Ultimately a Court of Law will judge whether those Council Members' insistence that the City of Sierra Madre complied with Proposition 218 qualifies as a "foolish consistency." It is important to note, however, that at least one trial court in Northern California has already embraced arguments which are similar - if not identical - to the ones posted yesterday on The Tattler.
The case in question is Foster Poultry Farms vs. City of Livingston.
This case arose out of the City of Livingston's rather clumsy and extraordinarily unpopular efforts to increase its water rates. The trial court found - among other things - that the City had violated Proposition 218 because the City failed to provide written notices to parcel owners for all the Council meetings where the rate increase was discussed. And in particular failed to provide written notice of the Council meeting where the City adopted a revised water rate increase. The Court struck down the City's resolution adopting the revised water rate increase, finding that it was "unconstitutional, unlawful and void."
The City chose to appeal the trial court's findings in hopes of striking down the resolution. While the case was on appeal, the League of California Cities filed a "Friend of the Court Brief" authored by an attorney at Colantuono & Levin (i.e. the law firm where our very own City Attorney is a partner) arguing that the appellate panel should overturn the Court's ruling.
Fortunately for the many aggrieved water ratepayers in Livingston, their Mayor and a Council member, both of whom had voted for the rate increase, were recalled before the Court of Appeals could issue its ruling. Immediately after the recall a new Council was sworn in. They wasted absolutely no time in rolling back the water rate increase and dismissing the City's Levin fueled appeal.
While trial court opinions cannot be cited as binding precedent in California, the Judge's ruling in the Livingston case is well-reasoned and extremely persuasive.
Hopefully the fate of the recalled Mayor and that Council Member can serve as an object lesson that I hope will be embraced by the "little minds" of our own "little statesmen" in Sierra Madre.
Patchy Wears A Pompadour
An article appearing on our local franchise of the vast Aol/Patch empire of cratered on-line advertising platforms notes that the number of EVG Scandal victims here now numbers almost 450 people. Or approximately 4.3% of the population of Sierra Madre.
The editor of this news site then goes on to make these oddly connected observations:
Earlier, Sierra Madre Mayor Joe Mosca took time out of Tuesday's meeting of the City Council to praise the work done by Chief Diaz and the Sierra Madre Police Department as they continue to investigate the credit and debit card fraud stemming from EVG Quality Gas on Baldwin Avenue.
Mosca took issue with a recent editorial in the Pasadena Star News, in which editor and columnist Frank Girardot called the department "scared, ineffective and comical."
"Regardless of an article that appeared in the paper about our police department, I wanted to just say how pleased I am with the leadership of our police department," Mosca said.
Joe must have forgotten the part about Barney Fife.
So let me get this straight. The article talks about a significant portion of Sierra Madre's population getting ripped off in an elaborate credit card fraud operation, something that ran right under the noses of the SMPD for nearly a year. A criminal enterprise worked by people who now appear to have gotten away scot free, and apparently with a briefcase stuffed with the digital identities of much of this City.
And this is the kind of performance that Mayor Mosca praises as the source of much personal pride for him? So what happens when the number of victims hits - say - 750? The entire department gets a medal? A parade?
Failure does have its empathy for failure, I suppose.
Robert Rizzo, Parking Lot Attendant
You might remember him as the $800,000 a year City Manager of Bell. But would you have ever thought his next gig would be watching the customers from the parking lot of the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum?
This from Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times:
A tipster dropped me a line the other day to say she'd spotted an infamous former public official in Huntington Beach, working as a parking lot guard at the International Surfing Museum. So I drove down Wednesday to have a look, and guess what: Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall.
Apparently Ratso Rizzo began working at the lot a week or so back as part of a Court ordered community service obligation stemming from a drunk driving rap.
The good times just keep on a-coming.