OC Register enables Kris Murray to LIE to the people

A few days ago an article appeared in The OC Register written by Kris Murray regarding districting. In the article, Kris Murray falsely claimed that "if the council had approved the ballot initiative proposed last year by Mayor Tait to divide Anaheim into single-member districts, it would have been a violation of state law."

Kris Murray

Kris Murray

The truth is that CA government code 34458 only applies to adopting a new charter not amending the charter as the initiative brought forth by Mayor Tait would have done. The City of Bell didn't amend their charter they adopted a new one. 

(b) Prior to approving the submission to the voters of a proposal to adopt a charter, the governing body shall hold at least two public hearings on the matter of the proposal of a charter and the content of the proposed charter. 

Murray went on to state "In the wake of the city of Bell corruption scandal, state law was changed requiring charter cities, like Anaheim, to engage their citizenry in a broad public process before any changes to the charter can be put before voters. Assembly Bill 1344 became effective Jan. 1, 2012, and requires extensive public noticing and a minimum of two hearings before the council may consider and approve initiatives changing the city's charter. None of these steps occurred before Mayor Tait's ballot initiative was agendized for council consideration last September."

The law again specifically speaks to adopting a charter not amending it. Therefore the public hearings would not be necessary. The law only requires that 88 days have passed before the election when proposing changes to the charter.

Former Anaheim City Attorney Cristina Talley, who wrote the staff report regarding Mayor Tait's initiative, also made no mention of any  potential conflicts. Click here to read the staff report:

Talley2.jpg
 

Brandman majority TERMINATES City Attorney

From the Voice of OC:

Anaheim City Attorney Cristina Talley has resigned effective April 30 with an administrative leave that begins immediately, Voice of OC has confirmed.

Talley wrote in a memo to city officials that at Tuesday night's closed-door council meeting the council majority asked her to resign or face being fired.

The memo also states that city officials likely violated the state's open meetings law known as the Ralph M. Brown Act when City Manager Bob Wingenroth failed to report out of closed session that the council majority asked Talley to resign.

Californians Aware general counsel Terry Francke, who also advises Voice of OC on open-government issues, said that the decision and the vote breakdown must be disclosed.

City Council members have either not returned phone calls or declined comment on the resignation, citing a provision in the Brown Act that makes it illegal to leak details of closed session meetings. Councilwoman Lucille Kring called the confidentiality requirement “sacrosanct” when she declined comment.

Francke said city officials again are wrong about the open government law.

“They are wrong about the confidentiality provisions of the Brown Act,” Francke said. “They're not prohibited by the Brown Act from explaining why they asked the city attorney to resign. … The Brown Act permits a closed session on various topics but does not prohibit the body from disclosing information from that closed session at its discretion.”

Here is Talley's email in its entirety:

It is with the deepest sadness that I inform you that last Tuesday evening, a majority of the City Council asked for my resignation no later than the close of business on January 31, 2013, or face dismissal at the February 5, 2013 City Council meeting. After giving this matter as much consideration as possible, given the time constraints placed on this offer, I was forced to accept the offer to resign under the terms provided by the majority. Thus, effective February 1, 2013, I will be on paid administrative leave and my resignation will be effective April 30, 2013.

According to sources close to City Hall, Talley, one of Orange County's few Latina city attorneys, is being ousted because, among other reasons, the council majority is unhappy with her position that the city is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act, a state law that requires adequate representation for minorities on legislative bodies, .

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the city on behalf of a group of Latino activists on grounds that the city is violating the law with its at-large council member electoral system. Latinos, which constitute 53 percent of the city's residents, have been unable to elect their favored candidates, the lawsuit claims.

Councilman Jordan Brandman at a recent council meeting asked that the evaluation of City Council-appointed city officials, including the city attorney, city manager, city clerk and city treasurer, be placed on the closed session agenda, saying the reviews are necessary as an early step in a city charter review process. He gave no indication that a city employee would be forced out.

Brandman with his pals Kris Murray and Disney's Carrie Nocella.

Brandman with his pals Kris Murray and Disney's Carrie Nocella.

The possible ouster also comes after a Superior Court judge voided a $158-million subsidy given to a politically connected hotel developer because city officials failed to correctly notify the public that the council would be deciding whether to grant the subsidy, a violation of the Brown Act.

The subsidy, which allowed a partnership involving Bill O'Connell to keep 80 percent of a planned hotel development's room-tax revenue for 15 years, had been a high-profile political issue throughout most of last year.

Members of the council majority have argued strongly for the subsidy, saying it would kick-start construction and create thousands of jobs. But opponents said it creates an unfair playing field for other hoteliers and was negotiated without public benefits such as living-wage jobs.

Hotel financing experts now have said the hotels could be built in one to two years without a tax subsidy.

Wingenroth had said at a cancelled council meeting turned town hall last year that he wrote the agenda item for the subsidy. The city attorney, however, is ultimately responsible for assuring that council votes don't violate the Brown Act.

