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

The Audience Matters, Too.

In a last ditched attempt to convince Brea voters that Measures T and U are unnecessary, now that their campaign of character assassination blew up squarely in their collective faces (thank you Brett Murdock, only your BFF Don thought you did fine), the Old Guard rallied the troops for a final showdown at the less-than-ok-corral.

Keith Fullington and a young man who never gave his name, a friend of Glenn Vodhanel for over ten years (and who asked for anonymity due to concerns of retribution against his family), both took shots at those Old Guard members present regarding the blatant untruths spread about Glenn and, I hope, finally put to rest this unfortunate stink in this campaign season.

The real entertainment came from the almost comedic and to be expected performances by the Old Guard’s damage control team.

If It Walks Like A Duck.

Shifting to a far more pandering style of advocacy, you’d think the city manager was up for another raise, one after another stepped up to the podium and chanted their version of the corporate mantra… Brea is great… Tim is great… Ooohhmmmm.

Quack quack quack.

Karalee Watson, a recent hire by the Brea Chamber to oversee workforce development and legislative advocacy, went on a rant covering for her boss, Sharon Wagoner who put the Chamber’s foot in it’s mouth last week with her unfortunate communication against the initiatives.

I said it before, I’ll say it again, there is no nexus between Measures T and U and issues relating to the business community. None. Period.

I called and spoke with several Chairmen Emeritus of the Chamber today. They unanimously agreed that the Chamber grossly overstepped their bounds and that such behavior would not have occurred on their watch.

Karalee bragged that she had the authority and experience to make such claims, being a Political Science professor.

Fact check. Karalee was employed, for less than a year each and not likely on a full time basis, by the California Association of Cities and Congressman Gary Miller while earning her BA and MA in Political Science from CSUF. Currently a Planning Commissioner in Yorba Linda (term ends in 2015) Karalee teaches a class in political science at a local junior college.

Not exactly what I think of when I think of a college or university professor… but I guess if you’ve got the business card, you’ve got bragging rights.

Greg Reimer (local civil engineer that shares office space with long time friend… Don Schweitzer) took issue with “that twit” Fullington before he did his version of the corporate mantra. According to Greg, I guess the best way to figure out how great a city is, is to drive around and count pot holes. Good streets equal good government.

Then it was time for the Pastor Rader Show.

Bragging about the pastors who signed the Declaration of Independence and were instrumental in creating the foundation of our democratic republic, Pastor Rader invoked the spirit of Benjamin Franklin to set the tone for his sermon.

Hate to break it to you Pastor, but the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence, and a founding father of our country, was John Witherspoon – a Presbyterian clergyman and delegate from New Jersey. So much for your grasp of history.

Then Pastor Rader, that guy from that church in the middle of Birch Street, rattled off a litany of his presidencies (Chamber, Kiwanis, Rotary, Boys & Girls Club, Ministerial Association, Cultural Arts Commission, Senior advisory something-or-other that hasn’t met in years and Habitat for Humanity). Really?

Somebody help me. Name one other Brea pastor that has the time and/or ego required to spread himself around like that. We have some truly remarkable, dedicated, impassioned pastors here in Brea. Not one has blurred the lines between church and state like Dave Rader. What’s next? A run for City Council?

Enter the perpetual politician Bev Perry.

So proud to be a member of the Old Guard, for interjecting herself into one issue after another year after year (remember the fire service public discussion?) Bev kept asking, “What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?”

Uh… how about putting a lid on you, and that little clique of folks like you, who arrogantly seem to think they know better than the other 39,975 people who live here.

You named them:, Lynn Daucher, Glenn Parker, John Beauman, Bill Lentini, Wayne Wedin, Rex Gaede, Kevin Hobby, Bill Hall, Pat Fox, Bill McMillan, Kevin Bush, Bill Higgins and John Koos. Oh yeah,  we can’t forget those you “didn’t ask” but who were quick to pull out their checkbooks, Gil Realon ($100), George Ullrich ($100), Najwa Nadhir ($250), Ron Garcia ($500), Donald Daucher ($1,000) and Marty Simonoff ($1,500).

Here’s another wager for you. Want to bet that we’ll see more names, like Schweitzer and Murdock on the 460 to be filed in January? It’s an old tactic, drop your check in at the very last minute.

How’s that for deception Mr. Markman? It’s perfectly okay to bend the rules when it’s your team grabbing face masks and putting bounties on the best opposing players.

Batting clean-up, the epitome of rough and tumble dirty campaign tactics, that guy whose ethics were called into question when nominated for another term as Planning Commissioner (and passed thanks to that ever-present block of three votes who browbeat their peers into submission) John Koos.

The king of dancing on the edge of propriety did his obligatory soliloquy, all about what a remarkable guy Tim O’Donnell is, what marvelous folks he’s hired to do his bidding, what pillars of society our elected and appointed officials are (and have been for decades) and what a little slice of heaven Brea has become thanks to their dedication and hard work.

Such sweet words, huh Mr. Schweitzer.

Don’t be fooled by those who are too invested in Brea’s status quo to give up their power and authority to you. Get the open and accountable government you deserve…

Vote yes on Measures T and U.

 

The Old Guard Comes Out.

Well, they’re out of the closet at last, I’ll give ’em that. The Old Guard, with their perpetual need to feed their egos, just couldn’t continue to lurk in the shadows – doing their dirty work under the cover of darkness.

They’ve turned to social media, Facebook, to get the kudos they believe they deserve. Let me strip away all the titles, the pomp and circumstance, from the names they published to make reading them a little easier.

Lynn Daucher, Glenn Parker, John Beauman, Bill Lentini, Bev Perry, Wayne Wedin, Rex Gaede, Kevin Hobby, Bill Hall, Pat Fox, John Koos, Bill McMillan, Kevin Bush and Bill Higgins.

I still have a lot of respect for a couple of these folks and hold them in high regard. I respect their opinions but am in total disagreement with them on Measures T and U. I am saddened to see that the less reputable members of this pack have pulled the wool over their eyes to the extent that they would unwittingly (I hope) put their names on a campaign of slander, lies and half truths.

Fourteen would be somebodies who believe they know what’s better for Brea than the other 39,986 of us who live here too. Anyone else want to bet there are a couple of other council members and even city staff still afraid to put their names on this list as well (Schweitzer, Garcia and Murdock… O’Donnell… Markman – come out, come out wherever you are)?

14 names, only 9 Facebook “Likes.” What does this say about group loyalty?

Here’s their mission statement, “We have all love living here in Brea [Yup… too arrogant to proofread.], and while we might not always agree on everything that happens in the city or with the decisions of our elected officials [Uh… wouldn’t that be you?], we DO AGREE that these two measures will hurt our city and unnecessarily cost taxpayers money.

Okay, those last two points are absurd, just flat lies. I am so disappointed in the absolute absence of authenticity in every message the Old Guard puts out.

This includes twisting of facts to suit their self-serving agenda and the relentless character assassination against one person with a litany of lies that were disproven long ago. Their “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” position on Measures T and U is rooted in their fantasy that Brea is just perfect the way it is. Sure… for them maybe and their little circle of political cronies.

The rest of us recognize how Measures T and U open the door to long needed and easily affordable changes — accountability and open governance.

Finally, the Old Guard will no longer have the luxury of mudslinging their unqualified, handpicked candidates into office, conducting city business behind closed doors or funding their expensive pet projects with little concern that “we the people” might stand up for ourselves and just say no to them once and for all.

Vote YES on Measures T and U!