Last night’s city council meeting was special, for a number of reasons.

Patti Walker announced her resignation from the council. This had been long anticipated, since, as reported in the Gazette weeks ago, her house was for sale. It was known that she sought to move out of town, making her ineligible to remain on the council. This was newsworthy because the move could open the council to an appointment.

When first reported by the Gazette, this news was met with great indignation, anger, even tears from Ms. Walker at the dais. The news was false, they pretended. As usual, my editorial was blamed for her tears, which immediately caused Mayor Gayle to tear-up as well. Though the tears were caused by Walker’s revelation of a personal family tragedy, the emotion set the stage for another of Bob Stroh’s melodramatic moments. The evil publisher made Patti cry.

Last night Walker announced the sale of her house and her move out of town. An opportunity she could not resist, she claimed.

Note: Had Ms. Walker announced her plans four months ago, her seat on the council would have been made part of this recent election, without additional cost. But, the council majority (Katzenjammers) wanted to make an appointment from within their own ranks. To hell with any public participation. I noticed a clean-shaven Marcoz Hernandez (twice failed Katzenjammer candidate for the council, and buddy of failed former Fillmore Mayor Gary Creagle, also a Katzenjammer stalwart) waiting in the wings at this meeting. Another lean and hungry Katzenjammer councilman-in-waiting?

Well, as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Listening to Patti announce her resignation enkindled a spark of hope, immediately doused by a bucket of reality. While I concede Patti’s diligence on the council, her deviousness is legendary. The day she first announced her candidacy for the council was the day city hall staff members and department heads made plans to leave. Absent her close friends and political cohorts, no one trusted Patti. Her conniving ways attracted like-minded incompetents which soon led to a wholesale exodus of all long-term staff and department heads. Today they are all gone, and city government has collapsed, after two public letters of no confidence in our present city manager.

The danger now, and a backhanded compliment to Patti’s native intelligence, is that among the three remaining members of the Katzenjammer council majority, none are smart enough to keep the city from sliding into bankruptcy. None of them can provide sufficient institutional memory of city business history to anticipate or deal with serious problems – and they’ve chased away those who could. Councilman Steve Conaway, alone, has the ability and experience, and the others would rather die than to take his advice.

There appears to be little doubt (for example) that Mayor Gayle prompted City Manager Quiring to set up a hasty Special Meeting for the day after this recent council meeting, anticipating an immediate appointment of the favored Katzenjammer. But, gosh! - the required notice to council members (of at least 24 hours) didn’t go out – to the embarrassed consternation of Mayor Gayle. Marcoz appeared crestfallen. There was nothing urgent about the new appointment that demanded a Special Meeting, said Councilman Conaway, in his usual calm, factual way. The council had done this (appointments) twice before, taking from one month to 6 weeks to accomplish the task, giving the working public plenty of time to voice their opinions. Clearly, Manager Quiring was following orders from the majority (though she has been given plenary powers) and they had no intentions of giving the public a chance to comment on potential appointees. State Govt. Code 36512 states that no appointment need be made, and the council has 60 days within which to act. Only political intentions made a Special Meeting necessary here.

And so it is that Patti Walker leaves her seat at the council in a puff of her characteristic deviousness. Nice try, Patti. Enjoy your rest at Klub Katz, but give us a heads-up before plying your talents in higher office. You’ve got the game down well.