On Tuesday evening, the Tiveria City Council convened as planned for its second meeting since the municipal elections in the election of Ron Kobi as the city’s new mayor. It did not take long for the mayor to realize members of the opposition have been busy working against him, and following the meeting, Mayor Kobi used his Facebook page to write “the members of the city opposition should be ashamed of themselves. They have no shame.”
The fact of the matter is that Mayor Kobi has good reason to be angry. For an observer watching from the side, it would appear, that the person running the city is not Kobi but none other than Councilman Yossi Ben-David , the former mayor who lost the election. This is because he and his other opposition members on the city council have managed to form an opposition bloc, and the members of the opposition succeeded in passing a number of votes during the meeting, and Mayor Kobi even voted in favor of some of the legislation, but not before the mayor asked the opposition to remove some of the items from the docket.
At the start of the meeting, the mayor surprised everyone when he announced he was now opening the third session of the Council, when in fact was on the second. Yossi Ben-David objected, and requested that the minutes of the meeting be changed to reflect the true number, the second meeting. Kobi informed his counsel that due to the lack of budget there were no refreshments being served at the meeting.
Prior to presenting a call to order from the opposition, which maintains a majority, a majority which includes secular, religious and chareidi councilpersons, the mayor began by explaining he wanted to show them something on the projector, and eventually showed them an article from a local newspaper which was members of the oppositional planning to wage war against the mayor at the Council meeting. Councilman (Degel Hatorah) David Ochana told the mayor that he has questions about the headline, he suggests that he addressed them to the newspaper not to the people sitting in the room.
When former mayor Yossi Ben-David got up to speak, Kobi was quick to remind him that he is now Councilman and no longer the mayor. Ben-David asked that the forum vote on a budget of 22 million shekels for completion of the sport complex, construction which began in the previous administration. Kobi tried to have that matter removed from the docket, but he failed in that effort and there was a vote, and the budget that was requested was approved by the city Council.
At this stage was evident to Kobi and his supporters on the Council that it was going to be difficult as a member of the opposition, who happened to have been the former mayor, managed to open up the meeting and passed a budget against the will of the mayor.
There was an exchange of words between Ben-David and the Mayor Kobi, with the newly elected mayor leveling accusations at his predecessor, with Ben-David finally saying if he has a problem regarding alleged illegal activities, you should address them with police.
At this point may Kobi ask to pass a budget of 22 million shekels to cover the salaries of municipal workers. Ben-David said that he probed the matter of the salaries with the city controller, and the fact remains that only 8 million shekels is required, not 22 million shekels as the mayor was requesting. Having no other alternative, the vote was taken on a budget of 8 million shekels for municipal salaries, not 22 million shekels, and that what was passed.
Clearly, Ben-David was using his experience in City Hall to frustrate the newly elected mayor, as is seen regarding Kobi’s announcement of an upcoming budgetary meeting.
The mayor invited the members of the council to a budget meeting next week, but Yossi Ben-David claimed that for a budget meeting, the members had to be summoned for 10 days in advance, and as such, the meeting will not be held as Kobi wishes.
During the council meeting, Ron Kobi tried to conduct negotiations as the meeting was bring broadcast live, with council member Dudik Azoulai and offered him the tenders committee. But Dudik Azoulai responded: “You said that I used to take bribes in envelopes, so how do you propose that I return to serve as chairman?” he questioned.
The mayor also complained that members of the Council do not return calls when he is looking for them, and it appears to him that they are not genuinely interested in running the city as they should.
There was also a harsh exchange of words between Kobi and his political rival, Refael Triblesi of Bayit Yehudi, as Kobi called him to order three times and then asked to have him removed the meeting. However, Yossi Ben-David explained to the mayor that he does not have the authority to oust someone from the Council meeting. Triblesi then came under attack by councilmembers backing the mayor, who got up from their seats and walked over to Kobi in an effort to calm them.
When Ron Kobi brought up a point of order to appoint heads and members of the committees, the members of the opposition bloc proposed a counter-proposal. The mayor was forced to agree, but when they began to vote on the proposal, the eight members of the opposition bloc began to leave the meeting one after the other, claiming that four hours had passed since the meeting began and the legal time of the plenum under law had expired. The meeting ended when the members of the mayor’s faction were the only ones left in the plenum.
Toward the end of the meeting, Ron Kobi and Yossi Ben-David went at it again, when Kobi began to run the meeting while Ben-David called to him “sit, sit.”
When the mayor then addressed the committee not appointing heads and members of the various committees, the members of the opposition presented account the bill, which ultimately the mayor was compelled to vote on, and suddenly, the eight members of the opposition left the meeting returned one after the other. By the time the meeting ended, the only ones remaining with the mayor and the members of his faction.
Ron Kobi’s supporters reacted angrily and said, “Sad, it was just sad to see it, a bunch of idiots who think the city is in their pockets, as they seem to forget that they are no longer in that place, and the faucet of corruption is closed to them.
Another supporter of the mayor wrote: “My dear Ron, they will make your life miserable for five years and will not leave you alone, but they punish the residents of the city and the city itself. Nothing good can pass.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)