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Brown Act Violation

From: Edward Moritz <edwardmoritz_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 11:43:30 -0800

Edward P. Moritz
1185 Hillview Drive
Menlo Park , California 94025
Telephone: (650) 323-1481

December 9, 2010  

Members of the Menlo Park City Council
701 Laurel Street
Menlo Park, CA 94025  

Honorable Council Members:  

Council Member Fergusson has admitted she has violated the Brown Act. She illegally contacted other members of this Council. She has violated her oath to uphold the laws of California. The purpose of her contact with the other members of the City Council was to influence their vote in the election of Mayor at the December 7th meeting.  

Holding a Special Meeting to re-vote for Mayor is not enough. Re-Dos are for grade school. This is real life. There are consequences for adults. The Council cannot ignore the serious nature of this offense. Saying ³sorry² is neither sufficient nor acceptable.  

Every elected official knows the boundaries of the Brown Act. It was the first law I was schooled on when I joined the West Bay Sanitary District Board. Itıs a constant issue as we plan meetings. More important than the letter of the law is the ³spirit² of the law. It champions transparency. Itıs more than a phrase uttered by a politician. Itıs what the citizens want and expect.  

Certainly, the vote of December 7th needs to be voided. But that should not be the end.  

I hereby ask as a private citizen that the Menlo Park City Council take further action to pursue this violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act.  

I ask and expect the City Council direct the City Attorney complete a thorough investigation to determine if any other sitting, or ³about to be seated² council members participated in similar conduct to influence and collect votes prior to the public meeting of December 7, 2010.  

I also ask and expect that you will direct the City Attorney to publish the full results of his investigation in no less that one calendar week for the date of your direction. The City Attorney should give special attention as to whether any of these meetings were held with more than one other Council Member at a time and whether any other council member acted similarly to Ms. Fergusson to gather commitments for votes in advance of the meeting. Upon completion of the investigation and the publication of the results I will expect the City Council to respond the violations of the Brown Act by:
· Prohibit the offending parties from holding the office mayor or
vice-mayor for a minimum of two year.
· Prohibit the offending parties from voting for the office of mayor or
vice mayor for a minimum of two years.  

The public will decide if the offending parties should be re-called.  

Action is needed to quickly correct this apparent violation and establish full compliance with the Ralph M. Brown Act. The same evening of the apparent violation, the three new members of the City Council took an oath to uphold the constitution and laws of our state. I look forward to your action to comply with that oath.    

Edward P. Moritz      

cc: William McClure Received on Thu Dec 09 2010 - 11:44:28 PST

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