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Too Late: LA City Council Cancels Meeting

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(credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

(credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Among all the challenges facing Los Angeles, perhaps none is more eyebrow-raising than the attendance problem faced by the city council, whose meeting was canceled on Tuesday because its members couldn’t make it in before 10 a.m.

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti canceled today’s council meeting due to lack of a quorum, refusing to wait more than 15 minutes for tardy council members.

“Colleagues, I’ve given two or three speeches in the last two weeks on this. We really need to create the time to be here in City Hall before 10 o’clock,” Garcetti said.

Council meetings are supposed to begin at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. At least ten of the council’s 15 members are needed to constitute a quorum for conducting official business.

When only nine council members were in their seats by 10:15 a.m. today, Garcetti decided to cancel the meeting, even though additional council members were expected to arrive late.

Garcetti apologized to the public, then scolded council members for frequently arriving late.

“I understand there are committee meetings but we need to schedule those in ways that can accommodate what is prescribed by our own rules and in our ordinance,” he said.

Council members Tony Cardenas, Bill Rosendahl and Janice Hahn were expected at the meeting by 10 a.m., but did not arrive on time.

“It’s in violation of our own rules,” Garcetti said later. “If we can’t enforce our own rules, we shouldn’t ask the public to waste their day
waiting for us.”

“I take very seriously the public’s time. I take very seriously my own obligations, and I want to make sure the full council does,” Garcetti said.

Today’s agenda included approving a $50,000 reward for information leading to the gunmen who opened fire at a child’s birthday party in Sylmar in August, injuring six people, including several children.

“It’s unfortunate,” Councilman Bernard Parks said. “I think people have to understand that everyone has a schedule, and everyone that’s here is committed to providing that service and unless there’s some personal emergency, people should be here.”

Councilman Paul Krekorian said some lateness was to be expected.

“Many times, people are late to council meetings because they’re conducting other council business, like sitting in a committee hearing that sort of thing, and that is understandable and inevitable,” he said. “But I do think that there are times when we need to make clear that we need to start these meetings on time, we need to comply with the council’s own rules.”

The other council members present were Ed Reyes, Dennis Zine, Tom LaBonge, Richard Alarcon, Herb Wesson, and Greig Smith.

Councilwoman Jan Perry was excused from the meeting because she was a panelist in a symposium.

Councilmen Jose Huizar and Paul Koretz were excused from the beginning of the meeting, because of other commitments of which they had previously notified Garcetti.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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