Arroyo Grande citizens have a right to know

October 12, 2014

AG signOPINION By OTIS PAGE

The citizens of Arroyo Grande’s rights to know, per the Brown Act, that they may be informed, is preempted, forestalled, obstructed and blocked by California Code 54957. It provides for the exclusion of the citizens from the examination of witnesses regarding the City Manager Steve Adams and Teresa McClish matter.

Further, that exclusion is magnified if it is a personnel matter that infers the right of privacy in a personnel matter.

This preemption is especially acute in disguising the detail on two major issues in the Adams/McClish incident that are, ironically, not specifically relevant to their conduct on July 3. Those issues are the denial of the “coverup” and the criticism of the police assessment of the incident. This is the true ballgame — not the actual issue of what Adams and McClish did on July 3.

California Code 54957 does not directly apply to either of these two issues, but their resolution may depend on the current interview process, conducted by retired police officer Charles Hookstra of the employed Sintra Group.

Council member Tim Brown is running for reelection. He blames the citizens that their actions “was mirroring what they are accusing the council of doing … that what I see is the public prejudging.”

Where Brown on Aug. 26 rightfully argued for a “process” and where he was joined by Councilman Joe Costello arguing for “transparency” (that later in a forum he contradicted himself admitting that he believed a reinvestigation would not reveal any new facts) the paralysis of the preemption of the citizens right to know became evident.

There has been no process or transparency to inform the citizens. The reinvestigation was sprung on the citizens at a meeting held at 9 a.m. on Oct. 8. The citizens came to give their testimony of a reinvestigation were shocked that the deal had been done. The meeting was a pro forma exercise done as a formality to inform the citizens that the council had acted — ignoring the benefit of the citizens testimony on that day.

Remember, throughout this matter from the disclosure of the “tryst” by CalCoastNews on Aug.19, the council meetings on the closed sessions have been under Code Section 54957. This means the final report by Hookstra will not be all encompassing — such as the disclosures by the police as to what they held to be “inappropriate” when they confronted Adams and McClish. It’s a personnel matter. The preemption of citizens’ rights to know is because it’s a personnel matter.

Further, since the council’s deliberations were in closed session, they also were on a personnel matter. Secrecy by law abounds.

It is reasonable to expect those matters regarding any council member’s conduct will also be omitted from the report. For all those closed meetings dealt with a personnel matter — not the substance of Adams’ accusations, or Ferrara’s urgency to cover up matters since he was running for mayor and the presidency of The League of Cities. And who approves the report before it is presented to the citizens? Why of course, the council.

California code 54957 was inappropriately applied. It was not a true personnel “performance evaluation.” Nor is it now. It is the cover up of a personnel matter which is being reinvestigated and will probably be sent to the tombs of covered cover ups. What is the truth here?

It is the matter of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers Association’s veracity who have vigorously and competently expressed their views. But it certainly appears, however, AGPOA’s goal, “that the selection process, all communications, and the investigation itself be made completely public” so that there is “transparency” will not be served.

That POA’s judgment that, “certain members of this council have chosen to prejudge the so-called evidence and have already pre-determined what the outcome should be” may be fulfilled.

Why? Because the seminal issue is not the conduct of Adams and McClish, the issue is Mayor Ferrara’s insistence there was not a cover up and Adams confused statements on the veracity of the police.

So, the inquisition by Hookstra of the police regarding their observations may be interesting, but the issue is why did Adams slap the police about it, and then why did Ferrara expend his considerable political capital and reputation to cover it up? These are the two net most significant issues and not the probable dalliances in City Hall after a celebratory evening of dinner, wine and tea.

Hookstra’s interviews may confirm same details. He is a serious and wizened professional who obviously knows the angles. But will he put the finger on these two major issues — the veritable big picture? For there is no sworn testimony.

The preemption on the citizen’s right to know is conflicted for all these reasons. And on top of this, Tony authorizes Sintra’s payments and Adams writes the checks. Yep, the fix could be in! If I am wrong — and I pray that I am — drinks on me at McClintocks.


Loading...
barneyfife

I am writing in HILL because King Tony’s shelf life has long expired and he is starting to stink REAL BAD…. but no way in HELL any sane indivigual would align themselves with this CRAZY A## LYNCH MOB.

