It’s All Up Hill From Here.

On December 18, 2012, the Brea City Council reorganized in what has been described to me as everything from damned embarrassing to downright illegal. My post “A Dark Day In Brea History” and my reorganization wrap-ups “An Elephant In The Room – Part 1” and “An Elephant In The Room – Part 2” summarize the events and the issues facing Brea’s still dysfunctional Council.

I’m not alone here, others agree.

A sufficient number of Breans who witnessed the reorganization, as it unfolded live, or via replay from either Brea’s website or Time-Warner public access, felt strongly that the sequence of comments and events that put Ron Garcia in the Mayor’s seat and named Brett Murdock Mayor Pro Tem, clearly point towards collusion amongst some of the key players prior to the meeting.

I gave things a month for the dust to settle, hoping one of the “Old Guard” who stormed out of council chambers that night or some other angry citizen would take the facts to the Orange County District Attorney’s office seeking an investigation into possible Brown Act violations. Seeing none, I was left with little choice but to do it myself.

Here is an abbreviated version of what I submitted for consideration:

  • Mayor Pro Tem Murdock used “formal motion” as opposed to “informal nomination” procedure to name Ron Garcia for Mayor. A clear attempt to block other nominations.
  • Use of “informal nomination” procedure has been standard, for Council Commissions and Committees in Brea for decades. The process does not require a second and allows for multiple nominees.
  • By turning from traditional nominating to the process of making a motion, Murdock and Garcia appear to have essentially used Robert’s Rules of Order to strangle the Council and intentionally limit their options.
  • Roy Moore, upon attempting to nominate Marty Simonoff, was instructed by City Attorney James Markman that he was out of order. This was incorrect.
  • To be accurate (and unbiased?), City Attorney James Markman should have instructed Roy Moore that he merely needed to make a substitute motion to add his nominee.
  • In Roy Moore’s BreaNet #639, he confirmed the City Attorney’s error. Both Moore and Simonoff acknowledge chastising Markman following the meeting, Markman admitted his error.
  • Ron Garcia used the same tactic to nominate Brett Murdock as Mayor Pro Tem for a second consecutive term, stating, “I would like to re-nominate… ummm… make a motion that Brett serve as Mayor Pro Tem which would give Brett Mayor… to serve as the Mayor in his 4 year term.”
  • Ron Garcia’s motion seemed to preemptively also make Brett Murdock Mayor in 2014, the year he runs for reelection. This can’t be legal.
  • Prior to the council meeting, council member Simonoff was approached by City Manager Tim O’Donnell who inquired whether he would be open to a quid pro quo making Marty Mayor and Brett Mayor Pro Tem. Marty informed Mr. O’Donnell that he “didn’t do quid pro quo” and terminated the conversation.
  • The sequence of events and dialog, as described, suggest that there may have been collusion between Ron Garcia, Brett Murdock, James Markman, Tim O’Donnell and possibly Christine Marick.

rackauckas_aWill the OCDA respond or blow me off?

Several have told me that getting a conviction on a Brown Act violation is virtually impossible, that even getting an investigation launched is extremely difficult. If I let this sort of pessimism rule my thinking, I’d give up before I even got started. Fat chance.

I hope that Mr. Rackauckas disproves this notion and assigns a Deputy DA to seriously investigate this matter.

I believe there is an endemic culture of secrecy and collusion in Brea city hall, and an arrogant disregard for the provisions of the Brown Act.

If I’m right, this ought not be allowed to continue one more minute and those who participated should be recalled or terminated.

elephant2

Long live the king!

This year’s coronation, once again, raises that nagging question… how is it that premeditated snubbings, total disregard for historical precedents and the selection of a new prom king and his clown prince can appear to go on behind closed doors without having crossed over the boundaries of the Brown Act?

Sadly, not only does it seem that most people have given up on caring, even the filing of a complaint with the FPPC seems to fall upon deaf ears.

The elections of 2012 should be heating up right after the summer solstice. If the new clown prince, the ex-pool boy, sees his shadow, we’re likely to have several more years of economic winter. Hopefully he’ll emerge from his hole under cover of those expensive solar panels down at city hall, there will be no shadow to see, and great and wonderful profits will be had by all!

Yeah right, once again The Lollipop Guild lived up to their reputation.

“After reviewing the play…”

[Added 01/15/12] Upon further review of the video, I’m finding it more and more difficult to understand how what transpired could have been serendipitous and unscripted. Too many things fell into place in just the right sequence, at just the right moment, for me to believe that there was no collusion. I suppose some will just dismiss my concerns as the rantings of one of Markman’s crazies… I’m honored.

If you’re amongst the precious few who really care what goes on in city hall, watch the December 20th Coronation again. Pay particular attention to the comments of Roy Moore. He’s right. Marty Simonoff ought to be sitting in the Mayor’s seat, or at least the Mayor Pro Tem. The “power trio” clearly turned their backs on the large number of Breans who have faithfully supported Mr. Simonoff over the years

Take a close look at the reactions and body language of our new Mayor Pro Tem. He looks to me a lot like the kid that got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

“Unsportsman like conduct by the offense…”

Next Tuesday’s meeting, January 17th, we’ll see how Mayor Schweitzer divvies up council’s 2012 committee assignments. Anyone want to bet Sir Schweitzer has his new MPT recommend that the mayor takes the salaried ($200/meeting) Sanitation District assignment away from Roy Moore and reassign it to himself?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to give it to the MPT so he could afford to pay back that $3,600 retroactive raise he banked? Murdock is the only holdout left, everyone else has made sure the ill gotten gains found their way back into city coffers.

Frankly, this whole “I’m taking my ball and going home” routine is starting to wear on me. November won’t come soon enough.

Closing Thoughts.

If it weren’t for the fact that recall efforts, excluding the obvious success in Bell, typically fall short of getting the signatures necessary to put it on the ballot… I’d be sorely tempted to encourage a little grassroots politikin’ around here. The phone calls and emails I’m getting lately suggest I’m not alone on this.