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Letters to the editor: Nov. 2, 2018

Original post made on Nov 5, 2018

This week, readers weigh in on a number of races in Tuesday's election.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 5, 2018, 1:05 PM

Comments (5)

18 people like this
Posted by @Needless to say, slam Inks
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 5, 2018 at 2:53 pm

@Needless to say, slam Inks is a registered user.

Of course the Voice chooses a letter than slams Inks without naming him (the vague reference to the green postcard), it's clear the Merc, Voice, etc is biased in favor of the incumbents. The RV crisis has only gotten worse under the leadership of Mayor Siegel and Pat Showalter, but the Voice endorses them. I don't get it.


13 people like this
Posted by Silent majority
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm

Dear Mr and Mrs Schink

I think you will find that the green postcard will galvanize a number of the 'silent majority' in Mountain view to vote for John Inks. I.e. We are the parents of young children or voters who aren't liberals, but think permanent RVs on the streets of our neighborhood is just not what we signed up for living here. Not everyone in the bay area is a Lenny Seigel activist liberal. There are some centrist Democrats and (gasp!) Republicans who have reached their tolerance limit. John has our vote!


12 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 5, 2018 at 5:08 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Agree 100% with Silent majority


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2018 at 5:23 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Silent majority you said:

“I think you will find that the green postcard will galvanize a number of the 'silent majority' in Mountain view to vote for John Inks. I.e. We are the parents of young children or voters who aren't liberals, but think permanent RVs on the streets of our neighborhood is just not what we signed up for living here. Not everyone in the bay area is a Lenny Seigel activist liberal. There are some centrist Democrats and (gasp!) Republicans who have reached their tolerance limit. John has our vote!”

You remind me of the Richard Nixon political strategy employed to attempt to support the Vietnam War, and in fact was the basis of violent attacks perpetrated on peaceful Vietnam War protesters. I cannot believe we are living that history again.

As far as John Inks is concerned:

VOTERS SHOULD CONSIDER THE ROLE JOHN INKS HAS PLAYED AND IN FACT VIOLATED THE CITY COUNCIL CODE OF CONDUCT REGARDING THE FOLLOWING RULES:

The Mountain View City Council Code of Conduct states (Web Link)

LEGAL AND ETHICAL STANDARDS:

City Charter states:

3.1 Preamble

The residents and businesses of Mountain View are entitled to have fair, ethical, and accountable local government. Such a government requires that public officials:

Comply with both the letter and the spirit of the laws and policies affecting operations of the government;

Be independent, impartial, and fair in their judgment and actions;

USE THEIR PUBLIC OFFICE FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD, NOT FOR PERSONAL GAIN; AND

Conduct public deliberations and processes openly, unless legally confidential, in an atmosphere of respect and civility.

To this end, the Mountain View City Council has adopted a code of ethics to encourage public confidence in the integrity of local government and its fair and effective operation.

This City Council code of ethics shall reside in two documents—the City Council Code of Conduct and the City Council Personal Code of Conduct. The City Council Code of Conduct and the Personal Code of Conduct shall not be interpreted to conflict with other rights and responsibilities of public officials set forth in this code or Federal, State, or local law. The City Council Code of Conduct shall be considered to be the definitive document relating to ethical conduct by Mountain View Councilmembers. The Personal Code of Conduct shall be considered to be a summary of the full City Council Code of Conduct.

3.2 Public Interest

3.2.1 Recognizing that stewardship of the public interest must be their primary concern, COUNCILMEMBERS SHALL WORK FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE PEOPLE OF MOUNTAIN VIEW AND NOT FOR ANY PRIVATE OR PERSONAL INTEREST. Councilmembers must endeavor to treat all members of the public and issues before them in a fair and equitable manner.

3.2.2 Councilmembers shall comply with the laws of the nation, the State of California, and the City in the performance of their public duties. These laws include, but are not limited to: the United States and California constitutions; the Mountain View City Charter; LAWS PERTAINING TO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, ELECTION CAMPAIGNS, FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES, EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES, AND OPEN PROCESSES OF GOVERNMENT; AND CITY ORDINANCES AND POLICIES.

3.3 Conduct

3.3.1 COUNCILMEMBERS SHALL REFRAIN FROM ABUSIVE CONDUCT, PERSONAL CHARGES, OR VERBAL ATTACKS UPON THE CHARACTER OR MOTIVES OF OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, COMMITTEES, STAFF, OR THE PUBLIC.

3.3.2 Councilmember duties shall be performed in accordance with the processes and rules of order established by the City Council.

