Measure P Rejected By Voters, What’s Next?

Courtesy of Stu News
Story by Barbara Diamond

Actual article in the Stu News found here

Measure P was “shellacked,” as former President Obama described Democratic losses in the 2014 midterm election.

The hotly debated measure, if passed, would have increased the Laguna Beach sales tax from 7.75 to 8.75 percent to fund undergrounding utilities on key evacuation routes and related fire safety projects. The loss was a bitter pill for Councilman Bob Whalen, who wholeheartedly supported the measure and took the blame at Tuesday’s Council meeting for its defeat.

“With the election over, it’s appropriate for me to make some comments on Measure P,” said Whalen. “What we presented to the voters as a fire safety measure clearly did not resonate with them.

“As the primary person behind Measure P, I have to, and do, take responsibility for the outcome. We must respect the will of the voters and their message was clear on this measure.”

However, Whalen opined that the defeat leaves Laguna with a major problem: vulnerability to fire in general and specifically from by fires caused by overhead utilities.

“I find a bitter irony in the fact that two days after our voters rejected Measure P, the most destructive fire in California history, apparently caused once again by overhead utility lines, wiped out an entire town, destroying over 7,000 homes and businesses and to date (November 13) claiming 42 lives.”

The total number of lives lost is now 56 (with almost 300 still missing) as of Thursday.

Edison also has reported an incident with one of its lines just minutes before the Woolsey fire ignited, Whalen said.

Councilman Bob Whalen is committed to developing a robust fire safety plan for Laguna despite Measure P being voted down

“This follows on the heels of Southern California Edison admitting a couple of weeks ago that its equipment was responsible for the start of the 2017 Thompson Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, still the second largest fire in state history,” said Whalen.

Whalen said he is committed to developing a robust fire safety plan for Laguna that can be implemented in the near term to expedite utility undergrounding and other fire safety measures.

“We, as a community, must develop a sense of urgency around fire safety,” said Whalen. “To be complacent at this time is to ignore the reality that confronts us.

“Governor Brown, in addressing the Paradise disaster, said the risk of fire in our state has grown exponentially and will require major adaptations costing in the millions to keep communities fire safe.”

Whalen will be proposing steps he believes the City must take to elevate fire safety to the highest priority in policy discussions and financial planning, including reprioritizing some existing revenues and expenditures and looking for ways to generate new revenues.

“I look forward to working with my fellow Council members, our City staff and the public in this effort,” Whalen said.

He also expressed his gratitude to the City staff for their work in preparing Measure P for the ballot and the Council for agreeing to put it on the ballot.

Jennifer Zeiter, founder of Stop Taxing Our Property, which opposed Measure P, recommends that the City go back to the table with Edison and ask what the City can do to extend the undergrounding already planned by Caltrans for Laguna Canyon.

“The Council subcommittee of Whalen and [Rob] Zur Schmiede got impatient with the slow progress of discussions with SCE and sponsored that damn ordinance that any new construction or repairs had to be undergrounded,” said Zeiter. “The City got sued and we lost.”

Zeiter does support the City’s policy of buying Rule 20 credits, which cities that do not feel or have the need for underground, are willing to sell to Laguna Beach at half price.

“We are proud of defeating Measure P, not because we oppose undergrounding, but because it was a badly flawed tax measure,” said Zeiter, who twice debated Whalen during the campaign, once at a forum and once at a Laguna Canyon Conservancy dinner meeting.

“And they outspent us seven to one.”

LB Visitor Economic Impact Report

As the City of Laguna Beach struggles with issues related to escalating tourism and related costs and impacts, local residents are working to be part of a smarter visitor management approach. The following information and public document report is offered for our readers.

Laguna Beach Visitor Economic Impact Report

On May 23, 2017 the City Council formed a subcommittee of Councilmembers Bob Whalen and Rob ZurSchmiede to look into “more effective ways of having visitors pay for the costs generated (by visitors)”.  This is also described as the “imbalance between revenue the city receives from visitors and what it costs the city to provide the extra services attributable to so many visitors.”

On July 6, 2017, UCI Economics Professor, former Chair of the USC Department of Economics, and former dean of the Graduate School of Management, University of California Irvine Dennis Aigner; UCI Political Science Professor, former UCI Dean of Undergraduate Education, and former Chair of the UCI Department of Political Science  Jim Danziger; Harvard educated Laguna Beach Planning Commissioner Roger McErlane; and University of Michigan MBA John Thomas presented the attached information to the subcommittee in a two hour public hearing.  The Sub-committee was presented with a written report and a PowerPoint. The information was based on information available at the time including the city’s fiscal year 2016-2017 and fiscal year 2017-2018 city budgets. The report was never presented to the full City Council.

