FPPC will be investigating complaint against Alvarez and Sarmiento

This morning I received confirmation that the FPPC will be investigating the complaints filed last week alleging that Santa Ana Council members Claudia Alvarez and Vince Sarmiento violated state conflict of interest rules when they voted on their appointments to outside boards which receive compensation. As I reported previously, Alvarez’s appointment to the Orange County Water District Board garnered her more than $30,000 in additional compensation in 2010.

The complaint was filed by Santa Ana resident Glen Stroud, a former member of the Orange County Grand Jury and former city commissioner. In a letter to Stroud, the FPPC indicates that they will be investigating the complaint and that the letter does not constitute any determination as to the validity of the complaint.

I spoke with Councilman Sarmiento last week regarding the question of his and Alvarez’s votes on their appointments to the outside boards. Sarmiento indicated that if the votes were determined to be improper he would ask to have the votes retaken. Unfortunately, that is not the way the process works, as former Yorba Linda Councilwoman Jan Horton learned the hard way. She was fined by the FPPC $3,000 last week for voting on matters that affected areas within 500 feet of property she owned.

Councilman Vincent Sarmiento - Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

At the time of our conversation Sarmiento took issue with comments I had made in an email that explained to interested residents of Santa Ana what process needed to be followed to file a complaint with the FPPC. He felt that my calling him a moron was inappropriate, and said there was no excuse for calling him such a term. Funny, he had no problem giving Alvarez a pass for comparing Irv Chase to Hitler in statements made publicly while chairing a meeting of the City Council.

For the record, I have retracted my allegation that Alvarez and Sarmiento are morons. They are not idiots, they’re attorneys who wrote the City Code of Ethics and Conduct ordinance. They knew, or should have known, that they were breaking the intent if not the letter of both city and state laws prohibiting them from voting on matters in which they have a financial interest, when they did just that.

  52 comments for “FPPC will be investigating complaint against Alvarez and Sarmiento

  1. henry lipton
    September 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    if they abstained from the vote would they have been appointed anyway? And would that make the FPPC investigation a moot point?

    • Repulsed
      September 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      No Henry, it is not a moot point. The issue is not that they would be re appointed, it’s that they voted on issues that they should’nt have.

  2. September 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    That’s correct Henry; but these two are the authors of the city’s code of ethics. You’d like they’d know better.

  3. Apple Pie
    September 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    The same people keep getting reelected in SA. It’s got to stop. Without people like Chris Prevatt showing us the way to file complaints we would not have an avenue to try to get some help with a council that has run a muck.
    We must stop the Santa Bell Seven!

  4. ocmartiniman
    September 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Questions for Ms. Alvarez and Mr. Sarmento:

    What part of “I excuse myself from participating in decisions when my or my immediate family’s financial interests may be affected by my agency’s actions” do you not understand?

    Did you not understand what “I excuse myself from participating in decisions when my or my immediate
    family’s financial interests may be affected by my agency’s actions” meant when you wrote it as part of the proposed Code of Ethics and Conduct?

    Did you not understand “I excuse myself from participating in decisions when my or my immediate family’s financial interests may be affected by my agency’s actions” when you re-read the section as part of the proposed Code of Ethics and Conduct to be adopted by resolution by the City Council as an agenda item on June 2, 2008?

    Did you not understand “I excuse myself from participating in decisions when my or my immediate
    family’s financial interests may be affected by my agency’s actions” when you voted on June 2, 2008 to adopt it as the Code of Conduct and Ethics to which you would be held as a City Councilman?

    Exactly WHEN did you not understand what you wrote, read, re-read, and voted to adopt as your own code of conduct and ethics?

    Exactly where did you go to Law School?

    Or was it that you smply could not find time to care?imply

  5. junior
    September 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    They will blame the interim City Attorney for not calling this to their attention. Another SA City Attorney thrown under the bus.