3.3.3 Councilmembers shall inform themselves on public issues, listen attentively to public discussions before the body, and focus on the business at hand.

3.3.4 Council decisions shall be based upon the merits and substance of the matter at hand.

3.3.5 IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF COUNCILMEMBERS TO PUBLICLY SHARE SUBSTANTIVE INFORMATION THAT IS RELEVANT TO A MATTER UNDER CONSIDERATION THAT THEY HAVE RECEIVED FROM SOURCES OUTSIDE OF THE PUBLIC DECISION-MAKING PROCESS WITH ALL OTHER COUNCILMEMBERS AND THE PUBLIC PRIOR TO TAKING ACTION ON THE MATTER.

3.3.6 Appropriate City staff should be involved when Councilmembers meet with officials from other agencies and jurisdictions to ensure proper staff support as needed and to keep staff informed.

3.3.7 Councilmembers shall not attend internal staff meetings or meetings between City staff and third parties unless invited by City staff or directed by Council to do so.

3.3.8 Policy Role

3.3.8.1 Councilmembers shall respect and adhere to the councilmanager, structure of Mountain View City government as provided in State law and the City Charter.

3.3.8.2 COUNCILMEMBERS SHALL SUPPORT THE MAINTENANCE OF A POSITIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES, AND CITY EMPLOYEES.

3.4 Conflict of Interest

3.4.1 In order to assure their independence and impartiality ON BEHALF OF THE PUBLIC GOOD, Councilmembers ARE PROHIBITED FROM USING THEIR OFFICIAL POSITIONS TO INFLUENCE GOVERNMENT DECISIONS IN WHICH THEY HAVE A FINANCIAL INTEREST OR WHERE THEY HAVE AN ORGANIZATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OR A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP THAT WOULD PRESENT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST UNDER APPLICABLE STATE LAW.

3.4.2 IN ACCORDANCE WITH STATE LAW, COUNCILMEMBERS MUST FILE ANNUAL WRITTEN DISCLOSURES OF THEIR ECONOMIC INTERESTS.

3.4.3 Councilmembers SHALL NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SERVICES OR OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONAL GAIN BY VIRTUE OF THEIR PUBLIC OFFICE THAT ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL.

3.4.4 Councilmembers shall respect and preserve the confidentiality of information provided to them concerning the confidential matters of the City. They must neither disclose confidential information without proper legal authorization nor use such information to advance the personal, financial, or private interests of themselves or others.

3.4.5 City Councilmembers SHOULD AVOID ANY ACTION THAT COULD BE CONSTRUED AS, OR CREATE THE APPEARANCE OF, USING PUBLIC OFFICE FOR PERSONAL GAIN, INCLUDING USE OF CITY STATIONERY OR OTHER CITY RESOURCES TO OBTAIN OR PROMOTE PERSONAL BUSINESS.

3.4.6 Public resources not available to the general public (e.g., City staff time, equipment, supplies, or facilities) shall not be used by Councilmembers for private gain or personal purposes.

3.4.7 In keeping with their role as stewards of the public interest, COUNCILMEMBERS SHALL NOT APPEAR ON BEHALF OF THE PRIVATE INTERESTS OF A THIRD PARTY BEFORE THE CITY COUNCIL OR ANY BOARD, COMMISSION, OR COMMITTEE OR PROCEEDING OF THE CITY, EXCEPT AS PERMITTED BY LAW.

3.4.8 To the best of their ability, Councilmembers SHALL REPRESENT THE OFFICIAL POLICIES AND POSITIONS OF THE CITY COUNCIL. WHEN PRESENTING THEIR PERSONAL OPINIONS OR POSITIONS PUBLICLY, MEMBERS SHALL EXPLICITLY STATE THEY DO NOT REPRESENT THE COUNCIL OR THE CITY.

3.4.9 Mountain View City Charter Provisions

3.4.9.1 Financial Interests in City Contracts Prohibited.

NO OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE CITY SHALL BECOME FINANCIALLY INTERESTED EXCEPT BY TESTATE OR INTESTATE SUCCESSION, EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN ANY CONTRACT, SALE, PURCHASE, LEASE, OR TRANSFER OF REAL OR PERSONAL PROPERTY TO WHICH THE CITY IS A PARTY OR BE EMPLOYED BY ANY PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATION REGULATED BY OR HOLDING FRANCHISES IN THE CITY. …[A]NY CONTRACT MADE IN CONTRAVENTION OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE VOID. (SECTION 706)

3.4.9.2 Nepotism.

The Council shall not appoint to a salaried position under the City government any person who is a relative by blood or marriage within the second degree of any one or more of the members of such Council and neither shall any department head or other officer having appointive power appoint any relative within such degree to any such position. (Section 707)
3.4.11 California State Law Regarding Conflicts

Four key areas of California State law regulate the ethics of public officials.

