City Launches Cover Up over Illegal A...

City Launches Cover Up over Illegal Activity by Council Members

There are 9 comments on the www.theavocadoexpress.com story from Jul 22, 2012, titled City Launches Cover Up over Illegal Activity by Council Members. In it, www.theavocadoexpress.com reports that:

La Habra Heights, CA – Cable TV viewers and many who watch Council meetings online are asking questions about what appears to be editing of Council members’ comments on a Road Tax Ballot measure at a recent City Council meeting

The editing in question was of the July 12th regular meeting of the La Habra Heights City Council, shown live on the City’s website. Near the end of the actual meeting, following comments by Council members Howard Vipperman and Roy Francis, Brian Bergman, Carl Westerhoff and Mayor Stan Carroll expressed advocacy encouraging the public to vote YES for a new road tax. Bergman and Westerhoff spoke on the merit of the measure with Mayor Carroll simply stating he concurred. It is those comments, without a disclaimer that the meeting was edited, that do not appear on recordings made available to viewers on cable and online.

The City Council is seeking support of a ballot measure for a new tax, rather than allow the existing assessment on roads to sunset. The council launched a campaign to continue the tax. The measure referred to by the City as District 5 would create a new road tax that would have property owners paying $527 per year in a controversial plan to repair roads already funded by property and gas tax revenues. Unlike previous assessments this one does not guarantee any benefit to property owners. This has many residents advocating to put an end to the tax. But the City Council, seeking to relieve the general fund of the burden of road maintenance, has authorized $10,000 to publish and distribute the city publication On Top of the Heights at taxpayer expense for a series of newsletters supporting the ballot measure. Additionally, the last several issues of the Heights Life, published by the La Habra Heights Improvement Association, a non-profit community organization, features articles and city council statements clearly advocating support for the ballot item. This all raises concerns about the questionable use of a 501 (c) 3 non-profit group’s publication, and now television.

The live televised comments in support of the road tax by three council members, made in the presence of two journalists, a handful of audience members and an unknown number of online viewers, were reportedly illegal. The result of which triggered City Attorney Sandra Levin to order the meeting pulled from public view. Although it remains unclear what law was violated.

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Online Viewer

United States

#1 Jul 22, 2012
I watched the City Council meeting online! I heard the 3 City Councilmen. Did you know City Manager Shauna Clark is the Producer of the televised City Council meetings. The City Council cannot sensor and edit the City Council meetings.
Maybe City Attorney Sandra Levin needs to advise her clients before meetings than after the fact.

This is an example of the constant illegal activities and corruption in La Habra Heights.

Why did the city post the minutes from the June 14, 2012 city council meeting then pull it? What are they hiding from that council meeting?
Take a Tax Hike

Los Angeles, CA

#2 Jul 22, 2012
The last city council meeting raised more questions than it answered. If there really was now seven million dollars in reserves as stated, rather than the five million we have been said to have, why this desperation to pass this Roads Tax? Tripling the amount of taxes? Four councilman are willing to use the Heights Life and their microphones to cheerlead for higher taxes. I guess Levin used her kill switch on the Council.

How can we verify the amount of money in reserve? Every recent statement is that we have no money. But in one month we increase the "reserve" by two million? Either the roads tax could be paid out of this reserve or it doesn't exist and we are broke. I believe the latter. Have we taken loans out on the reserve and leveraged it? If so we will be San Bernardino, Mammoth Lakes, Stockton and Vallejo's partners in Chapter 9 very soon. If the Roads Tax passes, will it turn into the money bags for the City Manager's harem of consultants? And we just gave a 10k raise to the Assistant City Manager. So let's hand them a pile of cash and see if they do a better job with it this time. Maybe they will even repair a road or two in the process?
SAN BERNANDINO LOVER

United States

#3 Jul 22, 2012
Why did the City of La Habra Heights hire Shauna Clark? She was San Bernardino's City Manager for 7 very long years. Good luck La Habra Heights.
Highlander

AOL

#4 Jul 23, 2012
The City has led its citizens to believe that the council meeting videos are a complete and accurate record of what is said at council meetings. Even if there were some legal and compelling reason for the censorship, it is absolutely dishonest to censor these videos without clearly stating that you are doing so.