  6. cook
    September 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    So they will pay a fine and learn a lesson

  7. henry lipton
    September 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    dan, im not sure that code of ethics applies here. As I read it, I am inclined to think that that applies to situations where a vote will be made in which the voting council memeber benefits from the vote made like a contractor who serves the city ion xome way cannot be a family members business. And that has to be an immediate family member like a sibling or parent or child. A cousin would not apply here. Or maybe a land purchase by the city where the land is owned by myslef or immediate family member.

    I dont think voting for your candidacy on a board applies. If that were the case, would a candidate be barred from voting for him/herself in a general election such as a city council candidate voting for himslef for that seat.

    • September 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm

      Henry,

      The Code of Ethics applies because the member is voting on a matter for which they derive a financial benefit. There is no distinction in the regulation as to the amount of benefit. The same applies in state law. THere is zero ambiguity on the matter. If you derive benefit you cannot vote on it.

    • ocmartiniman
      September 29, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Henry:
      You are conflating two fundamentally different concepts: (1) A Citizen’s constitutional right to vote for a candidate to elected office, and (2) An elected official’s votes in his/her official capacity as a representative of the the public which elected him/her. The elected official does not lose their constitutional right to vote as a citizen, but the elected official’s votes in his/her capacty as an elected official are subject to ethical and legal limitations.

      These positions that Claudia and Vince voted themselves to be apponted to are paid appointments open to ANYONE. They could choose a local college professor with specfic expertise in the area of the committee’s business. They could appoint (and frequently do) a member of the community. When they appoint themselves, as here, to a paid committee position that they could have appointed non-council members to fill, self dealing is involved. The council never explains to the publc that these are paid positions – wouldn’t you want to know, as a member of the public, when the council is appointing someone to a committee or board positon that pays $35,000 in tax payer paid compensation and benefits? Here, they are appointing themselves. The only (and somewhat limited) constrant they have ethically and legally is that they cannot vote for themselves for these paid positions, because, in essence, they would be voting to give themselves tax payer money.
      Hope ths clears the issue up for you, Henry.

  8. henry lipton
    September 29, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Chris,
    if that is the case then you are going to be very busy filing FPPC complaints. Because city council memebers do this exact same thng on a daily basis all over the country. How many city council memebrs do you plan to file this kind of complaint against?

    • September 29, 2011 at 7:50 am

      Henry,

      1. I will not be filing any complaints myself. If California residents have a concern over the votes taken by their City Council members on their appointments to outside boards they are free to do so.

      2. Narrow the scope to California, the FPPC only covers California.

      The law is the law. If the legislature meant to permit members to vote on their compensated Board positions they should have included an exception in the law. They didn’t.

    • ocmartiniman
      September 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

      I think complaints should be filed against every singlke one of them, and they should (and would, if such complaints were filed) pay escalatng fines for repeat abuses.
      Not to sound combative, Henry, but you sound oddly like an apologist forsuch obviously unethical conduct. Your most recent post is a version of “everyone does it, so what is the big deal?” Your prior comment sought to conflate two fundamentally different votes: That of a private citizen to vote to elect a candidate to public office vs. that of a publicly elected official, who is supposed to operate at all tmes within the public trust, voting to appoint themselves to a taxpayer paid position.
      Frankly, it is difficult to understand what part of the ethics code rule “I excuse myself from participating in decisions when my or my immediate
      family’s financial interests may be affected by my agency’s actions” you find difficult to understand. If it is a paid position, you must abstain (excuse oneself) from any vote if that vote is to appoint yourself to the PAID position.
      Not exactly rocket science. Both Alvarez and Sarmiento are attorneys, and they wrote the ethics code, so they have no excuse to claim they do not understand it. And it is a RIDICULOUSLY CLEAR provision, so any attempt to claim a lack of understanding, especially by the authors themselves, lacks any credibility. It is so clear that it is hard to believe it was written by a lawyer.

      The FPPC actually has an online resource explaining conflict of interest. an excerpt follows:
      Governmental Decision

      Step Two : Are you making, participating in making, or influencing a governmental decision?

