More Controversy About Smart Growth Initiative Rebuttal
YET ANOTHER WEIRD TWIST
And yet another curious situation has arisen in the case of Eleanor Egan's lawsuit against Costa Mesa City Clerk Brenda Green and Orange County Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelley, to have segments of the rebuttal to Arguments For the Smart Growth Initiative removed because the document "is not really a rebuttal, since it does not address anything in the Argument For the initiative measure." She goes on to say, "most of the statements contained in the Rebuttal are demonstrably false, and the rest are not capable of being proven either true or false but are misleading and inconsistent with the requirement of the Elections Code."
The signatories on this so-called "Rebuttal" are Julie Fowler, Chuck Perry, Lee Ramos, Christopher Bunyan and Jim Righeimer.
I wrote about this issue earlier, HERE, and Luke Money wrote about it in the Daily Pilot, HERE.
WE'RE PAYING RIGHEIMER'S LEGAL FEES?!
Now comes the new twist. Informed sources tell me that the City of Costa Mesa will be covering all legal costs incurred by Jim Righeimer in this matter! And, further, the attorney that will represent him is Patrick Munoz, the high-priced lawyer from Rutan and Tucker - the firm that was retained to cobble together an initiative to compete with the Costa Mesa First's Smart Growth Initiative. That certainly has the aroma of conflict of interest.
GREEN, YES... RIGHEIMER, NO!
Now, I can see where the City will represent City Clerk Brenda Green - she is simply doing her job, and Egan's beef isn't with her, nor Neal Kelley. Her complaint is that the rebuttal is false and misleading, as stated above, and she doesn't want it to appear on the ballot. I have no problem with Green receiving city-paid-for legal help.
NOT APPROPRIATE, AND MAYBE ILLEGAL!
I DO, however, have a problem with my tax dollars being spent to cover whatever legal costs Righeimer incurs in this venture. He signed the rebuttal as a private citizen, not as the Mayor Pro Tem of the City. This issue was NOT addressed by the City Council, nor were they asked to waive conflict of interest - a very likely situation. Instead, someone high up in City government simply decided to make a gift of taxpayer dollars to Righeimer to cover his legal costs in this misguided, malicous and falacious effort.
WHO AND WHY?!
So, I want to know who made that decision and why? What authority has been given to whom to make such a decision without council approval or even consideration? Who decided that it's OK to spend our money to facilitate misleading the voters by placing lies on a ballot measure? Was it CEO Tom Hatch? Was it contract City Attorney Tom Duarte? Just who made that decision? And, if it's OK to cover Righeimer's legal costs, what about the other four signatories? If they incur costs will we be paying those, too? Quite frankly, this stinks!
Labels: Brenda Green, Chris Bunyan, Chuck Perry, Costa Mesa First, Eleanor Egan, Jim Righeimer, Julie Fowler, Lee Ramos, Luke Money, Neal Kelley, Patrick Munoz, Smart Growth Initiative, Tom Duarte, Tom Hatch