Stonecrest City Councilwoman Diane Adoma is demanding a correction on her publicized “no” vote to a proposed moratorium on cell phone towers in the city. Despite the city’s video where Adoma is seen and heard voting no on the moratorium at the City Council’s March 11 meeting, Adoma said the video “is not accurate.”
The video shows the measure was approved 5-1 with Adoma voting against it.
The city released the video to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and On Common Ground News, stating that the acting city clerk accurately recorded Adoma’s no vote. On Common Ground News, which had recorded its own video of the meeting, reviewed it several times.
In both, the city’s video and the newspaper’s video, Mayor Jason Lary explains what the council is about to vote on and then calls for the vote. The mayor and all of the council members, except Adoma, raise their hands and say “I” in favor of the moratorium.
Adoma, however, hesitates briefly and then states: “Madam Clerk, my vote was no.”
Lary said the video speaks for itself.
“I am concerned that Councilwoman Adoma doesn’t understand Robert’s Rules of Order. I chair the meeting fairly. I give everyone an equal amount of time and then I call for the vote,” said Lary. “The tape doesn’t lie. She voted no. The city clerk’s recordings and count of the votes are accurate.”
Adoma issued the following statement:
“In the past I have requested roll call votes because of ongoing mass confusion with some of our official meetings and the inaccuracies in recording both votes and minutes. My motion was denied by executive branch to have all controversial issues recorded by individual roll call in previous meetings. This past Monday was an example attesting to how critical it is to reserve the sanctity of the vote. My undisputed vote for a moratorium was inaccurately recorded or misinterpreted. I will again ask the council to vote via roll call in the future. I have been consistent and unmovable and unapologetic about building a beautiful thriving city and will let my actions speak louder than my words.”
What is puzzling about Adoma’s statement regarding the need for a roll call vote, however, is the fact that she made it clear to the city clerk and everyone at the meeting that she cast a no vote on the moratorium.
Before the vote, Adoma had argued with City Attorney Winston Denmark and Councilman Jimmy Clanton over the resolution to draft a 60-day moratorium on the construction of cell phone towers in the city.
Mayor Lary made the motion for a 60-day moratorium after hearing from several residents who said during public comments that they want the city to force Vertical Bridge to remove a199-foot cell phone tower that was recently constructed off of Evans Mill Road.
Councilwoman Adoma, who had initiated putting the moratorium r on the council’s agenda, suggested that the moratorium could be for “30,60 or 90 days or even sooner, depending on when we flush out the legalities.” However, she voted against the measure, arguing with Councilman Jimmy Clanton, the mayor and City Attorney Winston Denmark when he explained the document for the moratorium must be written before it could take effect.
“Surely things can sit in a pending mode until you put that (moratorium) together,” Adoma said.
“Legally, a moratorium is only effective once it is reduced to writing,” Denmark said. “No moratorium is effective in the state of Georgia, unless it is reduced to writing. I’m not saying the moratorium is effective until it is reduced to writing, the Georgia Supreme Court is saying that it is not effective until it is reduced to writing.”
Denmark said the moratorium would be consistent with federal law.
“As you know, we do not have a free hand when it comes to federal law… We have to craft our legislation within a broader federal framework,” Denmark said.
Councilman Clanton agreed with Denmark, and a raucous exchange with Adoma ensued.
“We can’t have a moratorium until we know what it is. You’re just asking for a blank check,” Clanton shouted.
The mayor intervened as Adoma fired back, demanding that she get 10 minutes to speak, citing Robert’s Rules of Order. Lary told the city attorney he could answer one more question. Adoma snapped back, insisting she had the floor and demanding that the city clerk record how much time she had left to make her remarks. The mayor moved forward and the council voted 5-1, authorizing the attorney to draft the moratorium.
Denmark said the draft would be prepared well ahead of the next scheduled City Council meeting on March 25 so that the council could review the document and be prepared to vote on it.