3.4.11.1 Constitutional prohibitions

State law strictly forbids elected and appointed public officials from accepting free or discounted travel from transportation companies. The penalty for a violation includes the forfeiture of office.

3.4.11.2 Contractual conflicts of interest

This prohibition, found in Government Code Section 1090, mirrors the City's Charter Provision Section 706 and applies to elected and appointed officials as well as other City staff members. It prohibits the City from entering into a contract if one of its members (i.e., a Councilmember) is financially interested in the contract. If the bar (or prohibition) applies, the agency is prohibited from entering into the contract whether or not the official with the conflict participates or not. In some limited circumstances, officials are allowed to disqualify themselves from participation and the agency may enter into the contract.

Financial interest has been defined to INCLUDE EMPLOYMENT, STOCK/OWNERSHIP INTERESTS, AND MEMBERSHIP ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF A FOR-PROFIT OR NONPROFIT CORPORATION, AMONG OTHERS. Violations can be charged as a felony. A person convicted of violating Section 1090 is prohibited from ever holding public office in the State.

3.4.11.3 Political Reform Act—Conflicts of Interest

The Political Reform Act (PRA) was adopted by the voters in 1974 and is the primary expression of the law relative to conflicts of interest (and campaign finance) in California. The Act created the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), a five-member State board which administers the Act.
The Act and the regulations are complex and are continuously subjected to official interpretation. The following synopsis of key parts of the Act will be helpful in spotting issues; however, the FPPC and/or City Attorney should be consulted for further advice and clarification.

With respect to conflicts of interest, the FPPC has promulgated a regulation which establishes an analysis which assists in determining whether a public official is participating in a government decision in WHICH THEY HAVE A QUALIFYING FINANCIAL INTEREST AND WHETHER IT IS REASONABLY FORESEEABLE THAT THE DECISION WILL HAVE A MATERIAL FINANCIAL EFFECT ON THE PUBLIC OFFICIAL'S FINANCIAL INTEREST, WHICH IS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM THE EFFECT THE DECISION WILL HAVE ON THE PUBLIC GENERALLY.

3.4.11.3.1 IF A MEMBER HAS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST REGARDING A PARTICULAR DECISION, THEY MUST REFRAIN FROM MAKING OR PARTICIPATING IN THE MAKING OF A DECISION UNLESS OTHERWISE PERMITTED BY LAW.

IF A PUBLIC OFFICIAL HAS A FINANCIAL INTEREST THAT GIVES RISE TO A CONFLICT OF INTEREST, ONE OF THE KEY DETERMINATIONS IN THE EIGHT-STEP ANALYSIS IS TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THE PUBLIC OFFICIAL IS "PARTICIPATING IN" OR "MAKING" A GOVERNMENTAL DECISION.

3.4.11.3.1.1 A PUBLIC OFFICIAL MAKES A GOVERNMENT DECISION WHEN THEY DO THE FOLLOWING:

Vote on a matter.

APPOINT A PERSON.

OBLIGATE OR COMMIT HIS OR HER AGENCY TO ANY COURSE OF ACTION.

Enter into any contractual agreement on behalf of his or her agency.

DETERMINE NOT TO ACT IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.

3.4.11.3.1.2 A PUBLIC OFFICIAL PARTICIPATES IN MAKING GOVERNMENTAL DECISIONS WHEN ACTING WITHIN THE AUTHORITY OF HIS OR HER POSITION, THEY DO THE FOLLOWING:

Negotiate without significant substantive review with a governmental entity or private person regarding a governmental decision.

ADVISE OR MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE DECISION-MAKER EITHER DIRECTLY OR WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT INTERVENING SUBSTANTIVE REVIEW BY:

— Conducting research or an investigation which requires the exercise of judgment on the part of the official AND THE PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO INFLUENCE GOVERNMENTAL DECISIONS; or

— PREPARING OR PRESENTING ANY REPORT, ANALYSIS, OR OPINION ORALLY OR IN WRITING WHICH REQUIRES THE EXERCISE OF JUDGMENT ON THE PART OF THE OFFICIAL AND THE PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO INFLUENCE A GOVERNMENTAL DECISION.

3.4.11.3.2 When a public official has a qualifying financial interest, THAT OFFICIAL MAY NOT USE THEIR OFFICE OR OTHERWISE ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE GOVERNMENTAL DECISIONS OR MAKE APPEARANCES OR CONTACTS ON BEHALF OF A BUSINESS ENTITY, CLIENT, OR CUSTOMER.