      The second step in the process is deciding if you are engaging in the kind of conduct regulated by the conflict-of-interest rules. The Act’s conflict-of-interest rules apply when you:

      •Make a governmental decision (for example, by voting or making an appointment).

      •Participate in making a governmental decision (for example, by giving advice or making recommendations to the decision-maker).

      •Influence a governmental decision (for example, by communicating with the decision-maker).

      A good rule of thumb for deciding whether your actions constitute making, participating in making, or influencing a governmental decision is to ask yourself if you are exercising discretion or judgment with regard to the decision. If the answer is “yes,” then your conduct with regard to the decision is very probably covered.

      When you have a conflict – Regulation 18702.5 (special rule for section 87200 public officials)

      Government Code section 87105 and regulation 18702.5 outline a procedure that public officials specified in section 87200 must follow for disclosure of economic interests when they have a conflict of interest at a public meeting. The full text of this law and regulation may be viewed in the Regulations section of the FPPC’s website at http://www.fppc.ca.gov.

      Public officials specified in section 87200 of the Government Code, such as council members, planning commissioners, and boards of supervisors, must publicly identify in detail the economic interest that creates the conflict, step down from the dais and must then leave the room. This identification must be following the announcement of the agenda item to be discussed or voted upon, but before either the discussion or vote commences.

      Additionally, the disqualified official may not be counted toward achieving a quorum while the item is being discussed.

      •A public official is not required to leave the room for an agenda item on the consent calendar provided that the official recuses himself or herself and publicly discloses the economic interest as described above.

      AS FOR PERSONAL FINANCIAL EFFECT, THE FPPC STATES:
      •Personal Financial Effect. You have an economic interest in your personal expenses, income, assets, or liabilities, as well as those of your immediate family. This is known as the “personal financial effects” rule. If these expenses, income, assets or liabilities are likely to go up or down by $250 or more in a 12-month period as a result of the governmental decision, then the decision has a “personal financial effect” on you.

      And Henry, $35,000 IS greater than $250.

      • September 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

        Hey, if someone files a complaint to the FPPC on each and every case and lets us know about it, we’ll write it.

  9. ocmartiniman
    September 29, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Henry:
    You are conflating two fundamentally different concepts: (1) A Citizen’s constitutional right to vote for a candidate to elected office, and (2) An elected official’s votes in his/her official capacity as a representative of the the public which elected him/her. The elected official does not lose their constitutional right to vote as a citizen, but the elected official’s votes in his/her capacty as an elected official are subject to ethical and legal limitations.

    These positions that Claudia and Vince voted themselves to be apponted to are paid appointments open to ANYONE. They could choose a local college professor with specfic expertise in the area of the committee’s business. They could appoint (and frequently do) a member of the community. When they appoint themselves, as here, to a paid committee position that they could have appointed non-council members to fill, self dealing is involved. The council never explains to the publc that these are paid positions – wouldn’t you want to know, as a member of the public, when the council is appointing someone to a committee or board positon that pays $35,000 in tax payer paid compensation and benefits? Here, they are appointing themselves. The only (and somewhat limited) constrant they have ethically and legally is that they cannot vote for themselves for these paid positions, because, in essence, they would be voting to give themselves tax payer money.
    Hope this clears the issue up for you, Henry.

  10. Santa Ana Resident
    September 29, 2011 at 10:11 am

    So this type of violation has not occurred in Long Beach or Irvine?

    I find that hard to believe.

    How was that private party that Beth Krom spent over $5000 in taxpayer money on?

    • Santa Ana Resident
      September 29, 2011 at 11:15 am

      In this post, no one is saying it doesn’t happen in other cities. It probably does, and hopefully the information being distributed in these posts will be used by other residents elsewhere to follow the appropriate processes to guarantee that elected officials everywhere are following the same rules.
      The reality here is that a member of the public in Santa Ana filed the complaint and the FPPC will be acting on that complaint and investigating Claudia Alvarez and Vincent Sarmiento.
      I, as are many other Santa Ana residents, am glad that members of this city council are finally being investigated. They have voted on many issues, accepted lots of campaign donations, and made several deals with developers that are questionable, and it’s a good thing for the residents that an outside agency will be looking into this. That’s why the FPPC exists.
      If the residents from the City of Bell had followed this type of process, they might not have ever gotten to the bad situation that city now finds itself in.

