Striking a symbolic blow for legions of frustrated Angelenos who have schlepped downtown to address the City Council only to be insulted and ignored, a state appeals court ruled last week against the council's practice of gabbing on phones and schmoozing with lobbyists and aides while the public is speaking. Roger Jon Diamond, attorney for the Blue Zebra strip joint, only had to submit a video of elected officials not paying attention on June 13, 2003—Hawaiian Shirt Day in the council chamber—to win a new hearing for the club's fight against strict restrictions. The court wrote:
"A picture is worth a thousand words...A fundamental principle of due process is 'he who decides must hear.' The inattentiveness of council members during the hearing prevented the council from satisfying that principle."
Jessica Garrison did the most with it in the Times. In the Daily Breeze, a San Pedro woman who has testified before the council many times called the ruling "a gift from God." In the Daily News story:
"I've conducted business with a lot of different city councils," said Diamond, who represents adult businesses throughout Southern California. "By far, the City Council of Los Angeles is the rudest, most arrogant council of them all. No one listens to anybody. It's just a total zoo there."
"You don't know how sore a subject this is," said Tecocomoc, an organizer of South Central Farmers, a group that has been addressing the City Council for most of 2004 asking the city to preserve a 14-acre agricultural plot south of downtown Los Angeles.
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo was studying the decision to see if he would appeal.