Yesterday, the City’s Ethics Review Commission met to discuss the Tommy Gonzalez and Larry Romero pending ethics complaints and other complaints that were dismissed by the city attorney. As you likely know by now, the commission and Larry Romero agreed to a finding that Romero violated various ethics rules by having an alleyway on Polk Street paved. According to the discussion, Romero agrees that his actions benefited political contributors by the paving of the alleyway. Although the Ethics Commission has the authority to remove a city council person, the fact that Larry Romero has resigned made that penalty moot. Romero’s acknowledgement, in writing, settles the various current ethics investigations into his activities.
Romero’s written reprimand has no bearing on the ongoing ethics investigation into Tommy Gonzalez. In addition to the ongoing ethics investigation into Gonzalez, the City Attorney presented two more ethics complaints. You are aware of the one against Claudia Ordaz, that I shared with you last month. The other ethics complaint was filed by a resident that was dissatisfied with a vehicle purchase made at Leeser’s dealership.
As many of you know, the ethics ordinance has the city attorney in the position of accepting or declining to forward, to the commission, ethics complaints based on a determination by her office on whether the complaint is in compliance with the ordinance and whether she feels the ethics commission has jurisdiction over the complaint.
During her presentation, the City Attorney, Sylvia Borunda Firth, advised the commission that the ethics ordinance does not have an appeal process. Firth stated that the lack of an appeal process is “awkward.” She asked the Ethics Review Commission to start thinking about creating an appeals process. Firth told the commission that the Leeser and Ordaz complaints were dismissed by her. Firth presented the complaints and her dismissal letters to the commission. Under the current system, the commission cannot take action on Firth’s dismissals.
However, on Monday, of this week, Firth stated that she received documents titled “appeal” by Carrasco in regards to her original complaint against Ordaz. Firth stated that she “has 20 days” to take action on it with it but hopes to “deal with that more quickly.”
Firth reiterated to the commission that she would like for them to set up a process for appeals. The commission did not discuss a timeline for when they will take up the appeal process request. However, it is expected that they will take it up soon after they conclude their investigation of the Tommy Gonzalez matter.
In regards to Gonzalez, by the discussion, it appears that Ross Fischer may have found at least one item that can be sustained and thus it is possible that an agreed settlement may be forth coming by April 26.
The City has not made Carrasco’s appeal public as of this morning. As soon as I get a copy of the appeal I will update this post with it.
As an aside, these are the types of news items that are important to the community that should be reported to you by the news media outlets. Instead, it is left to me to report it to you.