    • September 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      That party is easily part of a marketing effort for the Great Park and cost considerably less than the $50K party John Moorlach wanted to throw for the new parking structure at John Wayne. I also blieve Mayor Pulido voted to authorize funds for the Great Park Party as he usually votes with the Progressive Majority in Irvine.

      I am unaware of any like violation in Irvine which has a strict code of ethics that is adhered to.

    • ocmartiniman
      September 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      There is a difference between poorly managing public funds and personally taking them.

  11. henry lipton
    September 29, 2011 at 10:19 am

    chris, and martiniman

    Im just saying this thing goes on in every city council. Its common practice to appoint members of a city council to be the representative to a board such as rthe water district sanitation district etc etc. In fact I challenge you martiniman to find one person who is not a city council member on such a board. Or an elected person in any capacity. or even a political insider. Im willing to bet not a single member of the OC water district has any background in water resources. This is common practice and this issue you bring up here is the forst time I have ever witnessed a vote by a memeber on their own appointment to such a board has ever garnered the ire of a blogger reporter or gadfly.

    • September 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Henry: I find it ridiculously difficult to believe you do not understand the issue here. Seriously. If the Council votes to appoint Alvarez or Sarmiento to a Board, they can do so. BUT: If the position to which they are appointed is a PAID position (get it? Financial benefit flowing to the appointee?) the person to be appointed cannot vote on the appointment, and must recuse themself from the vote on the grounds of conflict of interest. Get it?
      So, if you want to be intelligent about it, you have to ask:

      (1) IS THE COMMITTEE POSITION PAID? If not, no conflict of interest under the law or under the ethical code. I would not be raising the issue and the FPPC would not be investigating. I could care less about unpaid appointments, because the issue is SERVING SELF vs. SERVING THE PUBLIC. Get it? Do City Councils appoint their own members? Yes. Is that something to criticize? Could be, depending on the appointment. If Carlos Bustamante was appointed to head a task force on Sexual Harassment in the workplace, based upon past and present allegations, it would likely be a legitimately criticized appointment, regardless of whether the allegations were ultimately proven. If the board members are meeting off the record and divvying up paid appointments between one another, it would be an ethical violation and a violation of the Brown Act.

      BUT THE SSUE HERE IS SMPLY THS: YOU CANNOT VOTE ON YOUR OWN APPOINTMENT IF YOU WILL GET PAID FOR GETTING THE APPOINTMENT.

      Get it? It may be that you just are incapable of gettng t, but I suspect you just could care less. I do not know which would be more sad.

    • Are you sure?
      September 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      Actually Henry, Santa Ana’s representative to the Metropolitan Water District is none other than civilian Dan Griset, a former mayor.
      He is not a council member or current elected official, and yet he was appointed to that position.

    • ocmartiniman
      September 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Also, Henry, I agree with you that the issue of appointment of members to boards is a routine issue. I also agree with you that City Councils tend to appoint from within – which I think is a legitmate issue for concern, depending upon the Board, and depending upon how the Board is structured legally: The OCWD is a 10 member Board, comprised of 7 publicly elected members (watch your ballot and you will see, if you vote) and 3 members appointed by the respectve City Councils of Santa Ana, Fullerton and Anaheim. Yes, all three appointed members are City Council mebers of the respective cities. The issue is whether anyone but Alvarez voted for their own appointment. If you miss this, than you are the Gadfly.

      By the way: Roger Yoh – Civil Engineer with background and training in water resource management. But you point in this regard is well taken, and agreed with, however dramatically peripheral to the issue in question.

