Adam Elmahrek over at Voice of OC has been covering the curious case of the sudden departure of Santa Ana City Attorney Joe Fletcher. His departure came after several postponements of his annual performance review. Over the past year, Fletcher has arguably been responsible for allowing the Santa Ana City Council to make several major errors related…
The purpose for this gathering is to be present at the Mayor’s inauguration, and to express concern about the Mayor’s effort to make $500,000 for himself from the sale of state property. The revelation was made public last week in 2 different newspaper articles. In one article the Mayor stated he had earned the finder’s fee for simply introducing people. The Mayor will also be deposed by attorneys opposing the sale, early this week, to determine his role in the transaction.
I think I’ve figured out the problem that the Santa Ana City Council has with following simple rules of transparent and ethical government, They don’t really give a crap what the rules are. They have figured out that they can ignore those rules, as well as city laws regarding ethics, campaign contributions and voting, and get away with it. I have written extensively about this problem over the past year and coverage of Monday’s Santa Ana City Council meeting by Adam Elmahrek of the Voice of OC made this truth even more apparent.
As most of you know, we have been hammering the city council and executive staff of the City of Santa Ana pretty hard on the issue of transparency over the past few months. We have found conflicts of interest that have required the return of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and violations of sunshine and open meetings laws. The result of our investigations has lead me to a simple conclusion. The City of Santa Ana operates with about as much transparency as a brick wall.
A Coalition for Accountable Government Ethics (CAGE) filed suit against the City of Santa Ana, charging that the City acted in violation of law by amending the voter-approved initiative/ordinance without submitting the question to a vote of the public. Simply put, CAGE is claiming that the City Council did not have the authority to amend the One Broadway Plaza Development Agreement, because the agreement was part of the voter approved initiative, Measure A.
The City attorney (Joseph Fletcher) spread the Selective Conflict Disorder virus when he infected the city council by advising that it was okay to vote on projects benefiting developers who have given them money because, get this, the Supreme Court has ruled that campaign contributions are free speech. He also infected the council with the understanding that the only people and businesses directly effected by votes moving a development project forward such as the actual developer or applicant applies to the law.
Fletcher must be suffering from the new virus that causes Selective Conflict Disorder. It is spread in an intense ‘pay to play’ environment, usually when campaign contributions are needed around election time and projects or initiatives need to move forward. It is usually contracted through face to face contact between city attorneys and council members once improper votes are discovered.