Following Santa Ana’s Bouncing Code of Ethics Meeting

Vince Sarmiento

Santa Ana City Councilman Vince Sarmiento (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

On Monday I wrote about the scheduled Santa Ana City Council Committee meeting regarding the review of the City Code of Ethics and Conduct (Three Months After Crisis Santa Ana Code of Ethics Gets Review). Since my post, the meeting date, time, and agenda have changed, twice. It is now scheduled for December 6th at 5:30 pm.

The agenda for the meeting originally scheduled for today at 6 pm, was posted on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. On Tuesday morning the City Clerk sent out a revised agenda, with a new meeting date of Monday, December 5th at 3:30 pm. By 3:15 pm Tuesday afternoon the date and time had been changed again. In an email announcing the change City Clerk Maria Huizar wrote: “In an effort to provide a more convenient time for members of the public to attend, the Committee has rescheduled the Code of Conduct and Ethics Meeting to Tuesday, December 6th at 5:30 p.m.”

Before I got the email from Huizar with the final date and time, I asked Public Information Officer Jose Gonzalez what was up with the change. I had heard a bit of an uproar over the time the meeting was scheduled for and asked if there was a way for people to comment on the matter if they couldn’t make the 3:30 time. He responded after I got the Huizar’s second change notification but here is what he said:

The meeting was changed due to a scheduling conflict with one of the City Council members.  The reason the new date and time was selected was because it falls on a day when the Councilmembers are already scheduled to be here at the city for a City Council meeting.  However, due to several concerns about the new time, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at 5:30 pm, here on the 8th floor of City Hall.  If individuals wish to submit comments for the committee to consider please have them e-mail them to council@santa-ana.org.

Gonzalez didn’t address why the Agenda changed but I think that the change in its content may indicate a more realistic reason for the meeting being rescheduled.

The discussion item for the committee agenda originally read; 2. Review of Code of Conduct and Ethics

In my post on Monday I pointed out that the Brown Act requires that the Agenda disclose what they intend to do. Since no action other than review was on the agenda, it appeared like they only intended to look at the Code of Ethics and Conduct (COEC), and then say “Okay our job’s done here,” and adjourn the meeting. In order to even consider a revision to the COEC, they would have to add the following to Agenda Item #2: and consider any changes for recommendation to the City Council.

On the revised agenda posted on Tuesday morning the discussion item #2 read a bit differently; “Review of Code of Conduct and Ethics and recommend amendments, if any, to the City Council.”

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that this is virtually the same language I noted in my commentary Monday morning. But such a change is required to be posted 72 hours prior to a meeting. Since the meeting was scheduled to occur in less than that time, the meeting date would need to be changed.

Councilman Sal Tinajero - Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

So at this point I will credit Council members Sarmiento and Tinajero for having the sense to correct the original error, and for being responsive to the concerns raised by residents over the 3:30 proposed meeting time. Whether the date was changed due to a sudden scheduling conflict, or the need to revise the agenda, at least the public will have a chance to address their concerns to the committee and urge changes to the Code of Ethics and Conduct if they so choose at a time that is less difficult for the general public to make it to..

Just so we’re all on the same page, as of now, the meeting to review the Santa Ana Code of Ethics and Conduct is scheduled for:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 5:30 P.M.

Santa Ana City Hall
20 Civic Center Plaza, 8th Floor, Room 831

  7 comments for “Following Santa Ana’s Bouncing Code of Ethics Meeting

  1. Mike Tardif
    November 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    SA PIO Jose Gozales said: “If individuals wish to submit comments for the committee to consider please have them e-mail them.”

    Yeah sure – then they will ignore the comments as they did a letter I addressed and hand delivered to the Planning Commission concerning a public hearing issue.

    My letter was treated as if it never existed and was not included in the public record as required by law.

  2. November 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Mike, please feel free to post your letter here.

  3. November 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    My two cents: they need to have punitive measures to the code ethics and if a member of the city council or any of the commissioners is the subject of disciplinary matters, they should be allowed to vote on their punishment. If a Tie occurs, one member of the council or commission is excluded through a random draw and a new vote is cast.

    I’d also like to see the statute of limitations on items that constitute violations extended to a two year period

  4. Jeff Dickman
    November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Below is my the text of my email to the Santa Ana City Clerk and Council.

    Good morning Maria,

    From your email below, it appears the City is affording the public only incidental consideration to move the Code and Ethics meeting from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. The public participation seems merely an inconvenience to this important meeting. Be assured there will be many questions asked of the Committee.

    There is clearly no real interest on the part of the City to encourage the public attendance. The insensitive altering of the meeting date and time to 3:30, is a tired-and-true City of Santa Ana tactic to nullify the public’s voice.

    The classic response by the City is to correct itself, but only minimally. Such is the case here.