Even high school students are taught that if you omit words from a quotation, you not only must clearly indicate that you have done so; you must also show precisely were these words were omitted.

The City Manager is the “producer” of the video broadcast. As such, she has the final say about its content (unless overruled by the city council). Is it asking too much of our city council that they hold the City Manager to the same ethical standard that we expect from our high school students?

“Exclusive Investigation!”

Since: Jun 07

La Habra Heights

#5 Jul 23, 2012
This just in!

We have the video the City does not want you to see.

From Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaHabraHeights

Exclusive! Deleted City Council Comments. Here is the video the City of La Habra Heights does not want the public to see. Video at: http://youtu.be/q_UTiUBixL4 or http://www.youtube.com/GeorgeEdwardz

EOM
Resident

Coffeyville, KS

#6 Jul 23, 2012
Thank you NewsStar for making available to everyone the DELETED CITY COUNCIL COMMENTS.

You are a true American Hero.

Will the City Council use their 3 minute limit with their KILL SWITCH if anyone goes beyond their allocated time at the next city council meeting on August 9TH that ASKS FOR AN EXPLANATION OF THEIR DELETED ACTIONS?

I have paid a LOT of TAX money and the roads around us HAVE NOT BEEN FIXED EVER. I want to see a accountability WHERE our money has gone, I want to see a list of EACH ROAD THAT HAS BEEN REPAIRED AND MAINTAINED in the 10 years. Every resident SHOULD DEMAND to see a SPREADSHEET that a layman can understand WHERE DID OUR LAST ROAD MONEY GO? I do NOT TRUST Shauna Clark the City Manager or City Council with our money. WHY DIDN'T they or WHY don't they tell us EXACTLY HOW THE MONEY will be spent. I have VOTED NO and others I have spoken too have voted NO. It is too vague and was written poorly with NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

Another concern I have is will the city show us ALL the competitive bids for ALL the past road work. I wonder if the city has followed the law with bids? Will L. A. County and California State authorities check into ALL the previous city bids checking the city, if it followed the law and there were no connections to city officials, commissioners and committee members for financial gain?

I URGE all residents to VOTE NO. Look at your property tax statement, add another $500+ to it. Does that make YOU HAPPY especially when there is no accountability? If you ask Shauna Clark for a spreadsheet of all past road work, will she give it to you? My guess is NO, Shauna Clark the City Manager will not give you the truth.
Highlander

AOL

#7 Jul 24, 2012
Resident wrote:
I URGE all residents to VOTE NO. Look at your property tax statement, add another $500+ to it. Does that make YOU HAPPY especially when there is no accountability? If you ask Shauna Clark for a spreadsheet of all past road work, will she give it to you? My guess is NO, Shauna Clark the City Manager will not give you the truth.
Even if she does give it to you, you probably will be criticized during the next council meeting for costing the city a lot of money by having the gall to make a public records request. She seems totally incapable of grasping the basic fact that public records belong to the public.

If you speak at council meetings without first getting the facts, you will be criticized for not knowing the facts. If you research the facts before you speak, you are criticized for costing the city money by making public records requests. Shauna and her representatives on the council do not want ANY public participation from anyone who is not a member of their little clique. Other than paying taxes, of course.

This includes any sort of community participation, whether city sponsored or not. Based on her published e-mails to the then-secret “public safety committee,” she even seems to be trying to tell the sheriff department which residents they can and cannot accept as sheriff volunteers (VOPs).

Not that it matters much. After seeing how the city has treated the VOPs during Shauna’s regime, virtually nobody seems to be volunteering anyway.

So pay your taxes and shut up.
Consistency

Valencia, CA

#8 Jul 24, 2012
We at least need to commend the Council for consistency.

They break the law to advocate for the illegal Road Tax.

Taxpayers should be consistent and band together to Vote NO.
Awake

New York, NY

#9 Oct 15, 2013
I have been awoken by the recent revelations of information the city has taken our taxes and put them in a hidden bank account to use as they please. This is very distrubing news because I remember the City Council wanted us to vote for the Road Tax when the city had money all along.
Will City Council explain this?

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