After complaining about the contents of the minutes for the Nov. 4 special council meeting, she failed to participate in the voting on the approval of those minutes. She also failed to participate in the voting to approve the regular meeting minutes for the sessions held on Oct. 4 and Oct. 17.
The first sentence of Section 3.08 of the City Charter states: "All members of the council present shall vote upon every issue, subject or matter properly before the council and requiring a council vote; provided that, if any member of the council has a conflict of interest that fact shall be stated in the minutes and such member shall abstain from discussion and voting on the issue."
Tenorio not only failed to voice/record any "conflict of interest" on these three items, she also did not "abstain from discussion" of the items. In fact, she actually initiated the discussion on those minutes, clear violations of this section of the charter.
It will be interesting to see whether anyone will file any kind of formal complaint against Tenorio, who has a history of complaining about the actions of others on the council. In fact, her complaint about the minutes of the Nov. 4 meeting was based on her criticism of former Mayor Todd Webster’s decision to continue that meeting after Tenorio, without any explanation, left the council dias, leaving the council without a quorum. This prohibited the council from taking any action on a PID request until a quorum was re-established some 20 minutes later with the arrival of former District 2 council member Becky Selbera. However, the mere act of her complaining about what happened at that Nov. 4 meeting coupled with her non-participation in the vote connected with the issue are both charter violations.
It should be noted, however, that, under the terms of the revised Ethics Ordinance, the terms of four Ethics Commissioners — Ryan Browning, Margaret A. Le-Compte-Somma, Andrea Cunningham and Gary Rush — have expired. Plus Seat 3 is vacant, leaving only two active Ethics Commissioners, Elizabeth B. Guidry and Nancy Fahy, whose appointment, somewhat ironically, was just approved last night by a 6-1 vote (council member Shane Arabie voting "no.")
Updated Thursday, 11-23, at 10:21 p.m.) Tenorio replied to my request for a response by writing simply "I hope you and your family have a very happy Thanksgiving." (Editor's Note: She sent that e-mail to me Wednesday at 6:03 p.m., but I failed to see and read it until moments ago, shortly after I returned from enjoying a very happy Thanksgiving with my family.)
Other than that, last night’s city council meetings were fairly routine, with the major events being the swearing in of Mayor Travis Mitchell and new council members Dex Ellison, Tracy Scheel and Alex Villalobos along with the council’s election of Arabie as mayor pro tem.
Back in 2015, I wrote a number of articles regarding how the council made a mockery of Roberts Rules of Order concerning the difference between "discussion" and "debate" on an issue. That was (hopefully) finally resolved with the adoption of new council rules last night that specifically delineates the differences between the two as well as defining a proper sense of decorum during City Council meetings. A couple of City Council members, who obviously don’t have the experience necessary to make such judgments, tried to maintain these rules stifled freedoms of speech. The truth is, in every City Council meeting I have ever attended in Tarrant, Dallas and Collin counties, those same words are read aloud, exactly as they appeared in the rule changes adopted last night, prior to every citizens comments period.
After one person abused the three-minute Citizen Comment Period by hogging the podium for more than six and a half minutes, council member Damon Fogley wisely said he would like to see the installation of a timing device to limit such abuses during both the Citizen Comment Period and various public hearings. It would seem a simple, inexpensive software adjustment could be installed so that a such a timer would be visible on the screens above the council dais.
For some reason not clearly delineated, Tenorio and Villalobos objected to Texas Pie Company owner Julie Albertson being appointed to a non-voting seat on the Economic Development & Tourism Board, with the key term there being "non-voting seat." If Kyle is to be known as "the pie capital of Texas," in part to attract tourism, it would seem, at least to me, a no-brainer that the owner of the establishment that earned the city that designation should serve on the Economic Development & Tourism Board.
In other action last night, the council:
- Delayed a zoning decision on property located on Windy Hill Road until Dec. 5 so that City Attorney Frank Garza could research whether the applicant had the right to build apartments on the property regardless of the zoning decision of the council because an agreement the applicant signed with Hays County prior to his property being annexed gave him permission to build them. The issue has the potential for setting an interesting precedent: Whether infrastructure improvements should be made because of development or in anticipation of it.
- Approved the appointments of Fogley to the Executive Board of the Combined Emergency Communications Center; Planning & Zoning Commissioner Rick Koch to cast the city’s votes on the Hays Central Appraisal District; Al Mata, general manager of the Hampton Inn, as a voting member of the Economic Development & Tourism Board; and the reappointments of Scott Stoker and Travis Upchurch to the Parks and Recreation Board.
- Approved without any debate and little discussion (Planning Director Hoard J. Koontz said he has had some interest from developers) the creation of mixed-use zoning districts that would be located alongside major arterials in Kyle.
- Heard a discussion on Community Development Block Grants, a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, meant primarily to fund development programs that benefit low and moderate-income recipients. CDBG funds may be used for community development activities (such as real estate acquisition, relocation, demolition, rehabilitation of housing and commercial buildings), construction of public facilities and improvements (such as water, sewer, and other utilities, street paving, and sidewalks), construction and maintenance of neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings, public services, and economic development and job creation/retention activities. CDBG funds can also be used for preservation and restoration of historic properties in low-income neighborhoods. It is questionable whether (1) Kyle can find census tracts that are eligible for CDBG funds or (2) whether such funds will even be available much longer because President Trump’s war on low and moderate-income individuals has prompted his attempt to eliminate the CDBG program.
- Heard what could be described as a "plea" from City Manager Scott Sellers to cancel the planned Dec. 19 council meeting due to its proximity to Christmas.