In a move that aroused the ire of her City Council colleagues, Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto attempted to postpone a vote on a proposed Environmental Commission until January -- when the council will have four new members.
Councilman Peter Drekmeier supported her unsuccessful motion to delay the vote.
"I know it will be brought back in January in any case. This just streamlines the process," Kishimoto said. She said she didn't know what the vote would have been Monday.
"I think that's completely inappropriate," Councilman John Barton objected.
It sets an "extremely poor precedent." Councilwoman Judy Kleinberg agreed, calling it "a violation of a compact with those of us who have spent a lot of time considering it to say, 'Well, we don't like the way you came out on it.'"
Councilwoman LaDoris Cordell said she was "saddened" by the postponement attempt.
"It doesn't feel good to be a lame duck. For me, it's like putting it in your face," she said.
But Drekmeier said the need for an environmental group is great.
"We need a mechanism to engage a very talented pool of public participants. We have a lot of work to do," Drekmeier said.
In October, the council's Policy and Services Committee rejected plans to create an Environmental Commission because it overlaps with other commissions, it would add expense and the city has trouble attracting volunteers for existing commissions, among other reasons.
City staff had recommended the group be structured as a committee rather than a commission to avoid public-noticing requirements and allow for more flexibility.
Kishimoto, Drekmeier and Vice Mayor Larry Klein originally proposed creating an Environmental Commission last April.
Councilman Bern Beecham left the meeting early due to illness, leaving the council without the five votes necessary to reject the measure.
Council members voted to continue the discussion until Dec. 10.
In other business:
The council also lacked the five votes necessary to pass a green building policy for city buildings. It was continued until Dec. 10.
Palo Alto Green, the city's voluntary green-electricity program, surpassed its goal of reaching 20 percent of utility customers by the end of 2007, Program Manager Brian Ward told the City Council.
Now, 20.2 percent of the city's approximately 30,000 electricity customers spend about $10 extra a month to support wind and solar power, Ward said.
Nationally, most green-power programs have less than 5 percent participation, he said.
The city hopes to enroll 25 percent of its customers by the end of 2008, Ward said.
The council voted to defer its discussion on the future of Byxbee Park and the landfill until Dec. 10.