      Last question: Would you support an initiative to amend the California Constitution as follows: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, No elected official may receive any remuneration from any position to which that elected official is appointed by any govermental entity, council or representative during the term of said elected official’s elected term.”

    • Dan Chmielewski
      September 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      I don’t think you get it Henry; we don’t have a single problem with either Sarmiento or Alvarez serving on said boards. The problem is they can’t vote for their own appointments.

  12. Dan Chmielewski
    September 30, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Have to love checking in with the hypocrites at New Santa Ana. Tell you what fellas, file an FPPC complaint against any Democratic elected official and once we’re alerted that there is an invesitgation, we’ll write about it.

    And nice to see Sean Mill writing under “admin” since he’s the only blogger who ever uses the pronoun “great” in front of “Santa Ana Counicl majority” as Sean did here: “our great council majority here in Santa Ana.”

    Can’t wait to see how “our great council majority here in Santa Ana”, together since 2007, digs its way from its massive financial crisis. For the record, I don’t think Vince Sarmiento is evil Sean. Perhaps your time would be better spent on Match.com?

    And thanks fellas for using my photo from our family vacation in Hawaii; I know it’s not San Pedro but we had fun there anyway.

  13. henry lipton
    September 30, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Ok you guys lets just say that we disagree. As far as city council members voting for themselves on committee or commission positions, it happens all the time. The FPPC is going to be in over ots head if it is going to go down this road. As far as a financila interst in concerned, I dont see a stpend or compensation for being on the commission comittee etc as a financial interest. Its usual and cutomary to pay memebrs a stipend for those activities. the anount may seem excessive butt that is neither here nor there. As far as I can see, this whole dust up over this issue is much ado about nothing.

  14. henry lipton
    September 30, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Dan,
    I just checked out the new santa ana blog you mentioned in your comments above. It would seem that Beth Krom in your city did the same thing that you are lambasting the santa ana council members for. Are you going to file a complaint with the FPPC concerning this?

  15. Dan Chmielewski
    September 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I haven’t filed any complaints against any elected official and won’t in this case. But if someone does and there is an investigation, I would certainly write about it.

  16. September 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    For our pal Santa Ana Resident posting comments at NSA, I haven’t approved or deleted a single comment all morning. I added a comment at 9:30 and another a short while ago, but I aks that you not accuse me of deleting a comment when we pretty much approve everything including comments highly critical of us. Nice try at the Ministry of Truth….

  17. henr lipton
    September 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    dan,
    Its your perogotive to not file a complaint but do you in the least acknowledge that Beth Krom did acted in the same way as did Mr Sarimiento to which you are joining in a chorus of others crying foul? And if so, do you or mr prevatt plan on soliciting another irvine resident to file the complaint? If a complaint is filed will you seek the same punitive actions being sought by mr prevatt and other commentors here?

  18. henry lipton
    October 1, 2011 at 12:27 am

    So Dan,

    Im guessing from your silence that you are either out of town, or you dont plan to hold beth krom to the same standard to which you hold Mr Sarimiento. Im guessing the latter because mr Prevatt and martiniman havent lobbed a volley of points at me illustrating the gravity of Mr Sarimiento and or Ms Alvalrez’ sin(s). If I were Beth Krom I would send you a fruti basket to show my thanks.

  19. henry lipton
    October 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    How about you mr prevatt? do you have a response tot he inquiry about beth kroms voting for herself on the transportation commission?

    • October 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

      Henry,

      As I wrote on the morning of September 29th…

      “I will not be filing any complaints myself. If California residents have a concern over the votes taken by their City Council members on their appointments to outside boards they are free to do so.”

      The discovery of the votes by Alvarez and Sarmiento was the result of the claim that it was okay for her to vote on her own discipline because she had “no financial interest” at stake in the vote. That prompted me to look to see if there were votes taken by Alvarez that involved her financial interests.

      I wrote about it and some people asked me what they could do. As I have previously explained I wrote an email encouraging them to file a complaint and how to do it.