From the OC Register:

ANANAHEIM – The city attorney abruptly resigned under pressure from the City Council – likely because of backlash from a contentious hotel tax deal.

Christina Talley

Christina Talley

Cristina Talley, the city attorney since April 2009, submitted a resignation letter after council members told her that she should quit by Thursday or face dismissal at next Tuesday's meeting, according to her resignation letter. Tuesday, council members discussed the city attorney's performance in a closed session.

Talley was the council's top legal advisor at the time of the January 2012 meeting to approve a subsidy of up to $158 million to help develop two luxury hotels at the GardenWalk mall near Disneyland.

In December, an Orange County Superior Court judge voided the council's decision, saying the panel had violated the open-meetings law by listing the tax proposal only as a "discussion" item on the agenda.

No one spoke against the tax deal at that meeting, but residents later protested and filed the lawsuit because they said that they were unaware that a final decision was being made that night.

Councilwoman Gail Eastman said the court decision was a reason that she wanted a "new direction" with the city attorney.

"It's been a pretty uncomfortable year for all of us," said Eastman, one of three council members who voted in favor of the tax deal.

Mayor Tom Tait, who voted against the subsidy proposal, had a different opinion.

"I'm disappointed and disturbed by this turn of events," Tait said in a voicemail. "I believe Cristina is a fantastic and extremely talented city attorney, and I'm very saddened that she's leaving."

Councilwoman Kris Murray declined to comment.

Kris Murray doesn't like Talley's legal opinions. Apparently she is going to place a job posting for a YES man.

Kris Murray doesn't like Talley's legal opinions. Apparently she is going to place a job posting for a YES man.

Councilman Jordan Brandman, who took office in December, had asked to discuss the performance of the city attorney, as well as three other top city employees who serve at the will of the council, at Tuesday's meeting. Brandman could not be reached for comment Friday.

Councilwoman Lucille Kring, also recently sworn in, could not be reached.

Talley is on paid administrative leave and her resignation is effective April 30, according to the letter.

"After giving this matter as much consideration as possible, given the time constraints placed on this offer, I was forced to accept the offer to resign under the terms provided by the majority," Talley wrote in the letter.

Ruth Ruiz, the city's spokeswoman, said the council likely will discuss a severance package at Tuesday's meeting. The City Council is scheduled to discuss an interim city attorney in closed session on Tuesday.

Talley's salary is $202,800, according to the city. She could not be reached for comment Friday.

Talley began working at the city in 1996 as a senior assistant city attorney. Previously, she was city attorney in Pasadena and worked in private practice.

Talley-Gate

By the Orange Juice Blog:

My old nemesis Matt Cunningham has penned what he seems to consider a righteous demolition of my first piece on the firing of Cristina Talley, in which the thesaurus-toting hack refers to MY story as a 

“90-proof left-wing exhortation at the perfervid Orange Juice Blog.”

But if you go back and read my piece, a couple problems become immediately apparent:  First of all, it was 120-proof;  Secondly, there was absolutely nothing left-wing about it.   (Matt claims that it is left-wing simply because I mention Talley’s race in the piece a few times.)

But there is no longer a left or right in Anaheim.  I hung out again with the Mayor today and we talked about exactly this.  I see the two sides in contemporary Anaheim as democracy vs plutocracy.  Another wise observer of the scene has suggested “people who are just out for themselves” vs “people who care about the community.”

Up until now I’ve refused to link to Matt’s blog, for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere, but now I’m starting to see the Anti-Anaheim blog as valuable in a way, in an instructive way, as a sort of object lesson, an ugly one, a foil.  As I told Matt, it’s fitting that the main blogospheric voice of the Anaheim plutocracy is someone who requires payment and will not reveal the source of that payment.

I straightened out a few of Matt’s mistruths in the comments over there, but I think a couple of the more egregious ones deserve their own responses here.  So, first…

Read the full story at:

http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/02/talley-gate-race-and-the-gardenwalk-brown-act-violation1/

More Anti-Anaheim blog baloney. . . .

Today, the Anti-Anaheim blog has new post out, written supposedly by an anonymous contributor named Anaheim Insider.

"At the November 13, 2012 Anaheim City Council meeting, the council wanted to form an ad hoc committee to oversee the city’s negotiations with the Angels regarding an extension on their lease. The council majority planned to name Councilmember Gail Eastman and Councilmember Kris Murray to the ad hoc committee as Mayor Tom Tait had previously claimed a potential conflict of interest because he owned property across from Angels Stadium and his engineering business operated out of a neighboring building.

This is where it gets interesting. In response to an inquiry about the Mayor’s conflict, the Anaheim City Council minutes report what happened next:

“At the request of the Mayor, the City Attorney reported that Mayor Tait had previously secured an advice letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission indicating … he would not have a conflict of interest under the Political Reform Act.”

It has been a couple of months since the city attorney made this interpretation of the FPPC conflict letter. The letter was never made available.

