Letters between a Monterey businessman and a city official.
Thursday, April 5, 2001
From the City of Monterey
March 5, 2001
Morgan''s Coffee and Tea
498 Washington St.
Monterey, CA 93940
Re: Factual Correctness
Dear Mr. Christopher:
I''ve noted with interest your current smear campaign directed at me, and while I have incredibly thick skin and a great sense of humor, please note that even though I am a "public official," any defamatory comments made that are known, or should be known, to be factually incorrect may serve as a basis for a lawsuit.
That said, the real purpose of my letter is to educate you to the facts so that you can continue to maintain your thoughts and opinions but with knowledge of the true facts.
Despite your assertions to the contrary, I have not directed anyone to commence enforcement actions against you with respect to your current violations. The Building Inspector, the Health Department, the Code Enforcement Officer, and the Fire Inspector have all been working on their own to seek code compliance without any request or direction from me. I realize that the Code Enforcement Officer works for me, but even she has not been asked by me to pursue any enforcement actions against you. Any comment to the contrary is simply false.
I have seen various reports and I am tangentially aware of some of the efforts being undertaken at this time, but they have not been nor are they now under my direction or control. I''m no coward, and I''m more than happy to accept responsibility for enforcement actions I cause or direct. This isn''t one of them.
So you may feel free to reserve a seat for me, you can continue to express your opinions, and you can solicit comments from whomever you choose to speak to... That said, I am more than willing to meet with you to discuss the issues you have raised and to explain exactly what I have and haven''t done. My understanding is that you''ve already reserved a chair for me and I''d be happy to sit down and discuss your grievances. I even have a much better picture from my high school yearbook if you need it. The bottom line is simple: I haven''t been involved in the enforcement activities currently being brought to bear against you, and your comments to the contrary are false and malicious. They go beyond humor and opinion and seek to incite action injurious to my well-being--my job--yet they are based totally on false premises. I will vigorously defend your right to believe I am incompetent and to share that point of view with others, but I will not sit idly by while you use lies to buttress that point of view. Now that you know the truth, I''ll expect you to correct your misstatements.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated courtesy and cooperation. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.
Very Truly Yours,
William B. Conners, City Attorney
March 7, 2001
William B. Conners
City of Monterey
I am so relieved to hear that you have "a great sense of humor." Your "incredibly thick skin" too will prove invaluable to you for some time yet to come. And while I appreciate your efforts to "educate" me, it is now apparently my turn to enlighten you as your implication that I am kidding around with you is terribly misguided.
Point by point:
Regarding your belief that I seek to "incite action injurious to your well-being" and thereby pose a threat to your job, let me suggest that this is where your thick skin may serve you well. It is exactly that sort of threat to my livelihood from the pencil-pushing cubicle- heads who have been dispatched by city officers such as you that I find threatening to my ability to earn a living...
You refer to the harassment I am experiencing at the hands of various city and county departments as "enforcement actions." This is inaccurate. What is occurring can best be summed up as inspectors dispatched to find something, anything, to which a violation can be attached. They do not need to be under your "direction or control;" if you take no action and allow the harassment of a small business owner to proceed under your watch, then that is sufficient to demonstrate your careless disregard for honest enforcement. You say that you are "tangentially aware" of the efforts being undertaken at this time, so you cannot even claim ignorance, not that ignorance of the facts is defensible. Thus, your insistence that that is not the case demonstrates only that you are either ignorant ("tangentially aware") or blatantly dishonest regarding the actions that your agent, Debra Wright, has taken and directed others to take. So which is it? Are you out of the loop ("tangentially aware") or lying?...
There is indeed a seat with your name on it, but it is not intended for you to use. I cannot imagine what we would discuss face to face as we do not seem to have any respect whatsoever for each other''s opinions...
I would have liked nothing more than to have offered you the courtesy and cooperation that you anticipated, but as you can see that expectation was a bit premature. That I shall not "correct my misstatements" goes without saying.
By the way, I doubt your high school photo is any better. Hey, hey, I thought you said you had a great sense of humor...