BWAAHAHAHA! Duane Roberts Has Big Surprise Coming for Anaheim Today!

In response to an Aug. 10 Facebook post by our Vern Nelson evaluating the membership of Mayor Ashleigh Aitken’s “advisory committee” on what to do after the JL Report, Anaheim Investigator owner, publisher-editor-writer-promoter-readership Duane Roberts promised Vern that he will be bringing something hugely major to today’s City Council meeting — and that he will have the last laugh! And that laugh will last for weeks!

(Note: strictly speaking, if Roberts’s laugh lasts for weeks, only the last moment will be the last laugh.)

Yes, the fake Ashleigh in the main panel does appear to have three arms. Are you prejudiced against that? Just learn to trust AI — OK, human?

The exchange on Monday occurred after Roberts castigated Cynthia Ward for serving on the committee, giving it a veneer of credibility, in response to which he “lost all respect for her.” (Cynthia gave a long, strong, and heartfelt reply to Roberts’s charge, which I will not republish here without her consent (and then only in a separate post that does not reek with whatever one calls all this.) Where either Duane or Vern addresses the other, I’m eliminating all but the first name of the person not writing, the better to distinguish them.)

Vern Patrick Nelson: Duane 1) defines the outer boundary of cynicism, and 2) constitutionally believes that all Democrats are the Antichrist.

Roberts left another comment in the same exchange which might shed light upon what he plans to unleash tomorrow.

The Anaheim Investigator has reviewed more than 200 photographs that were taken of a June 6th luncheon at Angel Stadium which not only show Mayor Ashleigh Aitken sharing a table with Laura Cunningham, president and CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, but Molly Jolly, a senior VP for Angels Baseball.

Furthermore, Mayor Aitken wasn’t alone. Photos also show that five other members of the Anaheim City Council were in attendance, raising questions about what actions they took to avoid violating the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state law which regulates the conduct of elected officials at meetings, both public and private.

I don’t want to make light of this because, I don’t know, maybe there was some wrongdoing going on. And maybe what he has to do will bring the walls of divine justice crashing down on the heads of the Council members and others. (Just in case, I’m not going to attend tonight’s Anaheim council meeting, as I had originally intended to do, so that at least one of us will still be available to interview any survivors. And when I talk about walls crashing down onto heads, I should emphasize that I am fancifully making that up, because I don’t know what else to do when someone says earnestly: “I will have the last laugh.”)

A review of the story linked above leads me to suspect that the only funny thing is not actually funny at all, but sad: Roberts does not seem to understand the relevant portions of the Brown Act. From his article, presented at greater that usual length here for purposes of criticism — but please do click on Roberts’s link itself, because he probably needs the cheering-up.

  1. Yes, apparently most of the city council did attend a 6/6 luncheon reception at Angels Stadium by an organization I don’t like (Anaheim Chamber of Commerce) and attended by a lot of people I’m not fond of, among others about whom I am neutral to lukewarm — though for a cause that strikes me as laudable (an event letting Little Leaguers meet professional ballplayers), thought unfortunately sponsored by the ethically compromised Visit Anaheim. Doing such things when in leadership is sometimes what one is expected to do; it may lead to corruption but is not itself corrupt.
  2. Yes, Aitken was at a large table with Councilmembers Natalie Rubalcava and Jose Diaz and City Manager James Vanderpool, as well as others tragically including Matt and Laura Cunningham.
  3. Yes, Aitken and others did refuse to answer Roberts’s questions about who paid for their tickets, and how they intended to avoid Brown Act violations, deferring them to City spokesmodel Mike Lyster — which is what under city policy she is supposed to do. (I too wish it weren’t so, but it is.)
  4. Yes, Lyster did email Roberts to say that the Brown Act “allows a majority of or all Council members to attend public events without discussing city business among themselves. Our Council members are made aware of and follow this practice.”
  5. Yes, Roberts is correct that “Lyster is technically correct,” and also that it seems weird to call a luncheon with a $200 per person tickets in “limited” supply “a public event.” And yet, from what I know of the Brown Act, being “technically correct” here is enough. (Roberts offers no evidence to the contrary.)
  6. Yes, Roberts is correct that “the Brown Act makes it illegal for public meetings to be held in facilities which require payment to enter, but that provision doesn’t seem to apply here,” probably because it was not a “meeting” as such. (That seems to defuse the “bombshell,” if this was it.)
  7. Yes, Roberts is correct that the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce gave tickets to Aitken, Steve Faessel, and Norma Campos Kurtz for free, given their ceremonial responsibilities at the event, and that Meeks, Diaz, and Rubalcava will have to report the value of a ticket on next year’s Form 700. And he is right that this is an acceptable and proper procedure.
  8. Yes, Roberts is absolutely right that he does not “possess the legal expertise to determine if the mayor and city council violated the Brown Act.”
  9. Yes, even if all this was legal, “none of this changes the fact they were having private conversations with representatives from the Anaheim Chamber, Angels Baseball, and other business interests out of public view.” (That is something one can criticize — in fact, one can criticize it even if it happens within public view — but in that case the criticism is over politicians’ clubbiness with moneyed interest groups and not over their failure to adhere to Brown Act requirements.)
  10. No, he is probably wrong that “Interestingly enough, there also seems have been a conscious decision by elected officials to keep this luncheon a secret. With the exception of a notation Aitken posted on her June calendar, nobody has talked about it.” First of all, it’s not that interesting; second of all, rubbing shoulders at a charity event like this is simply neither unusual nor remarkable. Most likely, nobody mentioned it not out of a conspiracy, but because it was no big whoop.

I won’t comment on the last line of his story: “If it wasn’t for The Investigator’s dogged determination to expose what politicians do behind closed doors, the public would have never known it occurred.” Roberts and I have had our differences, but none were horrible enough for me to give my honest opinion of that.

We’ll see if whatever gives him the last laugh is about this — or something even bigger! BWAAAHAHA!!

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)