The essence of the report was that an allocation of revenue and costs attributable to visitors based on the fiscal year 2017-2018 city budget resulted in the difference or “gap” being $23,116,000 – meaning revenue collected by the City attributable to visitors was over $23,000,000 less than the additional costs the City incurs due to the visitors.  Allocation of revenue attributable to visitors was based on a detailed line-by-line review of the City budget estimating revenue the City receives due to visitors and revenue the City would receive if there were no visitors.  Allocation of costs attributable to visitors was largely based on a comparison of operating costs for the City of Laguna Beach compared to other California cities with similar population but with little tourist impact on their operations.  The difference was stark.  Operating costs for Laguna Beach were 256% the operating costs of the other similar population cities in the comparison.  While visitors were credited with being responsible for 35% of City revenue, visitors were estimated to be responsible for 60% of the costs of operating the city.  The shortage was approximately 25% of the total city budget. The report also stated that the cost of operating the City of Laguna Beach is increasing faster than revenue to the City, implying that if no action were taken to correct the imbalance, in dollar terms the shortage would be likely to increase in the future.

The sub-committee agreed with the premise that revenue from visitors is not covering costs attributable to visitors.

In an effort to stimulate a discussion of possible solutions, the report offered eighteen possible ways to reduce the shortage, and the sub-committee was encouraged to solicit other solutions from experts and the public.

There were subsequent sub-committee meetings and the sub-committee members reported talking to an attorney and a consultant outside the sub-committee meetings.

It is likely that the shortage is greater today than at the time of the report.

The report is available here. Balancing the Costs and Revenues From Visitors To Laguna July 6 2017.pdf

Fire Risks and Undergrounding – Guest Article

“What I find most interesting is the tacit assumption that urban utility lines constitute high risk. Yes, there is risk of fire from utility lines, but the proponents do not quantify the risk for urban lines; rather, they talk about wildfires and car accidents without any hard numbers or facts. The Orange County Emergency Management Plan says that the risk of urban fire, caused by all sources, is about the same as an oil spill, train accident, or aircraft crash. The city has not cited any statistics of cars hitting poles. Nor will removing poles reduce accidents — cars will hit what was behind the poles — in some cases houses. The city has not done a cost/benefit analysis of risk vs. cost.

There is another assumption that is simply false: a fire caused by a downed pole in an urban area seldom spreads, as did the fire in North Laguna or Sonoma recently — the fires began in the dry chaparal. Wildfires start in the chaparal and head toward cities, not from them. Undergrounding the utilities in the city does nothing to reduce the risk of wildfires in the chaparal, nor does it put the high voltage, cross-country lines underground.

None of this information is new. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has been studying power line safety for over 100 years, and there are thousands of scientific papers published on the subject, but who has time to look up facts? We’ve seen time and again that science does not enter into City Council decisions, only tax and spend. Laguna Beach is not the first city to have utility poles — most cities have them. The truth be known, this initiative is about taxing and spending tens of millions for aesthetics and over-priced ocean views, not public safety. Under State law the city’s highest priority is safety, but it goes begging.

The Orange County Emergency Management Plan says that flood/storms, hazardous materials, earthquakes, epidemics, and mudslide/landslide are all higher and more frequent risks in Laguna Beach, yet the Council makes little-to-no effort for flood protection or mudslides, for which Laguna Beach regularly makes the national news. How quickly we forget the flooding, houses falling down hills, and deaths that have happened from mudslides. The slide in Montecito that killed dozens was only a few weeks ago.

As for exit routes, Laguna Canyon has a much higher risk from flooding and slides than from downed poles. Remember how many days it was impassible after the last major flood, as was PCH in South Laguna? The flooding is regular and not rare. Unfortunately, flood control is not chic or trendy or ever mentioned in real estate ads, i.e., 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, great view, and flood control. It is the last item that our City Council is, by law, responsible for, not great views.”

