Letter to the Editor: Council owed an apology

| May 13, 2018 | 1 Comment

Editor,

A month ago, I went on Martinez Rants and Raves asking 1000 Friends of Martinez, Platt, Thomson, Kilmer, and Courtney Massella-O’Brien (an attorney, who from posts aligns with 1000 Friends) to tell me “What laws did the Council break?”.

At city council meetings, on fliers and all over social media, they say the Council “broke the law” in the handling the Initiative. I asked them to cite the penal code, government code or whatever code section was violated. I was curious, if this was true, then why were the City Council not arrested, cited or censored in some way?

Now, I received my Election-Voters Guide and in it, the 1000 Friends, Platt, Thomson and Kilmer are blatantly stating the Council broke “State law”, and they say the Council did everything they could to stop their Initiative. They state the only reason Measure I is on the ballot is because the court forced the City to put it on.

No one replied to my R&R post except citizens disappointed in no response from the group. I won’t buy that they didn’t see my post, they have no problem posting on the R&R site.

Because I got nothing from 1000 Friends, I did some checking on my own, mostly by reviewing past City Council meeting videos. Two challenges to the appropriateness, legality and form of the Initiative were served on the City. The City had a LEGAL OBLIGATION to review the challenges.

The City Attorney reviewed them and felt a need to have an Independent Legal Authority also review the challenges to the Initiative. Four law firms (the two firms for each of the challenges, the city attorney and independent counsel) all found the Initiative to have significant flaws in form and legality. In the words of the City Attorney, the Initiative was described as flawed.

The City attorney had a CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY to take the matter to Superior Court and let a Judge determine if the Initiative was legal and correct and if it should go on the ballot. Yes, the city had to sue Platt, Thomson, Kilmer and 1000 Friends to have the case heard in court.

The Mayor and City Council had absolutely nothing to do with the process other than unanimously approving the City Attorney’s recommendation on how to proceed. They would be highly derelict if they ignored the City Attorney; he is paid to insure the city’s actions are legal.

The court found that the format of the Initiative was not so bad as to keep it from going on the ballot. However, the court did not rule on the legality and constitutionality of the Initiative because the Court was sensitive to the time restraints of getting it on the ballot. (The Court actually said they would expect to see all parties in Court the day after the Election to argue the Constitutionality of the Initiative).

The court did not have to order the city to put it on the ballot; the city accepted the ruling of the court and then immediately put it on the City Council agenda. And obviously, here we are.

It is so easy to trash and attack our city leaders. But, I believe you cross the line when you state they are committing criminal acts. It is wrong to say they did everything they could to keep it off the ballot when what they were doing was complying with the Election Code.

To put in the Election Guide, that the Council acted illegally is disgraceful. 1000 Friends give no corroborating information, they just accuse them of illegal action and state they have “broke the law”. An outright LIE. The hubris and arrogance of this group is amazing. But what is very apparent is this group will say whatever meets their agenda and doesn’t have the class to admit when they were wrong.

A retraction and the very least an apology should be made to the Mayor and Councilmembers. But, I think this group has proven they don’t have the class to do it. Very, very disappointing and hard to find them credible.

– Scott Dinsdale

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Category: Opinion

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The council had two choices to inact the Iniative or put in the ballot. The study was to be use for that decision. Challenging the Iniative is done after the election as the city attorney would know. This is the breach of State Law. And the $750 an hour attorney study, $100,000 alloted, designed to stall the ballot measure, can now be characterize as spending City funds on a campaign which is illegal as it be displayed on the website funded by the city.

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