    I’ve held and attended hundreds of public meetings in the evening. To have the public participate, and you of all people know this Maria, meetings need to be held at a time and location that suit the public. Compounding the shifting of the time, the City wants to hold the meeting in a place unfamiliar with the general public, the executive offices of the city. The City has plenty of large and convenient locations to hold this meeting in the community. Instead the AD HOC Committee is cloistered away in the civic center so the Committee merely have to walk down the hall to a conference room. Plainly, that stinks.

    In part I attribute the meeting location to be an equal mix of laziness on the part of the city and its desire to be perfunctory in matters where it must answer to the public.

    I remain disappointed that the City continues to repeatedly fail the public in almost all matters of transparency. The lack of concern expressed about the time and location of the meeting by Council further deepens my concern that this City is as removed from its citizens as was the Czar of Russia.

    Jeff Dickman
    Historic French Park

    In an effort to provide a more convenient time for members of the public to attend, the Committee has rescheduled the

    Code of Conduct and Ethics Meeting to Tuesday, December 6th at 5:30 p.m.

    Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this re-scheduling may have caused you.

    Maria Huizar,

    Clerk of the Council

    City of Santa Ana

    714 647-6520

  5. Mike Tardif
    November 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    To Santa Ana City Attorney – Mr. Joe Straka, June 13, 2011

    I would like to inform you of improper conduct by an appointee to the Santa Ana Planning Commission. In the course of a debate concerning medical marijuana dispensaries on the New Santa Ana Blog – Sean Mill, unprovoked by anyone, conducted himself in a manner which is in violation of the Santa Ana Code of Ethics and Conduct and not fitting for an appointed official of the City of Santa Ana. Following are the offending excerpted remarks:

    Sean Mill on May 24th: “Speaking of Buffao Wild Wings … We could’ve had one of these fine establishments here in Santa Ana but a small handful of folks including … Mike Tardif caused the applicant so many problems that they packed up and left.”

    “So it is not just medical marijuana dispensaries that Mike Tardif has an issue with, he seems to scream “NO” at new businesses in general. How does he expect us to generate any revenue if we chase all the businesses out of town? I thought he was a small government, anti-tax, Republican. It appears to me that is is nothing more than your typical NIMBY from the “Coalition of No”.”

    Sean Mill on May 25th: (in ref. to Mike Tardif) “Standing in opposition to everything and constantly acting as a contrarian to the actions of our great council majority is not going to help move our city forward. The fact that you disagree with my position and have a very hostile hatred of me does not equal a violation of the ethics code.”

    Mr. Mill is entitled to his opinions and to express them in a public forum as well. However, as an appointed official of the City of Santa Ana, and having pledged to conduct himself according to the Code of Ethics and Conduct, he has an obligation to live up to the letter and the spirit of the Code. He should engage residents through rational discussion – not through a heated, accusatory, belittling and thoroughly unprofessional rant in a public forum. This type of behavior generates bad feelings and division and will not accomplish anything positive for the City of Santa Ana.

    As Santa Ana City Attorney you know the following “Core Values” of the Code:

    I treat my fellow officials, staff and the public with patience, courtesy and civility, even when we disagree on what is best for the community.

    I work towards consensus building and gain value from diverse opinions. I conduct myself in a courteous and respectful manner at all times during the performance of my official City duties.

    I encourage full participation of all persons and groups ..

    (The) Code of Conduct is intended to be a reflection of the community’s values as articulated by the Mayor and City Council as they represent the will of the people of the City of Santa Ana.

    The Code requires compliance with both the letter and spirit of conduct befitting an appointed official representing the City of Santa Ana. When Sean Mill speaks in a public forum on matters which have or may come before his commission he puts on himself the mantle of authority granted to him by his appointment. In that capacity he is therefore obliged to uphold his pledged obligation to the standards of the Code of Ethics and Conduct.

    In singling me out with his inflammatory and divisive speech Sean Mill has engaged in behavior which is in direct opposition to, and makes a mockery of, the values expressed in the Code of Ethics and Conduct.

    As a resident, property and business owner in Santa Ana I feel that it is important to work with representatives of the City who treat the public with “patience, courtesy and civility and work toward consensus building” – Mr. Mill does not fit that bill. I hereby request action by the City Attorney’s Office to assure that Mr. Mill no longer conducts himself in violation of the Code of Ethics and Conduct.

    Sincerely,

    Mike Tardif

  6. junior
    December 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    what do you mean by criminal record?

    • Dan Chmielewski
      December 2, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Junior — Henry is a blog troll who regularly makes outrageous claims while insisting he is a real boy. He claims to live in Santa Ana but comments he makes on OC Register story which require Facebook authenitcation, places Henry’s residence in San Clemente — you know the city right next door to Santa Ana.

      I’m unaware of any criminal record, but I believe he makes a reference to Sean being ticketed for driving without a license (not sure about registration or insurance); it’s been cleared up.

Comments are closed.