MONEY TREE… Squid knows that money doesn’t grow on kelp, so Squid budgets accordingly for treats for Squid’s English bulldog, Rosco P. Coltrane. Squid now wonders if Carmel-by-the-Sea found some magic source of money growing somewhere, because the little city continues to pay bigtime for legal expenses. Carmel City Council’s Nov. 5 agenda included the most recent check registry, which reported that City Attorney Glen Mozingo’s office was paid its $30,000 monthly retainer in August (thanks to a generous five-year contract) and an additional $36,085 in “non-retainer” legal services.
Councilmember Bobby Richards asked for a detailed explanation of the $36K and got none. Assistant City Attorney Jon Giffen explained that Mozingo feels strongly that the city does not have to reveal details about legal expenditures, based on a 2016 California State Supreme Court decision stating that public agencies can keep payment details secret, claiming attorney-client privilege. What was shared is that Mozingo and his two associates, Giffen and Deputy City Attorney Gerard Rose, worked on more than a dozen cases in September – including one over disclosure of public records, which the city lost.
Squid was curious as to why Giffen, not Mozingo, was the one present answering questions about legal fees. Turns out the city attorney is on a three-week vacation.
Nice work if you can get it.
FAIR PLAY… Speaking of money, Squid can’t wait until the dust settles from Election Day to add up the millions that poured into local races. Though Squid is not holding Squid’s breath on a call back from the National Association of Realtors Fund, based in Chicago, as to why they took an interest in local elections, with tens of thousands going into Seaside City Council andMonterey Peninsula Water Management District materials, plus $20,000 in support of Monterey City Councilmember Ed Smith.
While Squid waits, there’s always 2014. That’s when now-County Supervisor Luis Alejo was a member of the State Assembly running for re-election, and according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission, failed to file 15 campaign finance reports on time. The proposed penalty: a whopping $8,000. In three cases – $6,800 from the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Small Contributor Committee, $8,200 from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association PAC and $34,000 from the California Democratic Party – forms were filed more than 600 days late.
Alejo says he plans to pay, but he’s also considering legal action against Stephanie Loose, the CPA who managed his campaign finances. Squid couldn’t reach Loose, but did check out her LinkedIn page, which makes this promise: “Doing it right the first time!”