Cities of Claremont, Pasadena, Santa Monica Refuse to Enforce Voter-Approved Ballot Measures to Stop Political Kickbacks
Volunteers with the Oaks Project today petitioned Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer to file an action for writ of mandate compelling Claremont, Pasadena and Santa Monica to implement a group of ballot initiatives aimed at stopping political kickbacks which was passed overwhelmingly by the voters of each city.
The initiatives were approved by 58% of Santa Monica voters last November, and passed with 55% and 60% of the vote, respectively, in Claremont and Pasadena this past March. However, city officials in each city continue to publicly oppose the law and have ignored the will of the voters by refusing to implement this popular reform.
“As a citizen, I am obliged to follow the law, even those laws I disagree with,” stated Oaks Project volunteer Sue Castagnetto. “City officials in Claremont, Pasadena and Santa Monica should have to do the same. The Attorney General must take up this case to send a message to these cities, and those across California, that public officials cannot ignore the law simply because they do not like it.”
Oaks Project members gathered over 55,000 all-volunteer signatures last spring to qualify the measures for the ballot in five cities across the state. They prevent city officials from accepting campaign contributions, gifts or employment from entities that benefit from the city official’s decisions (for example, through the award of a city contract or zoning variance).
The Claremont city council has passed a resolution to not implement the measure. Pasadena’s city council plans to continue consultation in closed session with outside counsel while refusing to take the most basic step of certifying the charter amendment with the Secretary of State. In Santa Monica, where the initiative has been law for nearly six months, the city has not yet complied with the minimum requirement of the law: the inclusion of a notice of the measure’s provisions on all city RFPs (requests for proposal).