CATER’s in Court Today at 9, Which Reminds Me to Post This ‘Why Not A Vote?’ Letter

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Don't Let Them Vote

THE GOOD NEWS: Anaheim’s City Council Majority is clearly acting on deeply felt principle!  THE BAD NEWS: the principle is that Anaheim citizens should not be allowed to vote on the City’s major investments if there’s any possible way to avoid it.

CATER is in court today (in this case meaning me, with Cynthia on hand to assist me and Cory Briggs on the phone representing the Inland Oversight Committee, his firm’s own plaintiff in the case), facing an ex parte hearing on the bonds case we filed against the City of Anaheim.  That is the first bonds case, as we’re preparing to file another one against this new attempt — because while some of the deficiencies in the City’s first attempt to were addressed, others were not.

The Briggs Law Firm detailed the legal reasons for our intention to file a reverse validation case on this second set of bonds — which most of you will find boring.  Both in the letter below, and in Cynthia Ward’s speaking on behalf of CATER in front of an enormously hostile drummed-up crowd, we associated CATER with IOC’s arguments — but I wanted to reach out to the Council as well on a level that they would be more likely to understand.  I wanted to share this with the public; now’s a good time.

July 22, 2014

Mayor and City Council
City of Anaheim
200 S. Anaheim Blvd., 2nd Floor
Anaheim, CA 92805

Statement of Opposition to Item 27 on July 22, 2014 Agenda

Dear Mayor and City Council:

I write on behalf of the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, or CATER, of which I am General Counsel.  CATER is in receipt of a letter sent to you today by Mekaela Gladden of the Briggs Law Corporation, on behalf of the Inland Oversight Committee (“IOC”).  That letter is attached below.  CATER formally associates itself with IOC’s legal argument and admonitions to the City Council.  That done, CATER reserves its right to take appropriate legal action regarding this new bond indenture.

CATER writes to you separately, and in a less formal tone than did Cory Briggs’s office, to ask a clear and simple question:  why, rather than court further delay, lawsuits, and payment of legal costs and fees for both CATER and IOC, do you not simply put this proposed bond indenture to a public vote?

This proposed bond indenture is, in every substantive way, an act by the City of Anaheim, to take on speculative debt for the City of Anaheim, the costs of default upon which would have a massive effect on the City of Anaheim.  (If Anaheim argues that it cannot be held financially responsible for a possible default by the new Joint Powers Authority, then it is presumably paying an interest premium for that increased investor risk.)  We contend that, under those circumstances, Anaheim’s City Charter and the state Constitution require a vote of the public.  While you disagree on that point, surely we can agree that reigning law permits such a vote.  You had agendized financing Convention Center Expansion for your February 4 meeting, in time to place it on the June primary ballot, so you could have done so.

You apparently plan to blow past the deadline to place municipal measures on the November ballot (which you could do with permission from plaintiffs in another suit that you lost).  Now, at an expense that should not have been necessary had you acted properly, you could still call a special election.

Judging from your July 15 meeting, at which you created the new Joint Powers Agreement, you seem committed to establishing a precedent that Anaheim’s citizens have and deserve no right or ability to closely examine and pass judgment on plans to finance future major public expenditures.  This proposal, and your plan to combine the City Treasurer and Finance Director positions under the City Manager’s direct control, suggest that you are devoutly (and unnecessarily) committed to the principle that once Staff develops a plan for major investment, no one, and surely not the public, should be able to stand in its way.  Putting aside the legalities for now, we ask, simply as a matter of prudent public policy: WHY?

Greg Diamond, on behalf of CATER
Attached: Letter from IOC

CLICK HERE to read that letter from the IOC to the City Council.

About Greg Diamond

Prolix worker's rights and government accountability attorney. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Runs for office sometimes, so far to offer a challenge to someone nasty who would otherwise have run unopposed. Someday he might pick a fight intending to win it rather than just to dent someone. You'll know it when you see it. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. A family member works part-time as a campaign treasurer. He doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he hated. He does advise some local campaigns informally and generally without compensation. If that changes, he will declare the interest. He also runs a less frequently published blog called "The Brean," for his chosen hometown, where he is now fighting with its wealthiest and most avaricious citizen-donors. This just seems to be his way.