Politics in Brea are all about getting even.

Though interviewed and recommended by City Treasurer Parker and senior Council member Simonoff, one of Brea’s most trusted and long standing financial advisors, Phil Anton, was rudely dismissed during study session last night without cause and replaced with a comparative amateur.

Over the years, Phil has given this community countless hours of volunteer time, shared his unrivaled expertise and supported numerous philanthropic and charitable programs. Here is his emailed response, without edit, sent to a substantial number of Brea’s leading citizens and, of course, to the politicians as well.

“City of Brea Investment Advisory Committee, Council members, and staff,

I would like to thank all of you for the opportunity to serve as your City of Brea’s Independent Investment Advisor for the past several years.  It has been my privilege and pleasure to volunteer in having a hand in the sound financial management of our City and Redevelopment Agencies’ investment portfolios and policies.  However, I am bewildered as to the direction our local politics appear to play in the decisions being made in our city, and I would like to elaborate some.

I feel that I am among the most experienced and qualified investment advisors in the City of Brea and have the specific knowledge required to look after our city’s investment funds.  I have personally managed the investment portfolios of both the County and City of Los Angeles, and of the L.A. Unified School District while working as Senior Portfolio Manager & Regional Vice President in Bank of America’s Southern California Investment Division.  My investment record while managing these fixed income portfolios has been lauded by all three of these entities.  I, also, ran B of A’s growth stock fund as portfolio manager during my tenure there.  I was later president of a regional securities broker dealer with offices in 11 states.

I believe experience counts when handling or looking over city investment funds, and if we had this type of back up looking over Bob Citron’s shoulder several years ago, I do not believe the County of Orange would have fallen into bankruptcy.

For three City Councilmen to remove me (I did not resign) from the position I held on this committee, and to appoint an experienced investment professional with the savvy and experience to replace me is one thing, but to remove me to appoint a replacement member without formal investment portfolio experience to assist as a watch dog of our city’s portfolios demonstrates to me and others that the three of you are more concerned with personal petty politics than you are the fiscal well-being of the city.

I am pleased and proud that others in this community wish to serve, however to forgo experience and knowledge only demonstrates that three council members would jeopardize the city’s financial well-being.

I want to thank our elected City Treasurer Glenn Parker, Council member Marty Simonoff and Council member Roy Moore for their support and confidence in my ability and experience.  To the remaining three elected officials in Brea, I pray that you correct your ways of bringing politics into city decisions, and remember that you are here to best serve our Brea citizens.


Phillip R. Anton”

Closing thoughts.

Thankfully, City Treasurer Glenn Parker was wise enough to ask Phil if he would be willing to continue assisting the committee in an unofficial capacity and Phil, typical of his willingness to pitch in and help, has agreed. Frankly, I think we all can sleep a little easier knowing that we have an advocate keeping an eye on the money for us.

How long we’re going to continue to let Council get away with keeping this sort of behavior out of public view by hiding it in the study sessions is beyond me. If we can’t move study sessions downstairs to be televised and recorded, or at least schedule them at a time when most Breans might be able to attend, the only remaining option is to put into office “politicians” who, as Phil put it, “…are here to best serve our Brea citizens.”

33 thoughts on “Politics in Brea are all about getting even.

  1. Phil Anton is extremely well-qualified and we’ve been very fortunate to have him serve on the Investment Advisory Committee for many years. But his rejection by this council majority appeared to be purely political.

    And I agree, Rick, that study sessions should be at a more realistic time for residents to attend–or moved downstairs and televised–fat chance.


    • Terri… I appreciate your comments. Though I only know Phil on a casual basis, it has been clear to me for some time how much he contributes to this community. Terminating Phil’s committee assignment appears to be yet one more way Sir Schweitzer has admonished those who don’t march lock step with his oddball, legacy driven, expensive, wasteful approach to running a city.

      The next blog is half finished, just need to do a little more fact checking. Come back next week and, please, pass the link to this blog (http://bit.ly/tmce0x) along to all who share our interests and concerns.