Are We Being Well Served? Laguna’s 38-Year History of Legal Representation by Rutan & Tucker

Laguna Beach Legal Spending Update 2019-2020 – Click here

Update on Rutan & Tucker LLP costs to Laguna Beach City Tax payers in city funded lawsuits through 2018. Click here

This past March Laguna Beach witnessed its 38th anniversary of its relationship with the Rutan & Tucker LLP (R&T) law firm. 38 years is an extraordinarily long run for any 3rd party vendor servicing a public entity customer, especially so in the case of a City Attorney (CA). Should we assume that the reason for the longevity of this relationship is the stellar representation that the residents of Laguna Beach have received from R&T or might there be other factors behind this remarkable run?

Regular readers of this website will recall that LagunabeachCHAT did an analysis of all R&T invoicing to the City for fiscal years 2010 through 2016 (see http://lagunabeachchat.com/well-see-you-in-court/) to get a sense of the actual costs to taxpayers that legal representation has cost residents. The earlier analysis gave us a sense of the costs, but did not address the question of whether the legal representation that was involved in these cases was indeed in the best interests of the taxpayers. We hope to gain insight into the legal representation that R&T have been providing to the City in this article.

Firstly, to be clear, the author is not an attorney and has no legal training. Therefore this analysis is not founded upon a legal review of the cases or laws related to them. Instead, this review is founded upon an analysis of “reasonableness” and a common-man understanding of legal principles in the U.S. By this we mean that if the City found itself the defendant in a lawsuit resulting from an ordinance it passed that was in clear violation of accepted legal principles, then we would question:

a) why the City’s legal council did not persuade the City Council to avoid passing such an ordinance in the 1st place

b) why the City’s legal council did not persuade the City Council to settle such a case and void the offending ordinance before litigating the issue before the courts

We will also look at the City’s most costly and long-running litigation/cases and try to understand why the City’s legal council might not encourage the City to arbitrate such cases to closure rather than endlessly fighting before the courts. (Note: the term “cases” includes all claims filed with the City as well as issues that have resulted in litigation before the courts).

Background

As stated earlier, the City has used the R&T law firm as its outsourced legal representative since March 1979. Currently, Mr. Philip D. Kohn acts in the role of “City Attorney” and has done so since at least 2002. Other R&T employees who act as “Assistant City Attorney” on behalf of the City are:

  • Noam Duzman
  • Hans Van Ligten
  • Ajit Thind

Interested readers can look on the LagunabeachCHAT website to see the Form700 filings (statements of Economic Interest) for 2016 for all four of these individuals. R&T are a California based firm with 140 attorneys and have wide-ranging practices, including government law. They currently or formerly act(ed) as City Attorney for San Juan Capistrano, City of Irvine, San Clemente and Dana Point in addition to Laguna Beach.

The current contract with R&T stipulates a monthly retainer of $8,500.00 for up to 60 hours of attorney time. Additional attorney time beyond the monthly 60 hours is billed at $235.00 /hr, which is a fairly standard rate under such arrangements. For Paralegal services the City is billed at the rate of $125.00/hr and for Document clerk services, $50.00/hr.

Our earlier analysis of the 2010-2016 billing records showed that the City’s legal expenses (ignoring any judgements against or for the City) have been trending upwards towards $1million annually, with our projected legal expenditures for FY16/17 nearing $900,000. And in what has become a standard operating procedure due to these ever-increasing costs, the City Council has again had to earmark additional funds at its mid-year budget review for legal services (i.e., an additional $500,000 set aside on 2/07/17 against the original budgeted amount for FY 16/17 of $635,000). This pattern is identical to the pattern followed in previous years which makes our City’s actual costs for legal services quite opaque to all but the most attentive observers. Figure 1 is a graphic from the earlier article that shows the expenditures for the period analyzed:

Figure 1

These expense amounts include the monthly retainers, ongoing legal advice and representation, and of course the costs for litigation. Litigation includes both cases where the City is the plaintiff, but more commonly, where the City is the defendant. Table 1 shows the 15 most expensive litigation suits/legal cases that the City has been involved in during the analysis period (the costs listed do NOT include any judgements that the City will be required to pay-out, if it loses):

Table 1

LagunabeachCHAT holds the opinion that Case 3 stemmed from a foundation of a poorly written ordinance with poor procedure built around it. Reading the volumes of transcripts from the related cases comprising Case 3, one is struck at the flimsy basis of the ordinance itself and the unsophisticated and ad hoc nature the processes built around it. Laws of this type are magnets for dispute and ongoing litigation. It is also notable that Council passed this CA reviewd hedge height ordinance as though Laguna Beach has a Charter and did not have to follow state code (of course the City is a General Law city which means it must follow the State’s lead).