3.4.11.3.3 If an official has a qualifying financial interest, there are nevertheless exceptions which allow a public official to make an appearance before an agency in very limited circumstances. THE ONE THAT IS MOST COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED IS AN APPEARANCE BY A PUBLIC OFFICIAL TO REPRESENT HIMSELF OR HERSELF WITH RESPECT TO A PROPOSED PROJECT OR CHANGE IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD. IF THE APPEARANCE IS PERMITTED UNDER STATE LAW, THE APPEARANCE IS LIMITED TO APPEARING AT A PUBLIC MEETING AT THE PODIUM AND ADDRESSING A BOARD, COMMISSION, OR THE CITY COUNCIL. THE OFFICIAL MAY NOT CONTACT MEMBERS OF STAFF, THE CITY MANAGER, OR CITY ATTORNEY, OR DISCUSS THE MATTER WITH OTHER COUNCILMEMBERS. A PUBLIC OFFICIAL WITH A CONFLICT CANNOT INTERACT WITH STAFF ON THAT ISSUE OTHER THAN TO ASK QUESTIONS, PAY FEES, ETC.

3.4.11.5 Common Law Conflicts of Interest

This is the judicial expression of the public policy against public officials using their official position for private benefit. AN ELECTED OFFICIAL BEARS A FIDUCIARY DUTY TO EXERCISE THE POWERS OF OFFICE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC AND IS NOT PERMITTED TO USE THOSE POWERS OR THEIR OFFICE FOR THE BENEFIT OF ANY PRIVATE INTEREST. This common law doctrine continues to survive the adoption of various statutory expressions of conflict law.

3.4.11.6 Appearance of Impropriety

When participation in action or decision-making as a public official does not implicate the specific statutory criteria for conflicts of interest; however, participation still does not "look" or "feel" right, that public official has probably encountered the appearance of impropriety.

FOR THE PUBLIC TO HAVE FAITH AND CONFIDENCE THAT GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY WILL BE IMPLEMENTED IN AN EVEN-HANDED AND ETHICAL MANNER, PUBLIC OFFICIALS MAY NEED TO STEP ASIDE EVEN THOUGH NO TECHNICAL CONFLICT EXISTS. An example is where a long-term nonfinancial affiliation exists between the public official and an applicant or the applicant is related by blood or marriage to the official. For the good of the community, members who encounter the appearance of impropriety should step aside.”

John Inks Violated the City Council Code of conduct specifically when he instructed the City Attorney to consent to a temporary restraining order in the CSFRA CAA Court Challenge, requiring outside attorneys to intervene to protect the citizen of Mountain View under:

“3.4.11.3.1.1 A PUBLIC OFFICIAL MAKES A GOVERNMENT DECISION WHEN THEY DO THE FOLLOWING: OBLIGATE OR COMMIT HIS OR HER AGENCY TO ANY COURSE OF ACTION.”

AND when he appointed 2 members into the RHC (Tom Means and Vanessa Honey) knowing that they had financial interests as well as personal relationships with the persons likely to make petitions regarding the CSFRA. THE SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS ARE:

3.4.11.3.1.1 A PUBLIC OFFICIAL MAKES A GOVERNMENT DECISION WHEN THEY DO THE FOLLOWING: APPOINT A PERSON.”

TOM MEANS WAS A PAID POLITICAL AUTHOR REPRESENTING THE CALIFORNIA APARTMENT ASSOCITIONS AND THE SAM MATEO COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF REALTOR SPECIFICALLY WRITING AGAINST RENT CONTROL WHILE HOLDING OFFICE IN THE RHC

VANESSA OLDENCAMP HONEY OPERATES THE MPM CORPORATION. THIS ORGANIZATION IS IN REAL ESTATE AND MUTLIFAMILY HOME PROPERTY MANAGEMENT. SHE IS A MEMBER OF THE MULTIFAMILY INSIDERS GROUP SINCE 2011 (Web Link).

SIMPLY PUT SHE HAS DIRECT FINANCIAL AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH THOSE SHE IS EMPOWERED TO MAKE DECISIONS IN THEIR BENEFIT.

WHY SHOULD HE BE GIVEN THE CHANCE TO VIOLATE THE CODE OF CONDUCT AGAIN?


2 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 5, 2018 at 5:24 pm

LOL is a registered user.

mvresident2003, what happened to your last comment? It looked level-headed and reasonable, not at all unhinged.


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