“Councilwoman Shea: were you lying then or are you lying now?

Email address and the city’s privacy policy was a subject of last week’s Irvine City Council meeting, though there’s barely any mention of it in the Irvine World News/OC Post or the OC Register.

Irvine Tattler publisher Stephen Smith has a lengthly diatribe about how Council member Christina Shea’s request for all email lists is legit under the California Public Records act.

Smith goes to great lengths to tie Gallinger as a BFF for Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Suhkee Kang (they use the same printer, so they must be!), but you have to dig deep into the pages of the Tattler to know that Smith was Shea’s former executive assistant and was her finance commissioner; nowhere on the Tattler does Smith reveal he was Shea’s 2006 campaign webmaster.  So it would seem the Tattler is the Irvine version of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth for the benefit of Shea and Choi. But the site is having trouble getting readers as Smith has to blogwhore links to his posts in the comments section of Red County.

Council member Shea wrote a scathing email to Gallinger about two weeks ago attacking him for requesting documents under a public records request and berating him for being “below the standards of an attorney in Orange County.” (Might want to check with Mike Schroeder on that first CS). Shea copied Smith on the email asking him to print the material on Gallinger’s alleged “questionable activities.” So now we know who Smith takes his orders from.

More after the flip…  

Since Smith goes to great lengths on his site to “prove” Shea was not a lobbyist, Gallinger is merely uncovering proof that she was.  Notably, a November 21, 2005 memo written by Shea (I’ll post it when I have time).  Second paragraph, she writes:

“I believe, in my opinion, this this section has been added to force me to resign from the City Council because this is what I do for a living.  I am a government relations consultant and I speak to National, State and local officials at times, for my clients, as Councilmember Agran well knows.”

In the paragraph, Shea says she is a government relations consultant (a lobbyist) and that she has clients.  If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck….The current story line is she never got any business off of her old website that promoted government relations work, which simply means, she got it somewhere else.

Gallinger responded with this letter below.  It was presented at the council meeting and its an appropriate response for the “do as I say not as I do” council member:

June 10, 2008
Councilwoman Christina Shea
Irvine City Council
1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92623

Re:      California Public Records Act Requests, Your Employment as a Lobbyist

Dear Councilwoman Shea:

I am a private citizen and an almost lifelong resident of Irvine.  My family first moved to this great city when I was only 2 or 3 years old and my father was attending the University of California at Irvine.  I attended public schools in Irvine for every level of my education, elementary school through junior college.  After graduating from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., three years ago, I returned to Irvine to open my law firm.  Since then, I try to be active within the Irvine community and serve on the board of directors for the New Horizons Elementary School and also as Chair of the Housing and Transportation Sub-Committee of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.

Please try to imagine my surprise when a friend called me to say I was mentioned in a discussion about your request for all the email addresses on file with city hall.  A few days later I was able to watch the discussion on ICTV, wherein you and Councilman Choi attacked me by name numerous times in connection with California Public Records Act (CPRA) Requests filed by me and a law clerk in my office.  A few days later I checked my email, and saw that you had sent me a message repeating your attacks on me and my staff, denying that you had ever been a lobbyist, and questioning my fitness to be an attorney.  A printout of your entire email is attached here.

Turning to the attacks upon me by you and Councilman Choi for exercising my rights as a citizen to investigate my elected representatives.  None of the records I requested were private in any way shape or form.  They all relate to the ways that city elected officials and staff have spent my tax dollars.  You and Councilman Choi have no right to keep these records private and your claims to the contrary are offensive and hypocritical.

Not only have you requested every email address on file with city hall, but you and Councilman Choi have also sued the city for access to confidential employment records.  The two of you filed a lawsuit against the Great Park Corporation, which I am sure will cost the city hundreds of thousands of tax dollars in legal fees and wasted staff time – all  to gain access to records of job applicants.  As with email addresses, it was promised to the applicants that these records would be held in the strictest of confidence.  As with the email addresses, you violated this promise by obtaining these records for your own political use.

Returning to the records which I actually requested, none of the requests I filed were even directed at you or Councilman Choi, though after a quick review of the records I can see what you are afraid the public will find out.  In fact, my CPRA requests covered all city council members and the mayor.  As for the boxes of waiver forms from the balloon at the Great Park, I never copied those records nor captured any private information from them.  I simply reviewed the records and was able to see that the city’s claims about the number and diversity of ridership appear to be accurate.