Likewise it would seem that even a 1st year law student could see the potential 1st amendment problems with the “amplified sound” ordinance at the center of case 7. How the City Council was allowed by the CA to put this ordinance into effect is inconceivable. One has to wonder whether prior to implementation, any effort was made to review case law to see whether similar ordinances elsewhere had met with lengthy or costly lawsuits. Given that the plaintiffs in the case were lawyers themselves, a prudent reading of the circumstances would have urged caution once the lawsuit was filed. Its very likely that plaintiff attorneys were looking for headlining 1st amendment case and our hayseed City Council provided them one based on the ill-advised amplified sound ordinance.

We also fear that poor legal advice lies at the heart of the cases in Table 1 categorized as: ACLU/Homeless (cases 4 and 12). The core legal issue behind these ACLU lawsuits is the City’s enactment of various vagrancy laws making it illegal to camp or sleep in public areas. No doubt such ordinance(s) were (and still are) very popular as an attempt to stem the increasing numbers of homeless blighting our public spaces. The problem is that the core elements of typical vagrancy laws have repeatedly been found to violate numerous federal laws, not to mention the 8th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. In the City’s attempts to ward off earlier ACLU lawsuits against the original vagrancy law, the City compounded the problems in its unilateral attempts to ‘fix’ the issues. Homelessness is a far too big and complex problem for any city to tackle on its own, and the City was ill advised to attempt it to the exclusion of broader countywide and statewide efforts. So now the City finds itself constantly defending itself against incremental ACLU lawsuits which are demanding that ever more services and resources be devoted to the homeless, with no end in sight.

Regardless of the case, we also wonder what ‘stop-loss’ guidelines are in place to ensure that lawsuits are not being fought once defeat is likely. A prime example is Case 7, the 1st amendment case. Would it not be in the best interests of the defendant, to have the CA advise the likelihood of winning vs. losing, and with that analysis to decide that its in the best interest of taxpayers to throw in the towel? This analysis should certainly be done once a claim is made against the City, but it should be repeatedly done as the claim progresses into a lawsuit and as it churns its way through the legal system. Seven years is far to long a time horizon to allow a losing lawsuit to be faught. Of course an outsourced City Attorney is racking-up enormous extra billing as a result of the continued fight on such “lost cause” cases.

The Role of City Attorney

This author believes that the top responsibilities of a City Attorney includes the following:

  • Ensure constitutional (and property) rights of the residents, city employees and vistors are upheld in all City ordinances
  • Minimize litigation where the City is the defendant
  • Provide ongoing legal advice and representation to the City

An independent, elected CA would focus on these priorities in roughly this order because the electorate would punish him or her for failing to do so. We can not be sure whether an outsourced CA would do the same. Unlike an elected CA who is beholden to the electorate, an outsourced CA is working for City Hall and thus, the City Council. The two constituencies are not necessarily aligned. Recall, an outsourced CA is paid for any work that exceeds their monthly retainer. Ongoing litigation is potential money spigot for the CA’s law firm, so there is an upside to not stopping their customer from enacting legally questionable ordinances and encouraging their customer to defend weak cases.

Consider a hypothetical situation where the City Council wants to enact a popular ordinance. Perhaps the proposed ordinance is politically popular and will help council members in their re-election bids. The legal foundation of the proposed law is shaky; indeed other jurisdictions have found themselves being sued because of a similar measure. What might we expect under an elected CA vs. outsourced CA situation?

Elected CA –

  • The elected CA would be expected to advise the council about the legal downsides of enacting the proposed law.
  • They would go on the record, stating their misgivings of proceeding with the ordinance
  • When the inevitable lawsuit(s) are filed by plaintiffs regarding the ordinance, the CA may decide NOT TO DEFEND the suit, instead working to settle.

Outsourced CA –

  • The outsourced CA would be expected to advise the council about the legal downsides of enacting the proposed law.
  • If the council persists, the outsourced CA (who maintains their position at the pleasure of the council) drafts the proposed ordinance which the council will pass into law.
  • When the inevitable lawsuit(s) are filed by plaintiffs regarding the ordinance, the outsourced CA will follow the council’s demand to defend against the suit.

I believe that Laguna Beach has seen many examples of the latter hypothetical scenario play out (e.g. Klein v. City). Are there any instances where the City has decided to not defend a lawsuit that is based on ordinances it has passed? Given the dynamics of an outsourced CA who serves at the pleasure of City Hall who also stands to benefit financially from litigation, it is extremely unlikely and indeed LagunabeachCHAT is unaware of any such cases.

