By Guest Columnist Michael Ceremello, Former Vice Mayor and Council member of the City of Dixon –
In light of the current events surrounding the termination of our police chief, Jon Cox, I began wondering whose responsibility it was to enforce our municipal code. You know … the code Jack Batchelor ignores when it is to his advantage and the other four lunkheads have never taken the time to read. I also wanted to know what the penalty is for violating these ordinances. It was suggested that I look at our own ordinances. I did a little more than that.
The basics are these. Under Dixon Municipal Code we have:
1.06.020 Responsibility for enforcement.
The City Manager and his or her designated representative shall be responsible for the enforcement of all provisions of this code. [Ord. 03-006.]
1.06.030 Responsibility for prosecution.
The City Attorney, and/or the District Attorney of the County, may prosecute violations of the provisions of this code, or take such other legal action as may be required to secure compliance with the provisions of this code. [Ord. 03-006.]
1.06.050 Violations – General penalty – Public nuisance.
A. It is unlawful to violate any of the provisions of this code, or to do any act prohibited by this code, or to omit or fail to do any act required by this code.
B. Except where violation of this code is expressly made a misdemeanor, the violation of any provision of this code shall be punishable as an infraction. Penalties for infraction and misdemeanor violations of this code shall be the same as those provided in the general laws of this State; provided, however, that the Council may by resolution establish a bail schedule for specified sections of this code, which bail schedule shall be transmitted by the City Clerk to the Presiding Judge of Solano County.
C. In addition to any other remedy or provision of law, the violation of any of the provisions of this code, or the doing of any act prohibited by this code, or the omission or failure to do any act required by this code, is hereby declared to constitute a public nuisance. [Ord. 03-006.]
So now we know that it is the responsibility of the Solano County District Attorney, Krishna Abrams, and her staff to address our complaints if they so deem. We obviously cannot trust the city liar lawyer to enforce the law because he has complicity in breaking them. I am speaking specifically of this code:
2.09.040 Powers and duties of City Manager.
C. Removal and Appointment of Officers and Employees. To appoint and remove any officers and employees of the City, except the elected officers and their respective staffs, subject to ratification by the City Council in the case of department heads.
Let’s briefly look at the facts. One, Jon Cox was fired by the city manager. Two, no action was taken by the city council to “ratify” the action. Three, no public announcement was made by the city liar or council that they had notified Chief Cox 24 hours in advance of any hearing of the complaint against him.
No matter what the accusations are against the Chief, this council once again violated its own ordinance. The penalty as stated is this is an infraction. So what does that mean?
From Wikipedia: An infraction is a public offense, but arguably not a crime, and is not punishable by imprisonment. Any person convicted of an infraction may only be punished by a fine, removal and/or disqualification from public office. Typically, most infractions are punished with a fine only.
This is quite interesting because I didn’t know you could be removed from office or what type of infraction would qualify for this severe action. I do know that if you own a business and have the governing board of the agency make a contract with your company, the penalty is removal from office. That is a violation of fair political practice code and AB 1234. This is what Robert Hanson did at Solano Irrigation District while he was a director on their board. People knew about it, could prove it, but never stepped forward. Last I heard, one of these guys was hiding out on an island up North.
From Shouse California Law Group: Infractions are punishable by a maximum $250 fine.2
While a $250 dollar fine doesn’t seem like a whole lot of money and it isn’t, the public embarrassment and humiliation is worth far more. I assume that continuous violation of the law would be a matter of likewise violating public trust. However, I doubt any district attorney would attempt to bar a councilman from his office unless the violation specifically called for it. The DA would leave that to us through the recall process.
To show you my “fair and balanced” approach, also under 2.09.040 Powers and duties of City Manager is this:
K. Investigation into City Affairs. To make investigation into the affairs of the City, and any department or division thereof, and any contract, or the proper performance of any obligations of the City.
L. Investigation of Complaints Concerning Administration of City Government. To investigate all complaints in relation to matters concerning the administration of the City government and in regard to the service maintained by public utilities in the City, and to see that all franchises, permits, and privileges granted by the City are faithfully performed and observed.
Under our municipal code, the city manager has the ability to investigate anything related to “city affairs” or “complaints concerning the administration” of city government. This does not mean that the city manager is a criminal investigator, a specialized investigator for insurance fraud, or capable of making decisions about the legality of actions of employees outside of the scope of performing their duties.
While Jim Lindley may be under some delusion of grandeur about his responsibilities, this is clearly beyond the scope of his office as defined in this code. I checked all of the additional sections and nothing states that he is to investigate charges better off decided in court.
I had been thinking about this situation for some time. How do you convict a person of a crime outside of court, remove him from his position and office, then turn over the evidence to the DA and the State DA to see if they want to prosecute? I am sure this is going to be even more laughable after we hear the actual charges, of which I now am knowledgeable. I leave that for you to decide after hearing them in person Thursday night.
It also seems that the code gives the Chief some additional remedies. As with most disagreements, civil court is the proper venue to dispose of the conflict rather than some kangaroo court presided over by five ignoramuses.
1.05.050 Judicial review:
Judicial review of any decisions made by the City Council or by any City officer, agency, commission or board pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1094.5 may be made only if the petition for writ of mandate is filed within the time limits specified in this section.
A. Any such petition shall be filed not later than the ninetieth day following the date on which the decision becomes final. If there is no provision for reconsideration of the decision in any applicable ordinance or rule, then, for the purposes of this section, the decision is final on the date it is made. If there is such a provision for reconsideration, the decision is final for the purposes of this section upon the expiration of the period during which such reconsideration can be sought; provided, that if reconsideration is sought pursuant to any such provision, the decision is final for the purposes of this section on the date that reconsideration is rejected.
B. If the petitioner requests a record of the proceedings, the City may, pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1094.6(c), recover from the petitioner the actual costs for transcribing or otherwise preparing the record.
C. If the petitioner files a request for the record within ten (10) days after the date the decision becomes final, the time within which a petition pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1094.5 may be filed shall be extended to not later than the thirtieth day following the date on which the record is either personally delivered or mailed to the petitioner or his attorney of record.
D. As used in this section, “decision” means an adjudicatory, administrative decision made after hearing, suspending, demoting, or dismissing an officer or employee, revoking or denying an application for a permit or license, or denying an application for any retirement or allowance.
E. In making a final decision, the City shall provide notice to the party regarding the time within which judicial review must be sought. [Ord. 07-002.]
So what is my point in bringing any of this to your attention? I have given you multiple reasons of incompetence displayed by these despicable dogs of debate. This is just one of the reasons these churls should be recalled. My point precisely is they need to be recalled, period.
On that note, I must say I am pleased with the response to an initial week of gathering signatures. Once again, three ladies have led the charge. I have been busy preparing walking lists for each individual street in Dixon. In addition, I would like to thank others who have volunteered on their own to also help us. The snowball is rolling down hill and it is gathering momentum.
I would hope that this council doesn’t pull a “Clinton” and take the silverware with them when they leave. By this I mean they have done enough damage and need to refrain from attempting any other large project until the decision is made by you, the People, to either recall them or let them continue their merry mad maniacal march towards Dixon’s demise.
A booth set up on Butch Azevedo’s property at the corner of A and Pitt School was well attended by many of those of you who couldn’t wait to sign these petitions. It will be available for you again this weekend tentatively from 10 am to 5 pm. I, as well as a number of others, will be walking door to door.
It is time to say we have had enough. Many are and the chant is only going to get louder after Thursday. This is being truly positive and the action itself is positive.
Maybe someone can explain this concept to Scat …