Old Guard On The Attack.

Seems like “Former Mayor/Councilman” John Beauman, the perennial front man for Brea’s old guard, like the proverbial groundhog, has  emerged from his burrow, fired up his old blog and set his email on stun.

On behalf of all those cowardly old guard members who prefer to hide in the shadows, Punxsutawney John has embarked upon a campaign of misinformation in an attempt to block the passage of Measure T, the Brea Accountability Act and Measure U, the Brea Open Governance Act.

He’s using his well honed brand of  political deception to mix his stance against the initiatives, his objections to the election law violation law suit and his dogged promotion of Christine Marick as the panacea for all that ails Brea. This informational chaos confuses the issues and confuses the voters. The tactic makes it more difficult for the average voter to fact check his assertions and allegations.

Lets Divide Things Up Into Bite-sized Chunks.

The lawsuit was about election law violations, nothing more… nothing less. As City Attorney Markman so clearly put it, when asked by MPT Murdock if the suit was frivolous, there “were triable components to the action.”

If it had been frivolous, the court would have tossed it out at the start.

The city received correspondence, long before litigation was even considered, clearly pointing out the violation of election law. Had the city acknowledged their error and merely complied with the law, there would have been no suit and no $50,000+ in legal fees.

The initiative process began almost two years ago. Enough Brea voters felt the initiatives deserved to go on the ballot that they signed petitions to that effect. Over 6,000 I believe was what was turned in.

Yet Punxsutawney John, the old guard and opponents of the initiatives continue to suggest this is the work of a single disgruntled contractor. Bull sugar.

And riding on the crest of what they believe is the rising tide of public opinion being swayed in their direction, they’re pushing Christine Marick like she is the second coming. Well, getting her elected guarantees that the old guard will continue to have their voting block on Council… at least that seems to be what their actions would suggest.

Don’t Be Fooled By Punxsutawney John.

Some of what is contained in the initiatives may have been partially implemented by the city since the two measures were approved to go on the ballot. Some of what is contained in the initiatives may face challenge once voters approve the measures. The severabity clauses ensure that nothing overturned negates the balance of the measures.

  • Anyone observing how citizens have been denigrated, time and time again, as they tried to address Council,
  • Anyone who has struggled with a public information request,
  • Anyone frustrated that so much city business is conducted during the afternoon study session when most folks are at work,
  • Anyone who believes that senior staff, especially the City Manager who makes substantially more than the Governor of California, need to have salaries adjusted to more reasonable levels,
  • Anyone who believes that city governance should be open and conducted in the public eye,
  • Anyone who believes that those elected or employed to carry out the community’s business should rightfully be held accountable for their actions,

will know how important it is that “we the people” pass these initiatives.

Think Of It This Way.

We’re not trying to rebuild government from the ground up or fixing something that isn’t clearly broken. For those of you who have wrestled with a buggy PC, think of this as a reboot. Let’s send a clear message to city hall that we know what you’ve been up to and we’re tired of it.

It’s time to jumpstart Brea’s city government and to tell Punxsutawney John to crawl back into his burrow and stay there.

6 thoughts on “Old Guard On The Attack.

  1. Anyone who watched the city manager weasel his bonus and benefit increases with the help of Garcia, Murdock and Schweitzer last year, knows why I’m voting for both Measures and for Steve Vargas. To top it all off, Garcia, Murdock and Schweitzer defended their positions because they too “unkowingly” voted themselves flex benefit increases and then hemmed and hawed for months before addressing their decisions.

    Brett Murdock kept his unearned “booty.” Not even a year on the city council and Murdock felt justified and entitled to an extra $450 per month.

    O’Donnell got what he wanted though. What a pitiful fiasco that was. Voting YES on Measure T and Measure U… is a NO VOTE on Tim O’Donnell.

    • Stephen… That whole affair, from the inadvertent windfall Council gave themselves to the coup O’Donnell pulled off getting his salary bumped to over $300,000 a year plus a healthy cash bonus on top of it all, was a tragedy of the highest order. Simonoff, the real whistle blower, immediately returned the retroactive payment and had his salary reduced. Schweitzer and Garcia reluctantly followed suit to save face. Moore had to arm twist Bill Galliardo into reversing the payment, which Galliardo initially said was impossible. And poor little Murdock, without a pot to p*ss in, is paying it back at the raate of $100 a month. He’ll be debt free just about the time he leaves office in 2014.

      • I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t watched it unfold. It was an eye opening experience for me on how important it is for Tim O’Donnell to have three city council confederates in his hip pocket. I admittedly supported Brett Murdock in 2010 because I trusted Councilman Beauman back then. Brett Murdock has cost Mr. Beauman all the goodwill he had with me and any future endorsements will be ignored.

