Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Attorney General OKs Suit To Remove Fitzpatrick

In a press release today Costa Mesa Sanitary District Counsel Alan Burns announced that California Attorney General Kamala Harris has determined that the District may proceed with legal proceedings to remove Director James Fitzpatrick from the Board. (Photo courtesy of Daily Pilot)

The press release reads as follows:

The Attorney General has issued her opinion on the matter of the incompatibility determination regarding Jim Fitzpatrick serving on both the Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD) Board and on the City of Costa Mesa Planning Commission (PC). The Attorney General has ruled favorably on CMSD’s application and has opined that there are substantial questions of fact and law regarding whether such incompatibility exists and that the two offices are incompatible. The Attorney General opined that the public interest would be served if leave to sue was granted and therefore authorized the District to bring an action to remove Fitzpatrick as a Director.

In the opinion, the Attorney General stated that the public interest would be served by such litigation. The Opinion also makes it clear that an office holder cannot pick and choose which incompatible position is kept but that by “leapfrogging” positions, the first incompatible office held is forfeited when the second one is accepted. This Opinion also makes it clear that a quo warranto action may be brought by a district to remove a member holding an incompatible office.

The Opinion has been published by the Attorney General and adds to the body of law on this subject. The Opinion is available to the public. The Board of Directors has scheduled a special meeting in closed session to discuss the Attorney General’s opinion regarding this matter. The special meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. located at District Headquarters, 628 W. 19th Street, Costa Mesa. The special meeting agenda can be downloaded on the District’s website at:

You will recall that Fitzpatrick held both his elected position as a Director on the Sanitary District Board and an appointed position as a Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner despite having been advised in, as I understand it, two separate legal opinions that holding both positions was incompatible.  He subsequently resigned from the Planning Commission.  Many questions swirl around this decision.  For example, if the lawsuit continues and it is found that Fitzpatrick did, indeed, illegally hold both positions, will he be ordered to reimburse all fees he received from either or both positions that he held simultaneously?  Will he be required to reimburse the Sanitary District for its legal fees in this case?  Are there criminal charges associated with this case?

As indicated in the press release, the Sanitary District Board will hold a special meeting tomorrow, Thursday, December 20, 2012 to discuss this opinion by the Attorney General.

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Anonymous Get it right! said...

I suggest that you read the actual opinion - it says that a judge must decide and makes NO conclusions of legality. It also says that Fitzpatrick's claim that Health & Safety Code 6480(b) applies to council delegates is persuasive - but the AG cannot make that call, only the legislature or a judge.

Read it before you post nonsense.

12/19/2012 04:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Finally!!! Can't wait to see how they spin this and who they are going to blame and vilify and how much whining and flapping of their gums will go on. That Kamala Harris is a left wing, union loving, democrat, you know! Or will they just leave Fitzy to hang with his cheeks flapping in the wind?

12/19/2012 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Lincoln Law said...

Well said Geoff.

12/19/2012 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Good!! Its about time.

12/19/2012 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

I guess I am supposed to say that I'm happy he's in trouble. But honestly, for our vastly different ideas and perspectives on government and Costa Mesa, I feel bad for Jim. The AG's involvement is just going to bring more scrutiny on him, his family, and our town, and it will be the kind of scrutiny that none of us in Costa Mesa want or need.

12/19/2012 06:46:00 PM  
Anonymous West Side Voter said...

In regard to the issue of Health and Safety Code 6480(b)The opinion (found here "But, no matter how persuasive this reasoning may be, we believe that it is for the
Legislature, not for us, to determine when it is necessary or appropriate to permit a single person to hold two or more incompatible offices,and that we are not at liberty to extend such permission when the statute itself does not.In any case, we recognize that the issue presents a legal question substantial enough to call for judicial resolution."

12/19/2012 07:22:00 PM  
Anonymous No Bridge and Happy said...

Raising your right hand and swearing an oath of office has consequences. It means something. If you do it just wrong, you can give up office twice, as it appears that Mr. Fitzpatrick did.

12/19/2012 07:38:00 PM  
Anonymous See ya said...

Costa Mesa is done with you Fitzpatrick. The voters have spoken and soon a judge will too.

Best of luck CMSD. Let's get rid of this bum once and for all!

12/19/2012 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous seriously? said...

Yep, Jim Fitzpatrick is persuasive all right. He is also really good at patting himself on the back. Isn't that right "Get it right"? Sheesh, like we can't figure out that Fitzy wrote that.

Here's an idea...why don't you and Riggy take your pursuasive dog and pony show and hit the road? Any road, just please go.

12/19/2012 08:05:00 PM  
Anonymous soul sister said...

They are singing your song:

By: Fitz and the Tantrums
Don't come back anytime I've already had your kind
This is your pay back, money grabber

Don't come back anytime, you've already run me dry
This is your pay back, money grabber

Teardrops fade
Then I saw, blue hands in the pocket
'Cause you were always made to want it all
But now you got to make it on your own
This ain't your home
So I'm showing you the door
Wave goodbye now, it's time for you to go

Don't comeback anytime, I've already had your kind
This is you pay back, money grabber

Don't come back anytime, you've already robbed me blind
This is your pay back, money grabber

Blue rhinestone glass
All I see
You talking double
Like the time you set fire to me
'Cause I'm in trouble
Here's my advice
I don't think twice for the price of a cheap time whore

Don't comeback anytime, I've already had your kind
This is you pay back, money grabber

Don't come back anytime, you've already robbed me blind
this is your pay back, money grabber

One. Two. Leave
One is for the money
Two is for the greed
And three times that I told you you're the one
I just don't need

Don't comeback anytime, I've already had your kind
This is you pay back, money grabber

Don't come back anytime, you've already robbed me blind
This is your pay back, money grabber

Money grabber
Money grabber
Don't come back anytime, I've already had your kind

12/20/2012 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous payback said...

the voters have spoken, fitz defeated arlene. now let's appoint charlene! true democracy!

12/20/2012 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Dear readers of this thread...
Some of you will have already notice that some previously posted comments are gone. I went back, re-read all the comments here and decided to cull out the ones that crossed the line with spiteful, irrelevant comments about Fitzy, his family, canine excrement, etc. Yeah, I know he's a good target, but...

My goal here is to have intelligent, thoughtful comments that enhance the debate of the issue(s) at hand. I've been way, way to lenient in the past - that stops today.

In the spirit of Jim Righeimer's "kinder, gentler" self... No more juvenile cat fights. No more gratuitous nastiness. Most of you are much smarter than that, so give us all your best arguments on the ISSUES.

If you're worried about this you can always write to me privately or send me a comment that you know won't get published - I read them all.

12/20/2012 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Yeah, I know, you're probably right. But just when you say that, Fitzy pulls the dumbest thing ever, and its really, really hard not to just..well, you know.

12/22/2012 03:11:00 PM  

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