But just last week the FPPC letter was made public. The letter, addressed a question posed by the City Attorney, and this is what was asked:

“May Mayor Tait take part in decisions concerning the city-owned Angel Stadium property if he transfers his ownership interest in real property within 500 feet of the Angel Stadium property to his adult, non-dependent children and amends the lease relating to his leasehold interest in a portion of the same property to prohibit him from profiting from any sublease, assignment or transfer of that leasehold?”

So that was the question asked by the City Attorney about Mayor Tait’s conflicts. And here is the FPPC’s answer:

“By transferring his entire ownership interest in 2130 Orangewood LLC, Mayor Tait will no longer have a disqualifying economic interest in the two parcels of real property owned by that entity. However, Mayor Tait will still have an economic interest in the leasehold which will be directly involved in any governmental decisions involving Angel Stadium.”

“Mayor Tait may not make, participate in making, or influence the decisions unless he can (rebut 5 factors) and determine there is no reasonably foreseeable material financial effects on any other economic interest he may have.”

Apparently the city attorney felt she could interpret all of this as – “Mayor Tait has no conflict.”

(Read the FPPC conflict letter for yourself. You can get a copy of the advice letter from the FFPC. The file number of this advice letter is # A-12-063, dated May 22, 2012.)

It is clear that the city attorney did not to give accurate legal advice. But the real question is whether she should have been fired or allowed to resign for this breach?

The mayor and councilmembers rely on the City Attorney for expert legal advice. When he or she gives poor, unsound or incomplete advice, it is the mayor and councilmembers relying on it who bear the consequences, legal as well as to their reputations."

The problem is Anaheim Insider deliberately left out key segments of the FPPC e-mail response. Here is the whole response (the portion Anaheim Insider left out in bold):

By transferring his entire ownership interest in 2130 Orangewood LLC, Mayor Tait will no longer have a disqualifying economic interest in the two parcels of real property owned by that entity. However, Mayor Tait will still have an economic interest in the leasehold which will be directly involved in any governmental decisions involving Angel Stadium. His proposed amendment to the lease should provide sufficient proof that it is not reasonably foreseeable that governmental decisions affecting Angel Stadium will have any effect on the value of Mayor Tait's right to sublease the real property, either positively or negatively, as set forth in regulation 18705.2(2)(C). 

Then Anaheim Insider goes on to quote another portion of the letter with portions missing:

This notwithstanding, Mayor Tait may not make, participate in making, or influence the decisions unless he can (1) rebut the presumption of materiality by showing that it is not reasonably foreseeable the decisions will have any financial effect on any of the remaining factors enumerated in Regulation 18705.2(a)(2)(A)-(E) with respect to his leasehold interest, and (2) determine that there will be no reasonably foreseeable material financial effects on any other economic interests he may have. 

So if Mayor Tait did what Talley suggested:

1. transfer ownership

2. amends the leasehold

then Mayor Tait has no conflict and he can participate any negotiations related to Angel Stadium. Once again, the Anti-Anaheim blog insinuates wrong doing and maligns the character of our former City Attorney Cristina Talley with no merits.

Scandals could STOP Disney

From the OC Politics Blog:

“Anaheim city officials are weighing whether to release a politically explosive email that raises troubling questions about whether local officials knowingly misrepresented facts to the federal government in order to obtain transportation grant funding,” according to the Voice of OC.

3350653689_11f1149bd5.jpg

The Voice of OC also reported that “City Hall sources who have seen the email, including Mayor Tom Tait, say that on its face the correspondence shows that Natalie Meeks, the city’s public works director, and Darrell Johnson, deputy CEO of the Orange County Transportation Authority, may have colluded to misrepresent information on an application for Federal Transit Authority funds for the $319-million streetcar project that would connect Disneyland to the city’s planned public transit depot.”

Anaheim City Attorney Cristina Talley was forced to resign, by the Council majority, because she advised that the records requested by activists and the media had to be turned over for review.

But in the end this scandal may well return Talley to her post – and could end up not only derailing the multi-million dollar street car system that Disney wants taxpayers to pay for, it could also result in the ouster of the Council majority.

In related news, the Voice of OC also reported that “Two planned four-star hotels near Anaheim’s GardenWalk mall could be built without taxpayer subsidies in one to two years, according to hotel financing experts, calling into question subsidy supporters’ central argument that the hotels can’t be built without the controversial incentives.”

You might recall that Disney, with their friends at the SOAR PAC, pushed hard over the past few years to spend hundreds of millions of hotel tax dollars on subsidizing the GardenWalk hotels.

Why Disney is so hot to burn through taxpayer money on unneeded street cars and hotels that should be financed privately is a very good question.  Remember that Disney spent a fortune this past year to elect former Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly to represent the 68th Assembly District.  Well they better enjoy it for now because Daly will surely lose in 2014 when area Latino activists run one good candidate against him.  But for now he will be doing his best to push tax dollars into Disney’s corner – Mickey Mouse welfare if you will.

We should not tolerate Disney’s meddling in local politics and their desire to waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Read more at:

http://ocpoliticsblog.com/scandals-could-stop-disney-from-wasting-tax-money-on-streetcars-hotels/