      Not really much else for me to say here. If other city Council members, including Beth Krom did the same thing, they are subject to the same rules and penalties for violating those rules.

      I will note however a bit of a difference between Krom and Alvarez and Sarmiento. Alvarez and Sarmiento wrote the Santa Ana ordinance that was also violated by their votes. They are quite familiar with the conflict of interest rules for the city and state. While all three have the personal responsibility to know the FPPC regulations, Alvarez and Sarmiento cannot honestly say they “didn’t know.”

  20. October 2, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Chris:
    I disagree that Krom shouldn’t have equal knowledge of the FPPC requirements. This kind of conflict should be so obvious to any elected – I mean, theyt are gettihbgf appointed to a PAID position, so their vote equals an official vote for them to get a paid job. I do agree that Alvarez and Sarmiento are both attorneys, so they should have a greater ability to read and understand the law from a non-lawyer. I also agree with the point that if you write a code of ethics and conduct, you should be expected to understand and follow it – especially if you are an attorney, as Sarmiento and Alvarez are.
    However, I think you should ignore Ms. Lipton, as he obviously has an agenda unrelated to the issue itself. This is a liberal website, and it is well known you are a democrat. Sarmiento and Alvarez are both democrats. So is Krom. Mr. Lipton’s basis for implying bias is false, and his own bias – as an apologist for Sarmiento and Alvarez, and desire to attack democrats is general with any inherent logic or consistency, renders his “points” pointless and valueless.

    • October 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      I get your point. I think we are saying about the same thing just differently. Let’s try it this way.

      Every elected official should, and most likely do, start out on the same level of knowege that if you get paid for someting you shouldn’t be voting on it, even if it is a consent item.

      Alvarez and Sarmiento simply compounded their error because they had written the very Code of Ethics they allegedly broke in addition to state law.

      Wrong, no matter who does it. Just plain stupid when you do it after writing a Code of Ethics that includes it.

  21. Henry Lipton
    October 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Mr Prevatt,

    This is a pretty thin excuse or justification. Krom has been on the council for a very long time. She may not have written the code of ethics but the time shes been on the council gives her more than ample time to memorize it line by line. She did the same thing sarimiento did and your basically giving her a pass.

    • October 4, 2011 at 9:50 am

      So Henry, yes, Krom did the same thing that Alvarez and Sarmiento did. If someone files a complaint and if it’s investigated, we will write about it.

      What made the Santa Ana pair newsworthy was the code of ethics vote where Alvarez got off with a rebuke for her anti-Semitic comments directed at Irv Chase. It was noted she was allowed to vote on her punishment because she had no compelling financial interest.

      And the problem isn’t isolated; Anaheim to San Juna Capistrano. So Henry, rather than complaining about our lack of coverage about Krom, please let us know when you plan to file a complaint against her.

  22. Edwin Marinez
    October 4, 2011 at 11:56 am

    You have to admit, it looks pretty hypocritical though. excepting any nuance, it’s hard to justify in plain terms.

    • October 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      What you wrote doesn’t make any sense Edwin; good luck in getting KenLay to meet with you though.

  23. henry lipton
    October 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Actually dan,
    theres nothing in this post that refers to Alvarez voting on her own punishment or whether to punish her. You are being intentionally misleading. It is not even remotely 9isolated. Its actually usual and customary. And it is not to my knowledge illegal or evenunethical unless they decided it was (FPPC)in VERY ReCENT rulings.

    Your very own head of your organization (prevatt) sent emails to santa ana residents SOILICITING them to file a complaint for the two council members vote on their appointment to an outside commission.

    can you site a single case in which the FPPC has taken disciplinary action on this type of issue? If not, I would venture that your are making hay out of nothing. In fact less than nothing. In fact going all the way as to soliciting someone to be the torch barer for this quijotean tail chase.

    if you pay attention my email has the 714 in it. So i dont live in Irvine. And neither yourself nor Prevatt live in Santa Ana. For you to dismiss the same behavior in Irvine by Krom with the same vigor as you rail against sarimiento and alvarez is disturbing in the least. That you claim to be a “liberal” publication, according to martiniman, and you go after bad dems, according to yourself is just disingenuous and calls your credibility into qustion as a blogger, or a journalist or what ever you want to call yourself.