It’s a small town and people talk.


My advise to the few “NORMAL” citizens reading this blog – stand across the street at the rally…far,far away and watch the FREAK show.

Hopefully the screaming senile lunatic and fat old ladies flailing their arms like wounded farm animals will make the SHOW worth your time.


HILL will me$$ up….they all do …it’s politics you idiots.


“First you get the POWER , then you get the MONEY” – Tupac


surferdude

Yes his shelf life has expired!

The rally is a way to get more support and attention on the MAYOR.


This is about the MAYOR

Old Joe can go also!


Vote Tim Brown the best choice for a chance at honest open government!


agag1

Keep in mind folks, this is ALL ABOUT the cover-up.

The Mayor and the council can try to run from their inappropriate actions, but they can’t hide forever.

Accept Steve’s “resignation”, clean up city hall, and move on!


Write-In Jim Hill for Mayor, bring much needed change to AG.


surferdude

This is about the MAYOR.

He is the biggest bully in town.


Just ask the folks that work in City Hall.


Stunned

Is anyone else besides Jim Hill challenging the mayor of A.G.?


agag1

No, Jim is our only opportunity for change.


surferdude

Others might have stepped up if Tony had left the post like he was supposed to. Word was that once Tony was Pres of the League, he no longer needed to be mayor and that would have opened up for a fair and better election.


He should have left the election to others and been satisfied with the League duties.

He is gonna be absent a lot as it is

Ha! And maybe permanently.


surferdude

Rally tomorrow Tuesday October 14, 2014

In front of City Hall

5:15 PM

Bring a friend!


Bring a home made sign or one will be provided for you.

Keep polite

Embrace change and support for the AGPD.


surferdude

Is it City Hall or Council Chambers? I think Council Chambers


agag1

City Council Chambers, but either will do!

See you then, bring a friend, the more the merrier!


Otis

There has been no “process or “transparency” to inform the citizens on the Adams/McClish matter as committed by Council members Tim Brown and Joe Costello in the Council meeting of August 26.


The reinvestigation, approved in the meeting of September 20, was affirmed to the citizens at a special meeting held at 9 a.m. on Oct. 8 where the specific investigator was announced.


The citizens gave their testimonies but were shocked that the investigator’s contract had been done, that in fact the interviews were planned the day before on October 7. The meeting on Oct. 8 was only a formality to inform the citizens that the council had acted — ignoring the benefit of the citizens testimony on that day.


Is it any wonder why I was angered? No excuses, I was wrong in being offended that the Council would pull such a stunt with one day’s notice — where I and many other citizens prepared comments — on short notice — to give sincere comments to the Council believing the Council would listen.


But no — the deal had been done — and my cry with others was — “why are we here”. To clear the record — I walked out angrily on my own volition but met Tony and the police officer on the way out.


Here as follows is my testimony on Oct 8, delivered by Comment and in writing. It has, like the comments by other citizens that day, been totally ignored by the Council:


“Given that the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association (AGPOA) has stated “certain members of this Council have chosen to prejudge the so-called evidence and have already pre-determined what the outcome should be, why should the citizens agree with the Council’s selection of an independent interviewer? Besides this question there is the obvious matter of Council conflict in its choice of an interviewer.


The Council has selected an investigator who must investigate the Council on the issue of the cover up. That reason alone constitutes an incestuous conflict by the fact the Council is controlling the investigation of itself. Added to this conflict is who receives the investigators report? It is the Council that by a majority vote can reject the findings of the report.


So the Council is framing the process by which it investigates itself and then is the judge of the results of the investigation. This process is absurd and violates common sense and feeds the fires of discontent by the citizens that prays the Council do something sensible to set this matter straight.


In the attempt to restore citizen confidence to the Council, this letter again strongly recommends that the Council request that the office of the District Attorney — or an independent attorney separate from the influence of the Council — select the investigating attorney (the investigator). That a legal process of sworn depositions of all concerned by administered if the reliable truth is to be ascertained. For a Grand Jury complaint has been filed!


