Mega kudos to MCW reporter Kera Abraham for being the first and only reporter to report on the letter from attorney Richard Glenn (Thompson Law Office) to MPRWA attorney Don Freeman about alleged conflicts of interest and the letter from County Counsel Charles McKee to the AG about the legality of adding a county supervisor or district director to the MPRWA Board of Directors.
The MPRWA has certainly lost credibility. First, its ad hoc committee recommended former Mayor Sue McCloud as one of two finalists to become MPRWA executive director with all her sexual harassment/employment discrimination/retaliation and $600,000 settlement baggage. Secondly, the MPRWA Board, with Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett making the motion (surprise, surprise??), approved the hiring of Carmel and Seaside city attorney Don Freeman. Don Freeman is infamous for doing basically no legal work himself and being the gatekeeper for the hiring of outside attorneys to do the bulk of the legal work for the cities. In hindsight, it appears that the MPRWA Board would have made a better choice in selecting Thompson Law Office for their legal services contract. The County has also lost credibility. The County Counsel (cart before the horse?) is asking for an AG opinion one month after the Board of Supervisors approved membership and $83,300 of taxpayer monies to the MPRWA.
All these machinations do nothing constructive to solve the water cease and desist order crisis. And as Kera Abraham concluded the only beneficiaries of this endless saga are the consultants and lawyers.
After rereading Sara Rubin’s article, it appears that Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett had nothing new, original or substantive to communicate to warrant a face-to-face meeting with PUC Commissioner Sandoval. It is looking more and more like Jason Burnett is trading on the good name and reputation of his late grandfather to gain access. And once he gets access, he has nothing meaningful to contribute. It also appears that The Weekly was spot on in calling Jason Burnett a glad-hander.
Meanwhile, back in Carmel-by-the-Sea, not-in-charge, clueless City Administrator Jason Stilwell and in-charge, incompetent Assistant City Administrator Heidi Burch (aka Female B) oversee a helter-skelter City Hall characterized by Brown Act violations and other absurdities.
Burnett’s margin of victory is up 2 percentage points from his 2010 council race. “That means I won over some people in two years of work,” he says.
A margin of 2 percentage points more in 2012 compared to 2010 reflects fewer ballots cast in 2012 compared to 2010. Numerically, Jason Burnett received 125 less votes in 2012 than in 2010 (1,182 votes in 2010 compared to 1.057 votes (unofficial, not final) in 2012).
"Jason Burnett and the new council will seek to find the right person with the qualifications to balance the talent already on council and who will work well with the rest of the members. And that is the right thing to do," according to Coastvillager .
The downside of having the mayor and council (the “slate” of Burnett, Talmage & Beach) appoint a Carmel resident to fill Jason Burnett’s vacant council seat is that the Council will act like Mayor Burnett’s cabinet as opposed to independently elected representatives of the people. Carmel has endured the last twelve years of unanimous decisions reflecting a form of groupthink which is antithetical to a council which should represent varying points of views and positions.
MCW’s endorsement of Carmel City Council Member Jason Burnett for mayor makes many claims and conclusions without thorough examination.
I. “He’s devoted to transparency, in the water agreement and in government as a whole, and transparency is something Carmel’s sorely lacked for too long.”
MCW knows that the mayor’s office isn’t the “end-goal of Jason Burnett’s political ambitions,” but Jason Burnett is not transparent when it comes to at least informing the public about what his ambitions are presently. This is relevant because he resigned from the EPA a second time in 2008 because he believed the Office of the Vice President and White House Council on Environmental Quality were censoring any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change. Likewise, Jason Burnett should be open and transparent with the public about his political ambitions and not censor himself on the issue.
II. “He’s not only well-versed in policy, but also in process.”
The problem with a Mayor Burnett is that he has not recognized that the precedent regarding “process” set by Mayor Sue McCloud needs to be changed. Council members must stop their micromanagement of the city by picking apart every single agenda item at council meetings and stop usurping the duties and responsibilities of the city administrator and let the city administrator manage the city. Jason Burnett confuses policy direction with micromanagement.
