In the wake of ethics concerns dogging Orange County’s two largest cities, Anaheim and Santa Ana, both cities seem to need an effective way to maintain organizational oversight and accountability for the ethical behavior of their employees, commissioners, and elected officials.
There has been some debate regarding the ethics of Claudia Alvarez’s deciding vote last week that determined she received nothing but an unspecified rebuke of her anti-Semitic comments. Both the OC Register and Voice of OC have published articles that suggest that because there was no financial interest at stake in her vote, there was no ethical conflict. I take issue with that conclusion.
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.
TheLiberalOC learned on Wednesday afternoon that Santa Ana City Attorney Joseph Fletcher has referred the matter of improper votes by Council members Sal Tinajero, Michele Martinez, and Claudia Alvarez to the Orange County District Attorney for review. The votes in question appear to violate Santa Ana Municipal Code section 2-107.
The City Council of Santa Ana (Baby Bell) has called a special meeting for this evening to discuss the problems that have developed from the revelation of improper campaign contributions and improper votes taken by Council members Michele Martinez and Sal Tinajero related to the Station District project. Well the swamp is getting deeper for these two as more improper votes do large contributions are revealed.
Absence of Ethics, Incompetent Legal Counsel, or both? To many the requirements of the Brown Act are seen as a nuisance, rather than a responsibility; an annoyance, rather than an opportunity for accountability. Such is the case it seems with the Garden Grove Unified School District Trustees.