  2. I don’t know much about local politics… being that I am from another land. I will however say how much I like the graphic here Rick… And your style of writing is excellent.

    • Sadly Chris, you’re right, it’s symptomatic of much deeper more caustic issues in American politics. Thanks for speaking up, for your advocacy in Winston Salem and for making a difference.

  3. Very sad to read this. We have our own problems with local politics where I live in Pennsylvania. It is better to bring light to these negative situations. Otherwise we get overwhelmed and feel helpless.

    • Sally, city by city, town by town, the need to change how local government is carried out has reached critical mass. The petty “big fish in small ponds” are no longer going to dictate to the rest of us how our city budgets and services are best deployed. Thanks for your comments and best wishes for your community as well!

    • Sad Indeed Sally. This kind of behavior is worldwide as we witness the same thing in my parent’s hometown of Lagos Nigeria. We are thankful to have people like Rick who are not afraid to bring it to light and share it with the world

    • Brent, I debated whether monkeys deserved the insult, but the historical accuracy of the visual metaphor was too strong to deny. I stopped short of naming them, but those who keep an eye on the shenanigans of local politicians will have no difficulty in recognizing them. Change, big sweeping change is potentially just months away… if the residents of Brea will cast their ballots in November having sought out and clearly understood the way they’ve been hoodwinked and abused.

  4. It is great that you wrote this post because one, it informs the people of Brea of what is happening, and two it informs people like myself who are not from Brea. I wonder what would be the response of the politicians if someone asked the reasoning behind the decision to dismiss Phil. I think citizens should be more involved in city government, but a lot of the times they are treated as outsiders. This is a cool link that I found while protesting SOPA, I think democracy where citizens can collaborate on a bill online is awesome, read more about it here: http://bit.ly/y0buIJ

    • Karla, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and offering your support. Out of fairness and an interest in promoting inquiry, I’m happy to leave the link you provided to the CNN article on the experimental OPEN Act. Given how poorly Congress has performed writing Bills and making law, opening up the process to millions of critics and editors with little or no public policy experience in a Wiki-like approach to developing regulation does not make much sense to me. How about we just start putting people in office that have our best interests as their only agenda. It’s how this whole thing started.

  5. I am not a huge fan of politics especially with one of the points you referenced around bringing things out into the open. Too many bad things have happened that make me skeptical of what is the truth or not and what motivations people have behind their agenda.

    • Sounds like you and I come from similar places Jay. One of the purposes of this blog is to shed more light on local issues, particularly those that occur out of public view. It’s a lot more difficult to conduct the city’s business in an unethical manner if your always under close scrutiny.

  6. This is another example of why good people choose not to go into politics. Just out of curiosity, were you on Phil’s email list? I’m glad you were able to share his full note and give it some wider distribution. This kind of thing needs to be circulated, and good people need to be encouraged to overcome what looks to be more of the typical cronyism practiced at so many levels of government.

    • Mitch, yes, I was on the original circulation list. I also ask for and received Phil’s approval to publish the correspondence. (Though circulated in the public domain, I would never mimic Wikileaks.) This has received unprecedented response locally and I hope it succeeds, even in some small way, to mold public opinion and encourage good people to seek office and/or be far more discerning when casting their ballot. Schweitzer’s reign must come to an end and Murdock’s ascension to the throne must be thwarted.

  7. Small town politics can stink to high heaven sometimes. I guess the only consolation is that you aren’t your neighbor Fullerton. Wow, do they have issues on their Council!

    • Yeah Lisa, plus a seriously aggravated developer with deep pockets fanning the flames. Yorba Linda isn’t much better, with classic cronyism running amok and placing public safety in serious jeopardy. We’re learning a couple of lessons here. The good ol’ days weren’t nearly as good as we remember and it’s going to take a concerted grassroots effort to set us on a smarter course to a better destination.

  8. Nice little monkey ya got there. Are you sure you’re not a writer also? I know you’re a graphics/photographer guy but you’re certainly a kick to read. It’s too bad that bad things happen to good people, and this incident is no different.

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