With a special goal-setting workshop scheduled today, Ventura City Council members spent two hours late Friday deciding what issues they could reasonably address in one day.
What they found is that they probably will not resolve much.
At the organizational meeting Friday, held at the Pierpont Inn, council members listened to a presentation by management consultant Peter J. Brown, who laid out a provisional agenda that calls for defining individual roles and setting group objectives.
But instead of focusing on what the City Council hopes to accomplish this year, a majority of council members said they would rather spend today defining how each arrives at decisions and putting aside their personal differences.
"I don't know if you're going to get all of us to like each other," Councilman Gregory L. Carson said. "But (we) have to respect the constituency that got us here."
When Brown asked individual council members to rate how they work as a team on a scale of 1 to 12, five of them answered "4."
Councilman Gary Tuttle, who recently publicly questioned the effectiveness of the council, said the elected officials do not necessarily have to like each other.
"What's the point?" he asked. "It might be a waste of time trying to get people to work together."
But Brown, who was given a temporary contract for $3,500, said any group with a common goal needs to work well together.
"It's distracting for everybody, and it doesn't increase group results," Brown said. "These kinds of issues probably need to get dealt with if we're going to work effectively as a group."
City Council members will probably spend much of today defining their roles, detailing how they arrive at their decisions and better understanding each other's perspectives.
Later in the day, they will discuss a number of objectives, including economic development and downtown revitalization.
Key in those issues are recent proposals by developers that include a downtown multiplex cinema, restaurant and retail complexes along Main Street, baseball stadium, commercial aquarium, convention center and a long-planned expansion to the San Buenaventura Mall.
No decisions on any of the specific proposals will be made today.
Councilwoman Rosa Lee Measures was one of two council members who said she thought the current panel was beginning to come together.
"We're getting there," she said. "We're confronting issues. I think we're really making great progress and it started at the point we hired Donna (Landeros, the new city manager)."
Today's workshop is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 4900 Telegraph Road.