III. “Burnett says all tax increases, including hotel and sales taxes, should be on the table if Carmel is serious about paying off its CalPERS liability.”
Advocating for tax increases on the November 2012 ballot in this economy is unwise. If Jason Burnett is serious about paying off the city’s CalPERS liability, then he and the council should have by now used the undesignated, unreserved reserve funds to pay down the $6.2 million side fund debt. That he and the council have not and are apparently waiting for tax increases do not bode well for his or the council’s financial acumen. In fact, the city council should examine the budget and explain why the city cannot pay down liabilities and provide essential services and amenities at $13 million general fund revenues plus $10 million reserve funds prior to any consideration of placing tax increases on the ballot.
Kristy Downing is in dire need of remedial education. The video for reality TV is scripted and yes Rich Pépe is in the video and some may be offended by some of his lines in the scripted video. But where is the outrage from Ms. Downing when it comes to the current mayor and her enabler council members showing disrespect and contempt for city employees, three of whom were women, when the city settled their claims of sexual harassment, employment discrimination and retaliation for over $1 million? Where was Kristy Downing when it was revealed that the mayor and council had a policy of getting rid of older city employees whom the mayor disliked? Where was Kristy Downing when the employee enablers Christie Miller and Heidi Burch of then-City Administrator Rich Guillen were getting taxpayer funded pay raises, benefits and promotions based on favoritism and not merit? Carmel has had 12 years of Mayor Sue McCloud; a mayor who has sanctioned sexism, discrimination and retaliation and shown no respect for city employees and 100 percent of the population, men and women alike. Rich Pépe was in a scripted video whereas Sue McCloud and her council were for real for years. WAKE UP Kristy Downing and Carmelites!
Wow, the Carmel Residents Association (CRA) and their so-called exploding membership of 700 members exposed by Squid. Carmel is the city which has gone wrong and it maybe heavy on charm – err, magic – but also heavy on fantasy and self-delusion. CRA Board members like to say they “love” Carmel, but how do they show their “love” for Carmel? For years and years, they knew about Mayor Sue McCloud’s and city council’s policy of harassment/discrimination/retaliation and hush money payments to city employee victims. Did they stand up and say “Not in our village?” No. They aided and abetted the mayor and city councils by going along, business as usual. Why? Because they valued insider information from the mayor, preferential treatment and the illusion of special interest influence over doing the right thing. They are morally bankrupt, cowards and weaklings, but they represent many Carmelites, the apathetic, ignorant and/or ethically-challenged. At least that explains the situation now with Rich Guillen, the scapegoat, out and all the co-conspirators (mayor, city council members, city employees) still in city government and no outrage from the Carmel citizenry.
MCW readers know of the Weekly’s fondness for Jason Burnett, but as a journalism enterprise reporters should challenge Jason Burnett to answer pertinent questions, such as what has changed in two years to warrant him breaking his 2010 campaign promise to voters to complete a full 4-year council member term? What is “good” for Carmel has become synonymous with the self-promotion of Jason Burnett by Jason Burnett. Announcing his intent to run for mayor eight weeks prior to the start of the official filing period makes one wonder if he is running because he thinks he has learned enough in two short years and has the experience to be an effective mayor for Carmel or does he want to be mayor as a resume enhancer to aid him in his bid for Sam Farr’s congressional seat when Farr retires, probably in 2014? Another question: Jason Burnett deserves credit for bringing CalPERS to the attention of the public and council; now comes the hard, substantive part. Will he provide leadership and advocate for paying down the $6.2 million side fund debt, a debt since 2003 charged 7.75% interest compared to the city’s $10 million reserves earning 0.5% interest? Along fiscal lines, MCW reporters should also question Jason Burnett’s judgment when he gave credit to the previous city administrator for the fiscal health of the city when it was obvious even before the CalPERS report that the previous city administrator was an incompetent financial manager.
Last login: Thursday, November 1, 2012
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