The Council has used a tactic utilizing awkward timing to obfuscate and complicate the attendance at the closed hearings. Today’s 9:00am meeting to select an investigator is particularly offensive and furthers the consternation of the citizens that something beyond the cover up is happening to control this matter out of sight of the citizens.


kayaknut

Greeted by a “Caren Ray” flyer recently. It highlights 4 items she apparently is very proud of. 1 – Serving of the A.G. city council before “becoming”(not elected) our supervisor, 2 – Balancing the county budget and creating a reserve with raising taxes, 3 – Bringing national retailers to A.G. and growing local economy, plus bringing us out of the recession, and 4 – helped create the FCFA, which we are told improves protection and saves us $150,00 a year.


It also announces a chance to meet the candidate tonight, Oct 13th 6 to 7p at a privately hosted event, 554 Sombrillo in Arroyo Grande, the home of Ken and Cheryl Price, RSVP 458-9338 or bnshoracek@gmail.com.


I can not attend because I have to work, but could someone attend and ask her a few questions? 1 – Does she have any opinion at being appointed by the governor even though her positions are opposite of the person she replaced whom was elected? 2 – How could she balance the budget without addressing the ever growing pension liability looming over taxpayers and even if taxes were not raised does she think it is okay to raise so many other items we pay for, water, sewer, trash, and such? 3 – I thought national retailers, i.e. Walmart were the death of local businesses, is this not the case. and 4 – If creating the FCFA is saving us money why did they have to ask for a property tax assessment and threaten us with reduction in services is it didn’t pass?, and did she publicly support the assessment and what was her personal, “publicly available” vote on the assessment?


I look forward to her answers……


kayaknut

Sorry item 2 should have been “without” raising taxes


kayaknut

Received recently a letter in my mailbox which appears to be from the City of Arroyo Grande, of course with prepaid first class postage, perhaps taxpayer paid. At the bottom of the letter it says “This flyer is presented for informational purposes and does not “adocate” (a word for which I can find no definition” a vote for or against the measure”. The way the flyer is written by only highlighting their idea of positives for being a charter city. The so called questions they ask then answer would only be ones that too put only a positive spin on being a charter city.


So I ask, who actually paid for this? It implies the city of Arroyo Grande did, if so it would seem taxpayer money was involved. Who in the city authorized this letter, or at least approved using city letters and letterhead? Who paid for the postage? More of Mayor Ferrara’s handy work, Mr. Adams? If this is a city product, who was in charge of proofreading, “adocate”?????


agag1

Sounds a lot like a push poll, they must have learned about this from Tony’s buddy Mr Tompkins. My neighbor got one of them a few years ago about the food for less. There was no way to give an opinion against it, they didn’t want to hear that—only that you were in favor of it.

This sounds like the same sort of thing…wonder how many will fall hook, line, and sinker for it?


BuelahBB

If Steve does not have anything to hide, why doesnt he insist his review be in public!?

Because he is the only one that can demand it.


kayaknut

Something else that occurred to me, at one the recent city council meetings I attended there was a discussion about spending city money to purchase and install a statue or such at the new Courtland Housing Project, It is clear now that I understand this project is one of Mayor Farrara’s buddy’s Nick Tompkins developments.


Why not spend city money to do this on public property instead of private property, such as a park. Isn’t there one just down the street from the Courtland project?


Time for you to go Mr. Mayor.


agag1

Some public art project, presented at the meeting by Mrs McClish. Was that her last public appearance?

NKT, AGAIN?? Nice to know that if/when Tony goes, Nick’s glory days in AG will more than likely be over as well. Maybe some other developers will actually return to AG to do business!

Makes me wonder how hard Nick is campaigning to keep Tony in office…can you imagine what a blow it would be to him if his main man Tony goes down?

Heaven only knows what other sweet deals they have lined up for the next two years.

Mary Verdin may not get a second year contract for her Facebook water saving project…how ever will we manage???


kayaknut

Does everyone know that mural on the former JJ’s market building that the council and mayor speak so highly of, guess what?? the building is owned by Tompkins, more city money being channeled to Mayor Ferarra’s buddy. I guess there are no city owned buildings or other places that money could have been better spent on.


agag1

Silly nut, it’s always ALL about the village, Arroyo Grande’s “crown jewel”.

How convenient that NKT owns such a large chunk of it…lucky (?) Mr Tompkins.