SM gives anti-corruption law ‘the cold shoulder’

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Pasadena Weekly

As Pasadena voters contemplate renewing an anti-corruption law in November, Santa Monica officials will likely be asking voters to do away that city’s version of the same statute.
In 2001, Pasadena voters approved Measure B, which makes it illegal for city officials to take gifts from those whom they have awarded city contracts and other benefits while in office. A year earlier, Santa Monica voters approved a similar measure they called Proposition LL.

Both cities initially resisted the law, unsuccessfully challenging it in court while council members violated its provisions.

After spending nearly $1 million grappling with the law, Pasadena City Council members appointed the Task Force on Good Government to simplify elements of Measure B.

On Monday, they decided to place on the ballot a tweaked version of the law that initiative authors the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights have praised.

This week in Santa Monica, meanwhile, City Council members are expected to decide if they will send voters their proposal to undo the key prohibitions of Proposition LL.

Former state Attorney General John Van de Kamp, who headed Pasadena’s task force, characterized Santa Monica’s attempt to skirt the voter-approved law as unbecoming its progressive reputation.

“Santa Monica, to the best of my knowledge, has made no effort to conform to [the law],” said Van de Kamp, who credited Pasadena officials with doing “a respectable job” in working to implement Measure B.

“Santa Monica used to be regarded as the far-out municipality, especially with its resistance to development and all that, and you would think that Santa Monica would be in the forefront of good government, particularly as it relates to campaign finance reform. Here they have just cold-shouldered the whole business, as far as I can see,” he said.

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