According to Rowena Coetsee, Steve Bolen, supervising attorney for the special operations unit within the county District Attorney’s office, says that because the City Council rescinded the home-equity share agreement, it effectively corrected any wrongdoing that might have occurred — whether it was a Brown Act violation, misuse of public funds or negotiating a compensation package where a conflict of interest existed.
In short, the DA’s office won’t be pursuing the matter.
This announcement comes after last night’s City Council meeting where Councilman Randy Pope contacted DA Bolen of the Contra Costa DA’s Office, and Adrianne Korchmaros of the FPPC, and requested each conduct an inquiry into the allegations under their respective agency purview(FPPC=conflict of interest, DA=violations of Brown Act).
While we may not like or agree with the actions of the Oakley City Council over the last few weeks, this black eye caused by their actions can officially begin to heal. Like all black eyes, this too will go away in time.
We all need to look at the positives from this situation and learn from them so it will never happen again. The main positive is the community is now engaged and greater transparency will be the ultimate result.
However, I’ve heard the argument that we should have kept our mouths shut and let the council continue down a bad path in which the process would truly put them in violation. I disagree with that plan because we are talking about the reputation of the city, the community, and will have an eternal black eye—which is larger than any single council. We don’t need to be classified as “Bell 2”.
Many in the community deserve a hat tip for speaking out against the mortgage deal. The council should be very thankful because this could have potentially ended political careers had it moved forward. Imagine what could have occurred had the community kept its mouth shut.
- Council votes Mr. Montgomery’s deal on record.
- Story breaks in local papers then goes larger—Community gets a bad name
- District Attorney investigates
- Wrong doing is found (note: unclear if wrong doing in fact occur)
- Forced resignations
- Future funding is withheld
- Reputation ruined for good
Doing nothing is irresponsible and we must continue to be proactive as a community. We may disagree with council decisions, but we must also support them when they do right by the community—in this case, they rescinded the deal and deserve support. That is what is beautiful about the council, they do not have to serve forever and we have the right to vote them out.
If the DA says no investigation is necessary, then it’s time to let the healing process begin and work with the council in the future.
While I was a harsh critic of certain councilmembers who looked like a bunch of clowns on stage and disliked their actions, they did ultimately listen to the community and corrected a wrong and made it right. I also found myself encouraged by those on the council who were proactive in resolving this issue.
This would never have happened if people did not speak out. I believe the council is now full aware the community is watching their every move and will think long and hard before making similar decisions in the future. I also believe they realize they must earn the public trust back and will refrain from cockamamie plans similar to this nonsense in the near future.
If we continue to be proactive, the community will turn into something that we all will ultimately be proud of. By doing nothing, it’s counterproductive and helps no one.