Traffic to Be Under Public Safety Umbrella

The City Council plans to recompose the membership of the Traffic Advisory Commission and rename it the Public Safety Commission after a vote at last week’s meeting.
The repurposing would fulfill one of Mayor Steve Talt’s first agenda items he announced when he was selected by his peers to be this year’s mayor. The change was approved unanimously by the City Council, three members of which were recently elected on platforms that included strengthening the city’s emergency services.
“I feel a collaborative spirit and this is about making San Marino better,” Councilwoman Susan Jakubowski observed. “If we can get this underway, we are off to a wonderful start to the new year.”
The change is being handled through the form of an ordinance, which will have a second reading and public hearing before it goes into effect, barring any substantive changes following that hearing. The commission would largely roll over the language of the ordinance that created the Traffic Advisory Commission, although Jakubowski advanced limiting excused absences for commissioners to two per year.
The City Council also agreed to reopen membership of the commission, given the scope of work added to its dockets. The commission will continue to address traffic-related issues in addition to picking up analysis of issues related to the city’s police and fire departments.
“With respect to making sure we have the best people available, I agree we should open it up,” Talt said, emphasizing the opinion was not a reflection of the current group of commissioners.
The decision was not popular with some audience members, who would have rather kept the two commissions separate so they could focus on their dedicated tasks. Some pointed out that the Traffic Advisory Commission frequently canceled meetings for lack of a quorum.
“I think it was at least six or seven that were canceled in the last two years,” said resident Cordelia Donnelly. “It’s absolutely unacceptable. The problem with the proposed ordinance is that there are no provisions of accountability to the people for that.
“I also object to the purely political way people are selected for these committees,” she added. “There should be an alternative method so that all these people selected are not political appointees.”
City Council members countered that some of those meetings were canceled for lack of agenda items and that added responsibilities would mitigate that issue.

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