    You have about as much sense of truth and credibility as does Fox News if you are going to defend your coverage of this and ignoring of Krom and basically every city counciul in the country. You should think about compensating the FPPC for wasting the tax payers money with this nonsense.

    • October 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      Henry you sound a lot like Sean Mill. I too live ini that small sliver of Irvine with a 714 in the area code, but this is TheLiberalOC and OC is greater than Irvine or Santa Ana. We haven’t dismissed anything against Krom; please file a complaint yourself Henry and we’ll be pleased to write about it.

      Yes, I can cite a case. There was a case in La Habra I believe where a council rep voted on a matter where they had a financial interest and they were fined $3000.

      And Henry, on the issue of credibility, only one of us in this convesation is posting under their real name.

  24. henry lipton
    October 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Also,
    Am I the only one who is creeped out by the fact that you dimiss the krom behavior with a flippant “please let us know when you plan to file a complaint against her.”. neither you or mr prevatt live in santa ana and yet you took the depserate act of a depsrate person as to solicit resients of santa ana with who knows how many emails to get one of them to file a complaint with the FPPC.

    Thats kind of how a stalker behaves.

    • October 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Henry —
      we have explained this; the single email was a response to multiple questions from multiple people. Chris could have written it better and some of those people posted comments here thanking him for the help he provided. In no way was this a solicitation. I know you won’t believe it and frankly, I don’t care. But its the truth. For what its worth, I spoke with Andrew Galvan of the Register who believes we have no restriction if we wanted to file a complaint ourselves. I really don’t care.

      Am I the only one creeped out that you’re so gung ho against Beth Krom that you’ve dismissed what Vince and Claudia did?

      I don’t have time to stalk anyone.

  25. henry lipton
    October 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    dan,
    that case you cite is as I belive a situation where the council member in question owned a property within 500 feet of an area where council actions would have effected that person in a way that was of financiail interest to her.
    Compensation a council member receives from being on a commission is jus that. Compensation. For time and travel. Its not the same thing.

    I am posting under my real name.
    I dont live in Irvine and didnt know they had small area in the 714.

    You and prevatt live in orvine and with your strong stance on the actions of sarimiento and alvarez, I would assume you want the same code of ethics to be followed with the same rigidity as you demand in sanata ana. The stark contrast is very telling. You dont care what the city council members do as long as you can make hay of it.

  26. October 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Only I live in Irvine. I can tell you several times over there was no solitication of someone to file a complaint and you refuse to believe it, so why bother. There were a number of phone calls and texts from many in Santa Ana asking Chris for help that you weren’t privy to and he was a little sarcastic in his email to those communicating with him.

    To quote you: “Compensation a council member receives from being on a commission is jus that. Compensation. For time and travel. Its not the same thing.”

    So if you feel this way, then Beth Krom shouldn’t be an issue.

    I’m not sure what else I can do to convince you that if someone files a complaint against Krom and there is an investigation, I will write about it. So I’m done trying.

    Get your facts right Henry. Chris doesn’t live in Irvine; he lives in Long Beach but works in Santa Ana and has been a long time resident of the county.

    There is nothing stopping you from filing a complaint against Beth Krom Henry.

    And yes I live in Irvine. A diverse city with solid reserves, safe streets that are well maintained, a solid job base, and great schools. My biggest complaint is my neighbor’s dog barks too loudly at night.

  27. henry lipton
    October 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    dan,
    I didnt know prevatt lives in Long Beach. But you say hes been a long time resident of the county. Im a little confused by that statement. Anyway, As I read the email from prevatt to people in sanat ana it sure as heck looks like he was soliciting to me.