        I have gone around and around in my head over Measure T. For sure I knew I would vote for Measure U, I signed the petition to put it on the ballot, but I refused to sign the Meaure T petition and had been leaning towards voting against Measure T. Mostly because it doesn’t reduce the cost of our current city manager’s bloated salary and benefit package. Secondly, I feel that it could potentially handcuff a future city council’s ability to hire and retain a new competent city manager if the position ever becomes open. Also, with the legalities of Measure T seemingly questionable,it seems that it could all just be a waste of legal fees and court fees.

        But on the other hand, and this is why I have remained undecided until recently, I feel that the city manager does not respect the residents of Brea. I think he forgets that he works for us. I think that he believes that if he can maintain control over 3 out of 5 councilmen on the city council that he can work whatever agenda he has planned without proposing, presenting and selling it to the full city council and the Brea residents at large.

        I realize that the best way to combat this is to elect more independent thinkers like Roy Moore and Marty Simonoff. But once again the power brokers current and past seem to be backing and endorsing another fresh faced inexperienced recruit to replace Mr. Schweitzer.

        Therefore, I have recently changed my thinking about Measure T. To me, it has become a vote against Tim O’Donnell. If we can’t defeat Mr. O’Donnell by electing a city council majority that votes in the best interest of Breans this year, at least I can cast a vote for Measure T to voice my displeasure with what I believe is his personal contempt against concerned Brea residents and his lack of transparency and honesty in many matters that affect this city.

        My family and I will be voting “YES” on Measure T, Measure U as well as casting our ballots for Marty and Steve.

      • Stephen… I believe many others will ultimately reach the same conclusions you and your wife have, that both measures create a positive foundation from which to reform local government and to send a clear message to Tim O’Donnell that his days are numbered.

        Thankfully, so little falls into the challengeable category, and the severabity clauses ensure that the good in both measures will survive.

        People should think of it as a reboot.

  2. After reading your site, I did some research on both of the measures and I find them a bit confusing. They each have many salient points and several odd portions that do not seem to fit. I will have to look up and see who the author(s) is to maybe understand the overall goal of the measures.

    One of them I found really odd was the requirement of the City Manager having to reside within 4 miles of City Hall. There are places in Brea more than 4 miles away and other Cities closer than 4 miles. Why is that written that way – why not just say City boundaries?

    The other part about having the City staff compensated on the family income of Breans – wouldn’t they just eventually eliminate senior and low income housing? We could end up with McMansions everywhere – the income would be increased but the community would not benefit.

    I am really worried about the other unintended consequences of the public record information measure. It seems costly to insure that information will be available on such short notice – if it isn’t then City employees will be cited. Won’t this just create lawsuits and more City costs? Why not simply make it a reviewable offense that is placed in the employees file?

    I do think public information should be internet available in this day and age – I totally agree with that, however having a committee, and potentially having to hire new people just to provide information seems costly… Rick am I over reading these? Do the measure’s oddities worry you too? They both feel like they are over-reaching and thrown together too quickly. I am on the fence.

    • Chris… I’m glad to see someone investing serious time in studying the initiatives, your questions are thoughtful and to the point. As best I can, let me try to address each.

      The author, drawing from successfully passed initiatives in other California cities, was Glenn Vodhanel but remember, these would not be on the November ballot had not 6,000+ Brea voters felt them sufficiently worthwhile that they signed the petitions. The overall goal of these measures is to “reboot” city hall and send a clear message that, from now on, it’s Brea voters who are in charge.

      The residency and compensation items, as well as the “hindering” citations, already identified as likely to be challenged, are only a small part of what these measures set out to correct. As mentioned above, the severability clauses protect the balance of the measures should one or two components be overturned in court. There are also provisions to ensure the sort of housing tactics you’ve identified are out of the question.

      Since the initiative process began, as pointed out… two years ago, the city’s ability to receive and respond to public records requests electronically has been implemented and refined to meet the “specs” of the Open Governance Act. Ordinances, resolutions and election documents are available online now and ultimately all minutes will be available as well. Many financial documents should also be made available to residents to review so that, when public hearings are held, their voices can be added to the discussion. This should also help prevent large expenses from slipping by unnoticed, buried in the consent items.

      The issue really left is requiring city staff to respond as quickly as their new system already allows. Personally, I have had “same day service” and had requests unnecessarily delayed due to either staff’s inability to locate the record in question or by their feigning a lack of understanding what the request entailed.

      These initiatives are not overreaching, nor were they cobbled together without serious consideration. I cannot stress enough the importance of Brea voters stepping up and approving these measures. Beyond the legal assurances they will provide that open and accountable governance will become the new status quo, a message will be sent ringing throughout city hall that the game has changed and “we the people” are taking the reins again.

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