Conclusion

Our review of the legal expenditures and litigation cases for the past 6 fiscal years caused us concern about Laguna’s having an outsourced CA. The lack of accountability to voting taxpayers together with the misaligned financial incentives inherent in having a private law firm representing the City lead us to conclude that the City would be better served by having an elected City Attorney, or at a minimum, that the City should go out to bid for other possible law firms to represent our legal interests.

The current CA’s modus operandi seems to be to deliver any and all new ordinances that the City Council dreams up with minimal attempts to convince their customer to reign-in laws that might overreach or attract lawsuits. Given that, what legal jeopardy might the City be inviting with its leading-edge ordinances on:

  • City-wide smoking ban
  • Drone regulation
  • Short Term Lodging prohibitions
  • View restoration

Time will tell but we don’t expect to see the legal expenditures trend-line seen in Figure 1 decreasing anytime soon as long as our CA reports to the City Council/City Manager and is not held accountable for the City’s legal expenditures.

Pension cost explosion – When City Councils don’t understand the financials

The link takes you to an article detailing the pension costs in the City of El Monte, where 38% of the City’s General Fund budget goes to paying for pension costs. it also describes a broken system where one group gets a pension enhancement, and this is then used by other groups to lobby for the same. Oftentimes the City Councils that are being ‘sold’ these justifications don’t understand the cost implications of what they’re voting on. Even worse, many of these budget-busting proposals for pension sweeteners are approved unopposed by voters who are understandably confused by the proposals and unclear as to the ruinous cost implications.

Whenever the tax paying public hears politicians or union leaders using the justification of “we need to keep and attract the best”, or “our pay and/or benefits are not competitive…”, watch out. Lets be clear. Our public employees, including safety personnel are RICHLY rewarded as it currently stands.

http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-el-monte-pensions/

New Employee Receives Special Perk – Updated

Story Update – Guess who earns more than the Governor of California?

The excessively high salaries of city managers is a troubling California epidemic. Our City Manager and Assist City Mgr/Dir public works both earn far more in total remuneration than the GOVERNOR of California.
CY2019
Pietig: $359k
Dupuis: $330k (est)
Newsome: $278k

Review City Agenda Bill forms here
Review City Housing Agreement here

LB is 48th out of 567 cities in California, in terms of the total remuneration given to the City Manager. https://publicpay.ca.gov/. Tiny LB ranks high in terms of tax-payer largess.

The ever escalating remuneration packages that California cities are handing out to City managers is an epidemic problem. City managers are quick to play one locale off against another and exploit the relative lack of sophistication of the City Councils that set their pay. The attached article makes for eye opening reading on the overall problem and possible legislative solutions being proposed.

https://www.highlandernews.org/33593/riversides-city-manager-contract-dispute-wholly-californian-problem/

Read Stu News’ Story – Council raises the ante in Dupuis sweepstakes – here

—-

By : 
Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper

In her dual job titles as the city’s new assistant city manager and director of public works,

Shohreh Dupuis

Shohreh Dupuis

Shohreh Dupuis knows she’ll encounter the unique challenges of a popular beach town. Experienced at working with regional transportation agencies, her first task will be the utility undergrounding project in Laguna Canyon and the growing traffic congestion on the city’s small streets, she said.

With at least one hurdle that confronts most residents, she will receive help. Dupuis is one of four City Hall executive administrators getting assistance from their employer to buy a home in town, said Gavin Curran, director of finance and information technology.

And that’s a big help, especially in a city that ranks second highest for median home prices in Orange County, according to Core Logic property information company and Oscar Wei, senior economist for the California Association of Realtors. Corona del Mar ranks first.

For more of the story click here

Updated – The Great Laguna Beach Real Estate Giveaway

What do the following have in common:
* City Manager
* Assistant City Manager
* Fire Chief
* Battalion Chief (1)
* Battalion Chief (2)
* Senior Sewer Services Supervisor

If you guessed that all of these folks working for Laguna Beach earn well in excess of $150K per year (base), and in most cases in excess of $250K (total comp), you’d be partially right.

All of these folks have also been the recipients of the largess of the City Council who have deemed them to be “Essential Employees” making them eligible for the City’s “housing assistance subsidy” in which the city agrees to share equally in the PURCHASE of a LB home, (up to 50% equity or less). The logic behind this incredibly generous program is that “essential” employees need to be able to respond to emergencies in a timely manner. There is no formal definition of the program, nor which positions are “essential”, meaning it is up for grabs.