    I dont care about krom doing what she did. Its an illustration to show the petty nature of you attacking sarimiento for the same thing when by your own admission it happens all the time in most cities. So why the push from you guys to malign the two council members in santa ana?

    Based on your posts i cannot see you taking the same stance as you have with the two members of the santa ana city council. I sure dont hear it from youalter ego martiniman. olr from prevatt who Im guessing is martiniman. I thought you guys both lived in Irvine. My bad. But prevatt living in long beach and conducting himslelf the way he does here in orange county with this electronic fish wrap is even wierder.

    • October 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      Henry,

      For the record, of ht e 32 years I have lived in California, 9 have been in Long Beach, including the last 5 years. I lived in Santa Ana for about 1 1/2 years before moving to Long Beach in 2006. Prior to that I lived in Garden Grove for 9 years. I currently work in Santa Ana and have maintained my long established political ties to Orange County. In fact, other than voting, I am not politically active in Long Beach.

      I am Treasurer of the Orange County Employees Association PAC, and a member of the Associations Board of Directors. My Orange County political involvement is not by any measure, including your wildest fantasy, fish wrap.

      As I have previously explained, my email was in response to numerous requests for information on what could be done regarding the alleged violation of the FPPC regulations. If you think it furthers your argument in favor of Sarmiento to attack the person who shared information about how to hold elected officials responsible for their actions, have at it.

      That does not change the fact that a violation of long established regulations did in fact occur. You only have to look as far as Monday night’s Santa ana City Council meeting where they attempted to correct their error.

      The singling out of these two elected officials for misconduct is not out of personal grievence. It is based primarily on their arrogance and failure to follow both state law, and the city ethics ordinance that they drafted. The review of thier conduct was due to their unethical conduct regarding the application of the Code of Ethics as it related to the official acts of Claudia Alvarez in violation of that code.

  28. ocmartiniman
    October 4, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Chris and Dan: Don’t waste your time with the fictional Mr. Lipton. He is not interested in issues. He is not interested in facts. He is not interested in participating in a conversation. He is just baiting you both and annoying the rest of us. He is flat out wrong on the issue of conflict of interest, and the FPPC will put the period on that sentence. Further, while he defends Ms. Alvarez and Mr. Sarmiento and other members of the Santa Ana City Council, he wants to take to task Beth Krom for the same, in his opinion, non-offense. His comments are a waste of space and reading time. He misstates and misconstrues virtually every external source and post he references, for the sole purpose of creating drama and conflict.
    WAIT! Maybe he is really Claudia Alvarez!!!

  29. HENRY LIPTON
    October 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Chris,
    I would suggest you publish some of those inquiries youve received from santa ana residnts seeking your adice. Berring that, from the text of your email, it would lead any reasonable person to conclude that you solicited a resident(s) to file the complaint. You claim they came to you. Prove it. Post some of the emails youve gotten that request your cousel and advice on what actions to ake in this case. If you cant do that then there is no other conclusion to derive other than you sought to have someone else do your dirty work. And no Im not claudia alvarez. Im Henry.

  30. October 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Henry –
    Believe what you will; readers contact us with questions and news tips and at times, they seek confidentiality. Chris and I have already explained the email and how it came to be. I think Chris will make more care in crafting emails so they can’t be miscontrued. But I don’t have anything to prove to you. You are crossing the line into the obtuse and we’re done. Keep it up and join Mr. Fiala on the banned list

  31. henry lipton
    October 5, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Youre kidding right? To my knowledge I havent broken any of the rules in the TOS, or rules of conduct here at Liberal OC. I can best sum it up as calling BS on what I see as BS. You claim to have been asked by the citizens of santa ana to come to their aid and guide them on this issue and process and also claim they want to be confidential? Do you think Mr Stroud would vouch for your coming to his aid at his request and that he was not solicited by you guys to file a complaint? Now you want to silence my voice here because I seem to be getting too close to the truth? Hmmmm, that doesnt sound very liberal or even handed or fair and balanced to me Dan.

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