What the hell is the Laguna Hills Council THINKING?

Laguna Hills City Attorney Will Earn Tens of Thousands from City Coffers By Pushing City to Litigate against CVRA

The degree of fiscal ineptitude displayed by our city council as they let a carpetbagging city attorney strongarm and bend them to his will is beyond belief. Apparently, our beloved city is now being run, or shall we say “fleeced,” by our City Attorney, Greg Simonian.  The City Attorney is the only person that truly profits from our City being thrown into a litigation with ZERO chance of success – the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) litigation. The Mr. Simonian gets paid by the hour, so when our city is thrown into litigation, guess who benefits? By the way, his law firm also rakes in an abundance of other court costs and fees too. In other words, the more litigation (regardless of whether the City wins or loses), the more of our City money goes to pad Simonian’s pockets. Hmmm – no conflict there!

As many of you have probably heard, the City of Laguna Hills received a demand letter from an attorney representing some local Laguna Hills residents, indicating that our City is violating the CVRA and needs to transition to district elections, so that the underrepresented areas of our city have a voice on city council.

Here’s the rub, whether you agree with transitioning our city to district voting or not is completely irrelevant! The real question is, how much money do we want to give to our City Attorney to litigate a losing battle? In the history of CVRA lawsuits, NO CITY HAS EVER WON! (See some results below.)

What does that mean for us? It means that our Mr. Simonian will rake in the cash, while we end up coughing up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. 

By the way, even if, by some bizarre twist of fate, and although it has NEVER happened, Laguna Hills does prevail, we STILL LOSE. That’s right, we still have to pay ALL of our City Attorney’s litigation fees, as well as court costs, expert witness fees, etc. The only money that we do NOT have to pay for winning the suit is the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees.

Let’s take a quick peek at the recent CVRA case against Santa Monica. Before the California Supreme Court ruled against the city of Santa Monica, the residents were on the hook for at least $22 MILLION in fees. Since the city lost the case, the residents are looking to pay the $22 million PLUS the plaintiff’s fees, so estimates suggest Santa Monica will be coughing up approximately $60 mil. Who exactly benefitted? Certainly NOT the residents of Santa Monica. Are at-large elections really worth taking that much money from the residents?  Can you imagine the amazing projects that the city could have spent that money on??

Back to Laguna Hills. Many of us believe that our City Attorney has become nothing more than a “fee-gouging” shyster from out of town. Where is the oversight by our current city council? Do they actually think that protecting their seats, which is really what this is all about, is worth the money our city will have to pay?

Let’s be more specific. The three puppet councilmembers that are routinely controlled by Simonian on this and other issues are Janine Heft, Don Caskey and Joshua Sweeney. Thankfully, Erica Pezold and Dave Wheeler seem to have the resident’s back and are able to push back every now and then. Kudos to Pezold and Wheeler for attempting to represent the residents. (Although, since everything regarding the CVRA was behind closed doors, we can’t be sure whether Pezold and/or Wheeler tried to insert some logic and reason into the discussion; we do hope that one of them inserted some fiscally responsible arguments during what WAS an extraordinarily long closed session.)

So recapping here, instead of just adopting the district voting process, which we personally believe would provide fairer representation, transparency and reflect a more inclusive government, Simonian, with his 3 puppets on City Council, has decided to forego the district voting process (which would have capped the City’s costs at approximately $30 thousand), opting instead to litigate the issue potentially costing the City millions of dollars regardless of the outcome. 

So we ask, WHAT IS OUR CITY COUNCIL THINKING? Do they honestly think that we want THEM to stay safely on council more than we want the hundreds of thousands that could fund valuable projects for us residents??

Stay tuned…

SOUTH OC PAINE.

About South OC Paine

South OC Payne, anonymous FOR NOW, is an anti-establishment, reformist Republican in southern Orange County who is currently on mission to bring more race diversity into the GOP.