Los Altos City Council meetings will be televised live again

The Los Altos City Council dais. Photo courtesy of the city.
The Los Altos City Council dais. Photo courtesy of the city.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Los Altos will start broadcasting City Council meetings on cable television tonight, following months of complaints about a blackout from residents.

Council meetings have long been broadcast on TV from City Hall’s Council Chambers. In January, the meetings were moved to the Los Altos Youth Center after Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins claimed the air in City Hall was triggering her asthma. Meetings have not been aired on TV since the move because the youth center lacked the proper equipment to broadcast them. The meetings have been available on the city’s Facebook page.

A 4-1 majority of council voted on June 25 to move the meetings back to City Hall, but City Manager Chris Jordan didn’t follow the council’s directive. His supporters say he was protecting the city from a potential Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit.

Mayor Lynette Lee Eng told the Post last week that elderly residents have told her they are disappointed that they can’t watch the meetings on TV. She said she hoped the council would vote to move back to City Hall at tonight’s meeting.

On Friday, Jordan said in his weekly newsletter that the Youth Center meetings will be televised starting tonight.

Resident Pat Marriott, who has spoken out against the move to the Youth Center, was not placated by the announcement. She said she thinks it’s “way past time” for the meetings to return to City Hall. Marriott also said she is concerned about how much it will cost to broadcast from the Youth Center.

Costly investigation

Investigating Bruins’ complaint has been costly.

Chris Jordan in September hired a disability consultant to advise the city about how to handle disability accommodations for elected officials.

The consultant, Rachel Shaw, is supposed to give a presentation about disability issues to the council tonight. Shaw said at least one councilwoman besides Bruins is requesting accommodations.

Shaw was hired under a contract that said her fee was not to exceed $40,000, but now Jordan is increasing her fee to $70,000.
Shaw instructed the city to hire a firm to test the air at City Hall and the Youth Center. But nothing dangerous was found in the air of either building.

However, the air tests were not to exceed $10,000, but the actual cost is $16,490.

HazMat Doc, the Santa Clara environmental consulting company that conducted the tests, suggested that the city clean out its air system in City Hall more often and look into adding better ventilation at the Youth Center.

Marriott pointed out that improving the air quality in City Hall should be easier than at the youth center because City Hall has a ventilation system.

Who decides?

“The bottom line for me is this: four council members wanted to move back,” said Marriott. “Jordan disregarded that direction. We elected a city council to make decisions, not a city manager and not an ADA consultant.”


  1. > We elected a city council to make decisions, not a city manager…
    >Jordan disregarded that direction.

    Warning: the announcement that Council meetings would be telecast is a red herring, a sop to mislead and misdirect us residents and taxpayers, nothing less than a ploy and plot by Jordan and his cohorts.

    We taxpayers and residents have paid for the upgrade and retrofit of City Council’s Chambers. We also paid for the ADA consultant’s study confirming the air quality at the Chambers is fine and no different than say the Youth Center or arguably Jeannie Bruins’ or Chris Jordan’s residences. Why then are we being deprived of the use of those Chambers? What hidden agenda continues to be at play to spend $$$ at the Youth Center to telecast Council meetings when the Chambers are (and always were) ready and available?

    Simply put, it appears Jordan and Bruins and their cohorts continue to use every devious angle possible to usurp Council Chambers for purposes other than Council meetings. They are thwarting taxpayers, acting as an authority unto themselves with no checks or balances.

    What is Council that voted 4-1 to move Council meetings back to Council Chambers doing in response to this decision by Jordan to keep meetings at the Youth Center? When can we see some decisive leadership and exercise of the authority we residents, taxpayers, homeowners vested in Council members with our votes?

  2. The city could provide Bruins with a portable oxygen cylinder and breathing tube to use while in he council chambers. Another solution would be to restore meetings in council chambers while Bruins remains in the youth center and teleconferences in from there. Either workaround would be more considerate of the public, the city government process, and city budget.

  3. >The city could provide Bruins with a portable oxygen cylinder and breathing tube
    >…Another solution…Bruins remains in the youth center and teleconferences

    I believe, like many other residents, it makes no sense to continue to subsidize Bruins’ antics with our tax dollars. She is free to do what she wants but not at our expense. No more, nada, zilch.

