Now Colantuono & Levin's Kensignton legal circus of the absurd moves on to the City Council where we will most certainly be treated to more of the same abuse. Endless hours of debate over the most bizarre and unimportant issues is to be anticipated, with Mayor Josh at one point certain to raise his hands in the air and, with a chortle of mock despair, decry the extraordinary complexity of it all. This is, of course, all a carefully considered ploy. Moran and his handlers do not want to see this issue go to the ballot in the form of a true Measure V vote. And what should have been a simple process of putting the Kensington question on the ballot, 2-30-13 warts and all, will be treated as if it is a matter vastly beyond the comprehension of all but a select few accomplished legal minds. You, the hopelessly confused resident, need to be spared so difficult a matter. Just let the Mayor take care of it all for you, he knows what's right. Put aside your worries and go shopping instead.
Of course, this is not an easy task for our somewhat simple loan peddler of a Mayor to accomplish. There are issues here that could cause the City some future legal difficulties should things not be handled with care. If it were to be later shown in a Court of Law that the City of Sierra Madre and a majority of its elected officials willfully attempted to subvert the effects of a voter approved ordinance like Measure V, there would be problems.
The Constitution of the State of California frowns upon government entities that attempt to subvert democratic processes and protections, particularly in matters where it can be shown that personal profit motives were involved. The punishment for attempts to deny the people their legitimate and legally constituted rights can be considerable. This isn't North Korea, after all.
Which is why Josh and the downtown investors who run him need Colantuono & Levin now more than ever. As outrageously costly as this law firm is, they do "will of the people" suppression just about as well as any law firm in the country. If you need an example of how they work, go back and review the shady ways they beat down an attempt by the people of Sierra Madre to get some relief from the stiff and extremely unpopular water rate increases being shoved through back then. A truly disgraceful episode in this City's history.
You can usually figure out the standing of an item on a City Council Meeting Agenda by its placement. And dead last on this week's list is the "Consideration to Solicit Proposals for City Attorney Services." Which is basically a request that the City of Sierra Madre go out into the marketplace and see if we can't a better a deal better deal on a lawyer. The economy being what it is, it should be a buyer's market out there.
This item, requested by Councilman Koerber in hopes of getting the taxpayers of Sierra Madre a review of what exactly it is we pay Colantuono & Levin to work against our interests, along with the money saving benefits of dumping them, is a very timely one. At a time when the City is cutting back programs and eliminating positions in order to deal with steadily worsening budgetary woes, it hardly makes sense for us to be paying more than we ought to for legal services. Yet somehow we continue to do business with one of the most expensive law firms of its kind.
The Agenda Report for this matter is a fairly ridiculous document. Written by Elaine Aguilar, it is an attempt to avoid discussing the money saving aspects of this proposal altogether. Rather than even touching on the question of how much could be saved by switching our business to a less costly law firm, she instead put together a press release lauding the many accomplishments of Michael Colantuono. Compete with a list of questionable accomplishments, awards and, I kid you not, a laudatory newspaper clipping. It reads like the kinds of press packets I put together at work designed to convince rock critics to write about the company's latest teen pop stars.
The last thing Josh Moran and his handlers want right now is for Colantuono & Levin to go away. Which is why this item was pushed to the very bottom of the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting. Judging by what comes before it, chances are that we won't see this item discussed Tuesday evening, or perhaps ever.
When it comes to this Mayor, saving the taxpayers of Sierra Madre a few hundred grand in legal costs is not very high on the priority list. Josh has other fish to fry, like stopping a Measure V vote on the Kensington. And in order to accomplish that he needs Michael Colantuono.