Sandi Levin, after pleading stress and a desire to do something more rewarding with her life, resigned her City Attorney position here in Sierra Madre a few years back. Soon thereafter, however, Sandi reappeared in exactly that same role in Los Alamitos. Something that baffled me at the time.
The very aware and politically astute folks in Los Al Googled about Sandi, and quickly came across our reporting here on The Tattler. Soon new friendships were forged. I was available to share my opinions with them about the true allegiances of the Colantuono & Levin law firm, and how the needs of the taxpayers are rarely a priority with this rather pricey outfit.
Now it is a few fleeting years down the road and, as Let's Fix Los Al! ably put it, after "four ugly years of litigation, recrimination, and a flood of accusations of Brown Act violations," Sandi Levin has decided it just might be the time to move on.
Here is their report:
Levin Resigns As City Attorney! - The Los Alamitos City Attorney who advised the City Council they were following the law “to a T” dropped a bombshell at last night’s City Council meeting.
Early in the meeting, just before Public Comments, she announced she would be gone no later than January 31 of the new year.
It was both a smart and gracious move on her part, a move which should help our new Council turn the page on four ugly years of litigation, recrimination, and a flood of accusations of Brown Act Violations.
Hopefully our new Council can find someone so outstanding that they can all agree on our new City Attorney, as was the case with our current City Manager.
I found Levin to be professional, gracious, and thoughtful one on one, but I was repeatedly confounded by the legal advice she provided our Council:
Orange County Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks certainly didn’t agree with Ms. Levin’s analysis of the trash contract, ruling that Council Members Troy Edgar, Ken Stephens, and Marilyn Poe had “voted to break the law” in awarding the bid to the second highest bidder. Sadly, Levin and her firm apparently made hundreds of thousands of dollars because of that bad advice.
Levin also gave less than accurate advice regarding alleged Brown Act violations by Council Member Kusumoto while apparently giving the Council advice that led to additional Brown Act violations.
In addition, at last month’s Candidate Forum all four City Council Candidates questioned the expansive nature of the “telephone users tax reduction and modernization” Levin authored.
After the forum Dean Grose told me that he thought it was time for Levin to move on.
The case involving a bad garbage removal contract seems to have been the main catalyst for the widespread dissatisfaction with Sandi's tenure in Los Alamitos. You can click here and read about how Sandi's carefully considered legal advice in that rather trashy affair went down in flames when it all went to Court.
There was also a huge controversy in Los Alamitos over Brown Act violations, and Sandi Levin's apparently erroneous advice figured prominently in that debate as well. You can click here and here to read about what went down there as well.
OK. So far be it from me to harsh on anyone's mellow the day before Thanksgiving, but here it is anyway. A big part of the reason why Sandi Levin is packing up her carpet bag in Los Al is that the voters there threw out the faithless City Council members who hired and supported her during her brief years of dicey legal reign. Now, in addition to getting a City Council that actually serves the needs of the people, the good citizens of Los Al are also going to get an entirely new law firm to represent them as well.
So how does all of that compare with the way things have gone in our so-called political hotbed of Sierra Madre? Colantuono & Levin has been providing our City Attorneys for over a decade, and the same narrow political oligarchy of disgruntled downtown property investors, crooked old pols, party hacks, half mad Realtors, along with the assorted jerked around cosmic debris types that support this faithless bunch, have been in political control here practically the entire time.
And despite the current RFP process for legal services, you do realize that our owned Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem will not support this change no matter how much money it saves us, right? Why would they? The needs of the taxpayers is not what plucks their darkened heartstrings.
The comparison is kind of embarrassing. If the good citizens of Los Alamitos can retake control of their City, and in a comparatively short period of time, we should be able to do that here as well.