    In 2018 she did not recuse herself on a matter where she stood to benefit personally and instead voted to approve extraordinary changes to the City’s ordinances under false pretext. In that she was aided by her crony City Attorney Diaz.
    In 2019 she lectured incoming Mayor Eng Lee on how to not ask hard questions of City Hall staff. And, aided once again by Diaz, she sought to have a tax paying resident kicked out of a Council meeting for reasons none other than personal animus. The resident asserted her constitutional rights (which Attorney Diaz seems to not be aware of; says something) prompting Bruins and Jordan and Diaz to manufacture reasons to move Council meetings to the Youth Center, once again spending our tax dollars for to satisfy Bruins.
    In that 4-1 vote to move back to Council Chambers Bruins was the sole dissenter…once again voting on a matter she had personal interest in and not recusing herself.
    Are there depths she would not stoop to?
    Are we to continue subsidizing her bad behavior?
    Enough of her sense of entitlement and privilege, attention hogging temper tantrums. Move Council meetings back to Chambers where they are intended to be held. Let Bruins deal with it as she may. Ditto with Jordan et al.

  4. I would like to know the real reason why Council meetings have not been moved back to where they belong. It’s not because the air is bad as proven by expensive tests. Now they are planning to televise from the new location??? At more expense? Why?

  5. Likely the reason that the capability for televising was added to the Youth Center was related to ongoing future use for council and commission meetings. There has been a project anticipated to tear out the Dias in the old council chamber and make some other changes. If that change happens, the council chamber will be under construction, so no meetings can be held there.

    Also, if there is a large attendance at a city council meeting, the current room fills up. The youth center is a much larger room, which is also why the air there doesn’t get stale as quickly when you have one of these 6 hour marathon city council sequence of sessions all in one evening.

  6. Getting the meetings back on TV is a victory for residents. I have a suspicion that this whole Jeannie Bruins allergy thing was just an attempt to get the meetings off TV so that council could approve legislation favorable to developers. My suspicions were confirmed when, at the September 24 meeting, a number of former council members who were all pro-development, got up and did testimonials for the city manager. Very odd.

    Another reason for Bruins’ complaint might be that she’s looking for some money from the city. That’s how ADA cases are resolved. The complaining party doesn’t really want to see any improvements, they just want to see the Benjamins.

  7. The comments from David are revealing in more ways than one.
    “Ongoing future use”, “has been a project anticipated” etc. give the game away.

    Jeannie Bruins’ complaint about air quality at Council chambers. City Attorney Diaz’s attempt to evict a taxpaying resident from Council meeting at Jeannie Bruins’ behest, Bruins’ ADA complaint, Jordan disregarding Council’s near unanimous vote and directive…all seem to play into what has long been rumored as the real reasons underlying all those antics: a plan to transform and take over Council Chambers by City Manager Jordan and his cohorts for their own offices and meeting rooms.

    Forget about all those tax dollars we paid for to equip Council chambers for Council meetings. Expect more dollars to be spent to transform those same chambers to other purposes, and even more dollars to equip other facilities to handle Council meetings. All this for no reason than to pamper and coddle the egos of Bruins and Jordan and their cronies.

    Are Council members doing anything to restore transparency and accountability in Los Altos City Hall? As they say, when you see fraud and don’t call it out or do something about it it means you are part of the fraud.

    As for those former City council members who endorsed Jordan: shame on them. The neighborhood and community no longer respect them.

  8. “Lynita”, since you seem to know who that “another councilmember” was that complained about “another ADA” issue, why don’t you make it state it outright?

    Holding that key information back suggests “Lynita” is mere proxy for the Bruins-Jordan-Diaz camp. It is no secret they are antagonistic to the two council members whose first names comprise “Lynita”. Same goes for the “David” who was let go by the City some time 2018.

    This drama started with Bruins, it was carried out by her cronies Diaz and Jordan, and attempts to point to “another complaint” by “another council member” are mere distractions.

    The bells are tolling for those involved in actions that involved abuse of office and misconduct, qualified immunity is QUALIFIED and not absolute, and it is a mere matter of time before justice comes knocking on their doors.

  9. Saw last night’s meeting and I was confused why Bruins was allowed to vote since she has a conflict of interest? Anybody know why she was allowed to vote? I think it’s time to file a complaint with the FPPC.

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