Bear in mind, the City Council believes that these “essential employees” need to reside in or near Laguna Beach, and could not afford to do so on their government compensation. Let’s take a look at the figures for 2015 (since then, all of these positions have received pay increases of at least 3%), as provided by Transparent California (http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2015/laguna-beach/):

Total Pay (without benefits)

  • City Manager –                  $249,912.83
  • Assist City Manager –       $203,104.07
  • Fire Chief –                        $236,056.98
  • Battalion Chief –               $222,996.72

LagunaBeachCHAT finds it to be unreasonable to have the taxpayers contribute more on top of these very generous amounts of compensation (bear in mind, the taxpayers are already contributing approx 30% more for each of these employees in the form of their DEFINED BENEFIT pensions). Its simply largess that no city can afford.

Click here to see 2015 compensation amounts for Laguna Beach’s city & safety employees

What the program means in practice is that the City is co-investor in several properties along with essential employees. Once employment with the City terminates, a participating employee can have up to 10 years to sell the property at which point the City gets its pro-rated share of the proceeds back. The most recent “essential” employee to avail themselves of the program is the new Assistant City Manager (annual base comp of her predecessor in 2015 = $194,239.23), for whom the CC moved in May of 2016 (shortly after her start) as approved by the  City Council:


Moved by Councilmember Dicterow seconded by Councilmember Zur Schmiede and carried unanimously 5/0, authorized the City Manager to:
(a) negotiate an offer with Shoreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager/Director of Public Works (started with the City, around 1May2016), under the Essential Employee Housing Assistance equity-sharing and direct loan program on the terms and conditions consistent with other employee agreements and with the Agenda Bill;
(b) prepare and execute all documents necessary to implement the transaction with any costs shared equally by the City and the employee; and
(c) appropriate $1.3 million from the proceeds received from the sale of 1044 Noria Way and 1419 Regatta Road toward this transaction and, if necessary until the properties are sold, temporarily borrow from the Insurance Fund to complete the transaction.


Members of the tax-paying public went before the City Council to object to this “perk”, but the plea fell on deaf ears; the City Council continues to approve requests presented by the City Manager unanimously.

The accompanying document shows the agreement that the City made with the then Senior Sewer Services Supervisor, who had at that point (2008) worked for the City for 35 years. He & his wife wanted to stop renting & purchase a property to start building equity. Ultimately this request for “Essential Employee” status was granted and the city contributed up to $400,000 for the purchase of the home. This despite the fact that sewer division employees were already eligible for a monthly housing subsidy from the City at at then-$800 per month.

Recently we became aware that the City Manager refinanced his LB Employee City Subsidy Program partially city-owned home. Due to newer refinancing practices put in place after the housing melt-down, the City eventually gave-up its 50% equity position in the CM’s home, and has instead become the loan holder of the (refinance) note.

City Manager – John Pietig Housing Agreement 2001
More on Pietig FPPC here

Battalion Chief – Thomas Christopher Housing 2005

Essential Housing Motion 2008

Assistant City Manager Housing Subsidy 2016

Housing Element Agreement 2013-2021-final

Amortization Schedule – Shohreh Dupuis Updated 12/31/20

Dupuis Housing Assistance agreement with all signatures 5-26-16

Housing agreement amendment

Memo Annual Rate 2020 SIGNED

81-Year-Old Tax Payers’ Watch Dog Uncovers County Misspending

An article in the Voice of OC shows local activists bring attention to County’s mishandling of Tax Dollars. The article reports on a complaint that Ms. Shirley Grindle filed with the FPPC against OC Supervisors Andrew Do and Lisa Bartlett (who is OUR district 5 supervisor and current Chair of the OC BoS). According to the allegations, Do spent almost a quarter of a million of taxpayer dollars to send out campaign flyers disguised as District 1 resident outreach. Do is in a tight race to retain his seat on the BoS.

Similarly, Ms. Bartlett (from Dana Point) spent $137k of taxpayer dollars sending out District 5 flyers which broke the rules and amounted to taxpayer-funded campaign materials. I’ve provided a link to the Voice of OC article and the actual complaint that Ms. Grindle filed with the FPPC. Shirley is a treasure and every OC taxpayer owes her a debt of gratitude for her >40 years of dogged attempts to minimize political corruption in OC. She’s 81 years old, and slowing down a little but still every bit as feisty as in years gone by.

Read the full article here