You and Councilman Choi also alleged that these requests were made because I was a “close political friend” of Councilman Sukhee Kang.  I do know Councilman Kang, having met him at civic events (as we have also met in passing, though you apparently do not recall).  From my experience I find Councilman Choi to be a person of integrity and a genuine civic leader, but my requests were in no way done at Councilman Kang’s urging or even with his knowledge.

In actuality my requests were motivated by a desire to know what is really happening behind the scenes at city hall and also make other Irvine business people aware through my activities with the Irvine Chamber.  For you to attack me and my ability to earn a living for being civically engaged is the lowest form of politics, politics by intimidation.  But I will not be intimidated by your unscrupulous attacks, or those of Councilman Choi or your other political lackeys.  I will continue to research all of Irvine’s elected officials and make my findings aware to the rest of the public.

In truth, the records I requested were much more voluminous that I initially expected and going through them has not been my highest priority.  But following the last city council meeting, I have gotten a fair sense of the activities you and Choi are trying to hide from the public.  For example, I discovered a city memorandum written by you on November 21, 2005 where you state, “[Lobbying] is what I do for a living.  I am a government relations consultant and I speak to National, State and local officials at times, for my clients…”  Please note how your words then differ from your claims now.  Numerous times in political speeches and mailers you have denied being a lobbyist. 

This raises the question: Councilwoman Shea, were you lying then or are you lying now?  I can see why, after conducting political polling and having found out how unpopular your profession is, you would tell the public that you were not a lobbyist.  I cannot, however, imagine what your motivation to say you were a lobbyist would have been, except to protect the money you make as a “government relations consultant.” You stated numerous times at the last council meeting that you would like to “ask me some questions.” Councilwoman Shea, I am willing to answer all your questions at any time, provided you are willing to answer mine.

More questions are raised by your email to me when you say “I never had one call to use my services to lobby anyone from that site.”  You seem to be stating that you did not get any lobbying work from your website advertising of these services.  Does this mean that the work came from other sources?  You also state, “The several mentioned offers of business efforts i.e.: entitlements etc were to be sub contracted out as I did not provide that direct service.”  Does this mean that you took a portion of the fee developers paid but just did not file the papers yourself?  To whom were you subcontracting these services?  Was it Anthony Kuo your former council assistant who had to resign because he was a lobbyist?  Even if true (which seems highly unlikely) your defense is one of incompetence, that you wanted lobbying work but were unable to obtain it.  Being unethical and incompetent does not make you a better public official in my eyes.

Additionally, in your email you attack me for my support of Yes on Measure H and a mailer that was sent out in its support. That mailer accurately quoted a 2005 Orange County Register article which reported that you were a lobbyist. Please note the difference between the findings of a real newspaper and all the fake attack newspapers (Irvine Chronicle, Irvine Tattler, Irvine Citizen) you and Councilman Choi have set up and funded to deceive the public.   

What is entirely clear about you, Councilwoman Shea, is that you are not an ethical person.  You have attacked me and my right to earn a living just for requesting public records about how you and the other city officials represent my interests and spend my tax dollars; but you are not above demanding the private email addresses of the residents of Irvine or the private records of job applicants.  You have also lied to and deceived the public about your occupation, and the conflict of interests inherent therein.

Yours truly,
Todd Gallinger

  4 comments for ““Councilwoman Shea: were you lying then or are you lying now?

  1. intergalacticman aka Chris M.
    June 17, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    interesting, although i don’t think shea ever offered lobbyist services, she was never even asked to do so.
    secondly, the register article is a 2006 article, which never says that shea is a lobbyist anywhere in the text.
    Anyways most of this is covered in smith’s irvine tattler article so i wont waste my time.

    PS, hey Gallinger, what font do you use to imitate the Register’s type?

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    June 17, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    I actually remember that subhead; I’m sure if you want to pull it out from the library, you’ll find it accurate.

    The article was a 2006 article, but the memo was written in 2005

  3. June 18, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Chris,

    It’s interesting that you ask me about the typeface, I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the register. On the mailer, it’s an actual scan of the register article, no electronic trickery. Go into the archives & check.

    Also, if Ms. Shea never offered (or took) lobbying services, why would she write :

    “I am a government relations consultant and I speak to National, State and local officials at times, for my clients”

    What does that describe except lobbying?

  4. Chris M
    June 18, 2008 at 11:10 am

    It seems you are correct then

Comments are closed.