blog 2018 08 17 criminal public officials ethical lawyers
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Criminal Public Officials - Ethical Lawyers?
August 17, 2018

I continue to focus on the criminal remedies against the school bonds cartel. Why? Primarily, because in order to pass a Proposition 39 bond measure, invariably, elected and public officials cross over to the dark side and commit crimes -- some petty (misdemeanor) but many grand (felony). They do it because they can -- and because the public is too busy or too ill-informed or misinformed AND too lazy to do anything about it.

As we approach the 2018 General Election, many crimes have already been committed. Many more will have been committed before it's over.

Are some ethical lawyers out there? Ethics for school bonds cartel lawyers is a function of whether they have a financial interest in the outcome of an election or keeping the business of a school or college district. Best Best & Krieger LLP ("BBK") is one of the more prominent private law firms that represent government agencies. I haven't done a deep dive on BBK's school bonds activity, so I haven't formed an opinion on its ethics with respect to school bonds. It does have a financial stake -- it's been bond counsel on 40 issuances for a total of $1,328,409,736 for K-14 general obligation bonds since 2001 with its most recent issuance in June 2017. A billion might sound like a lot, but it's a rounding error compared to the big three which have issued over $100 billion. Still, it's charged reported fees of $1,404,854, so it's about right in the middle of the pack.

This past Wednesday, two lawyers from BBK held a very informative webinar that dealt with the do's and don'ts of electioneering by public officials and employees. The timing was intentional. Notably, the webinar also covered the duties of election officials and [county] counsel. Even though it didn't directly address school and college districts, almost all of it applies as well to our criminals. School officials are also subject to the same Government Code and Penal Code provisions as are county, city, and special district officials.

"Walking the Line" Public Agencies', Officials' and Employees' Roles in Local Elections

Walking the Line (Video)

Walking the Line (Slides)

Pay particular attention to the part that discusses what public resources are. The case that Mr. Price couldn't recall off the top of his head is San Leandro Teachers Assn. v. Governing Bd. of the San Leandro Unified School Dist. (2009) 46 Cal.4th 822, 835. This is a very important decision in our favor.

The two other important cases that he mentions throughout are: Stanson v. Mott (1976) and Vargas v. City of Salinas (2009).

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Don't bother with the webinar unless you plan on taking action. If you chose not to participate in the Registrar Project, which was much easier, why would you want to get up off your tukas and do something that involves more moving parts?

If you've finally awoke and you do want to do something, then go for it. If you want my assistance, you'll need to watch the webinar, maybe more than once and take notes. I will quiz you. You must also prepare a plan of action and allocate enough resources (time, people, money) to reasonably accomplish the plan. Miracles happen every day.

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