City of Santa Ana response to the Grand Jury Street Car Report lacks “Truthiness”

Claudia Alvarez

The city of Santa Ana City Council leadership, their City Manager, and their City Attorney on Monday released a response to the Orange County Grand Jury report that was critical of the process the city used to award the contract to build a street car system in Santa Ana. While the report found no criminal wrong doing, it was highly critical of the transparency of the city process and the appearance of impropriety. The crux of their argument with the Grand Jury was their belief that the participation of one member of the Grand Jury in the process, so tilted the investigation and report, that its conclusions were invalid. From their response:

Okay, it’s fair to claim bias if you think their is, but it is something completely different when you actually make stuff up to support your point. the response claims that Glen Stroud, who was indeed a member of the Grand Jury, was in the process of being removed from a commission appointment in October 2009. If that statement is true, then I am sure there should be some evidence, like meeting minutes, to prove their point.

Well, below is the official record of the actions related to Glenn Stroud at the meeting of October 19, 2009. Mr Stroud was a member of the Community Redevelopment & Housing Commission and his term had expired. Councilmember Carlos Bustamante wished to reappoint Mr. Stroud to the commission. Council members Alvarez, Martinez, Tinajero, and Mayor Pulido objected to Stroud’s reappointment and blocked it. While the effect of their action was that Mr. Stroud no longer served as a member of that commission after October 19, 2009 to say he was removed represents an action that simply didn’t occur and seems to infer some misconduct on the part of Mr. Stroud that is not reflected in the record.

I do find it rather curious that the same members that were so vocal in support of Ms. Martinez’s right to choose and remove her commissioners at Monday night’s August 16, 2010 meeting, opposed an appointment made by their colleague Mr. Bustamante 8 months earlier.

The Grand Jury report was also critical of the Council’s compliance with the Brown Act and the City’s Code of Ethics. The City’s response to that allegation, in light of recent blatant violations of the Brown Act by the Council and Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez, is just too laughable to believe.

I must call attention to the following sentence; “At all times, Santa Ana city councils have complied fully with both the letter and intent of the Brown Act and the current City Council and City Manager are fully aware of the Brown Act standards regarding serial meetings and the limits of staff-Council communications.” I’ll let pass to a later date the matter of serial meetings, but to make such a claim in light of two recent events where Councilmember Alvarez acting as Mayor Pro Tem, blatantly and unapologetically violated the Brown Act is beyond laughable.

So if they cannot even be truthful in their Grand Jury response on an easily verifiable point, and they cannot recognize the reality that they do need more training regarding compliance with the Brown Act because they have repeatedly violated its provisions, can we really accept the remainder of their response to the Grand Jury as being truthful?

  9 comments for “City of Santa Ana response to the Grand Jury Street Car Report lacks “Truthiness”

  1. kee da peace
    August 18, 2010 at 9:35 am

    What’s really laughable is that the Santa Ana City Council is even consiidering building a streetcar system. I guess they figure if the citizens are riding the trolley they won’t notice all the potholes the city refuses to fix.

  2. August 18, 2010 at 10:56 am

    As a member of the Grand Jury, Mr. Stroud should probably have recused himself from the case. But I think the DA’s office had no problem with him serving as a grand juror. The bigger and more laughable claim that Mr. Stroud was able to convince 17 other grand jurors to go along with him is to believe that cats can be easily herded. As a DA, Ms. Alvarez is actually undermining the grand jury process and their authority. While this might be considered a strong position for her to take as a member of the council, it undermines her role in the DA’s office.

  3. Cook
    August 18, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I wonder if the city management or some on the council think most people in the city can’t read or understand easily accessible information.

    I can only hope the future answers given to the FBI and or Ca AG are more believable this first report.

  4. art lomeli
    August 18, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Glen Stroud’s potential conflict of interest according to Claudia and the council as submitted by the Santa Ana City manager:

    First potential means a possibility…no facts, just a perception or unsubstantiated opinion.

    Potential conflict of interest presented:
    1. Glen has been an active civic participant in Santa Ana for many years.
    2.Was an active Santa Ana commissioner at the time of the investigation.
    3. Glen was not reappointed to the commission when his term was out.
    4. Other facts which are not listed, so how does anyone know if they are facts.

    These points are presented as grounds for not participating in the investigation in a jury of 18 members. These points according to educated council members are enough for somehow Mr. Stroud tainting the whole process.



  5. Bladerunner
    August 18, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Don’t underestimate the impact of a motivated grand juror on his or her colleagues. Regardless, Stroud should have recused himself. It’s even worse if, as was probably the case, Stroud tried to influence the grand jury with his personal knowledge which he would get to put out to the grand jury with no fact checking or cross examination. It compromised teh Grand Jury and puts a cloud over its recommendations.

    As much as I think the report might have been tainted by Stroud’s involvement, the response by the City to the Brown Act recommendation was outrageous, especially considering the latest flouting of the brown Act by the Council. it’s responses like these that result from council’s feeling they are above reproach, sometimes even above the law, and the city attorney failing miserably in his job.

  6. Cook
    August 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    For those who think the Grand Juror could have tainted the report,

    You should be screaming for the FBI to investigate.

    Remember, the Grand Jury, the Jurors are not being silent, they are forbidden to speak on the cases they worked on. The cities response was in bad form, they (the city)knows the Grand Jury can not defend itself in the public opinion forum.

  7. junior
    August 19, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I believe that once the Grand Jury’s work is completed they may speak about the cases they worked on as any other citizen may.

    I tried to find the actual rule on this issue – here is a link to the CA GJ rules – only 3,000 plus pages.

    Most jurors probably decline to comment – letting the reports speak for themselves.

  8. junior
    August 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm
  9. Jose Mejia
    August 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Grand Jurors sign a LIFETIME confidentiality form, which threatens criminal action if they violate it. This alone is enough to warrant the silence. As a former GJ member, I can tell you that 1 juror would have an ice cubes chance in hell of swaying 18 other panel members. I have seen that in action, and it just doesn’t work. I doubt very seriously that Stroud would have been able to do that. What kind of inside info would a commissioner have about council back-room politics anyway? Like they would tell him? Sure…

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