter-mandated State of the City address. Rather, Schaaf stated she was only there to invite Council members to another event, at the Oakland Museum on February 7, 2020, which she called the “state of the city presentation”. She also acknowledged on the record that the Charter required an October presentation before Council, and in as many words, claimed she chose not to do so in favor of a more “positive” venue elsewhere.

The Mayor’s office did not advertise the event in the months to come, nor did it send out press releases, apparently. There is no listing on the City or Mayor’s websites. The event will not be televised on KTOP, the usual public television source for public meetings, speakers will not have a guaranteed right to speak, there will be no official record of the meeting—the Brown Act, which requires all these at noticed City meetings, does not apply.

The City Attorney’s comment stated at a public meeting leaves as many questions unanswered, however. There does not appear to be any remedy to the apparent violation, and both City Administrator and City Attorney have avoided investigating the issue. The Mayor’s “eventbrite” ticket page says the event is sold out. It will be held 4:30 pm at the Oakland Museum, during the Museum’s regular First Friday events.


You can read more about the Charter violation here and here.


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