monterey county notice and demand redux
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monterey county notice and demand redux

Editors Notes:

Is it too much to expect an answer to a simple question from so-called "public servants?"

The question asked on August 29th was ignored. Unless they intend to double down on their illegal actions, perhaps this will elicit a response.

Agreed, it's an inconvenient question, so they can't answer it without admitting that what they're doing is illegal. Tough! That's why they get the big bucks, right?

This letter was sent on October 2, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.

It is a follow up the letter that was sent on August 28, 2017.

NOTICE AND DEMAND (REDUX)

TO:

Claudio Valenzuela
Monterey County Registrar of Voters
1444 Schilling Pl North, Salinas, CA 93901

Luis Alejo
John M. Phillips
Simon Salinas
Jane Parker
Mary L. Adams
Office of Clerk of the Board
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
166 W Alisal St, Salinas, CA 93901

Charles J. McKee
County Counsel, County of Monterey
166 W Alisal St, Salinas, CA 93901

Dr. Nancy Kotowski
Monterey County Superintendent of Schools
901 Blanco Cir, Salinas, CA 93901

Mary A. Zeeb
Treasurer-Tax Collector, County of Monterey
166 W Alisal St, Salinas, CA 93901

RE: North Monterey County Unified School District ("District") Bond Elections

October 2, 2017

While this letter is primarily directed at the Registrar of Voters, you all have a statutory role in connection with school district bond elections. Furthermore, you have all taken an oath to uphold the laws of California.

RECAP

On August 29, 2017, in response to County Counsel McKee's silly reply to the Notice and Demand and his incomprehensible performance at the Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting earlier in the day, I posed this question to him and all of you (collectively, as before).

As of August 3, 2017, at what regularly scheduled local election were all of the electors of the school district entitled to vote?

As of today, not a single one of you have answered that question, which is at the root of this issue.

Without citing any facts in his short letter, McKee makes a patently false claim.

The November 2017 election is a regularly scheduled election and all electors of the District are entitled to vote.

It's easy to be dismissive when you can fabricate facts with a simple statement. Notice how he didn't qualify the second clause with "at that election." Lawyers are experts at word trickery.

Are all of the electors of the district "entitled" to vote in the governing board elections for Trustee Areas 2 or 4? McKee is willfully ignorant when he wants to be. If basic reading comprehension isn't enough for you to reach that conclusion, the actual facts, below, will demonstrate that they are not.

McKee is incapable of providing a single example, as he is wont to do, of a case where the operative language of Education 15266(a) that is at issue would apply.

The original Notice and Demand was intended to be simple and focused. Since McKee was unwilling to do anything more than speak to the District's lawyer to get the official line, I am now going into the detail I'd presumed you would all have knowledge of.

As a lawyer and public official, McKee, who has taken at least two oaths, demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the California Constitution when he glibly stated at the meeting that it would take a judge to answer the question. The Constitution divides government into three departments, two of which are represented by you and each department has that capability. Each of you can answer the question. What McKee was really alluding to was that it would take a judge to force you to follow the law.

McKee himself didn't ask a judge. He asked the District's lawyer. How pathetic is that? Did either produce a written opinion applying the facts to the law?

ELECTIONS

According to McKee's discussion at the BOS meeting, because the legislature has set November 7, 2017 as an "established" election date [Election Code 1000(b)], all voters, not only in Monterey County, but in the entire state are "entitled" to vote on that date. One might hope that the world would conform to McKee's simplistic, sophomoric analysis, but the legislature had other ideas.

The fact is that an established "election date" is not an "election." An election must be called in either a proclamation by the governor, or a resolution known as the "specifications of the election order" [Education Code 5322] by officials with the authority to do so. McKee must inherently know this, but feigns ignorance to dismiss an issue that doesn't fit the agenda of his cronies.

The District's governing board does not have the authority to call an election for its "directors," but one of you does. Why are you silent? (I'll leave it to you provide the citation, since it's your job.)

The Election Code and the Education Code intertwine in the area of elections. Many code sections are qualified and conditional in that they apply only to a specified situation and sometimes to even a specified district. Sorting it out takes a little effort.

For the purposes of this discussion Election Code 1000(bd) establishes the election date for all school district in California.

The first Tuesday after the first Monday in MarchNovember of each odd-numbered year.

Elections occurring on that established date are governed by the Uniform District Election Law [Election Code 10500 to 10556]. These elections are exclusively for "elective officers of districts." [Election Code 10501]

The notice for the regularly scheduled election is required to be provided 125 days prior to the election date. [Election Code 10509] This year that deadline was July 5th.

On the 125th day prior to the day fixed for the general district election, the secretary shall deliver a notice to the county elections official. The notice shall bear the secretary's signature and the district seal and shall also contain both of the following:

(a) The elective offices of the district to be filled at the next general district election, specifying which offices, if any, are for the balance of an unexpired term.
(b) Whether the district or the candidate is to pay for the publication of a statement of qualifications pursuant to Section 13307.

Similarly, the district must specify the "boundaries of the district and the boundaries of the divisions" [Election Code 10522] where a "director" [Election Code 10500(b)] is to be elected. The District specified two divisions and explicitly not an "at large" election.

At least 125 days prior to the day fixed for the general district election, the secretary of a resident voting district shall deliver to the county elections official of each affected county a map showing the boundaries of the district and the boundaries of the divisions of the district, if any, within that county and a statement indicating in which divisions a director is to be elected and whether any elective officer is to be elected at large at the next general district election.

PUBLIC NOTICE

The notice, above, is required to be published as a public notice AND a press release. [Election Code 12112]

(a) At least 90 days, and not more than 120 days, before the day fixed for the general district election, the elections official of the principal county shall publish a notice of the election once in a newspaper of general circulation published in the district or, if no such newspaper is published in the district, in a newspaper having general circulation in the district published in any affected county in the district. The notice shall contain the date of the general district election, name the offices for which candidates may file, and state the qualifications required by the principal act for each office. The notice shall state the location where official declarations of candidacy for eligible candidates desiring to file for any of the elective offices may be obtained, the office in which completed declarations of candidacy are required to be filed, and the date and time after which no declarations of candidacy may be accepted for filing. The notice shall state that appointment to each elective office will be made as prescribed by Section 10515 in the event there are no nominees or an insufficient number of nominees for the office and a petition for an election is not filed with the elections official within the time period prescribed by Section 10515.
(b) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (a), the county elections official shall, by a general press release, set forth both of the following:
(1) The elective offices of the district to be filled at the ensuing district election.
(2) A telephone number that voters of the district may utilize in order to obtain information regarding filing for the elective district office. [Election Code 12112]

The public notice for the regularly scheduled election was dated July 7, 2017 and published on July 13, 2017. In relevant part, it notifies the public that candidates for two trustee areas are scheduled to be elected. This was an all-inclusive public notice issued for the entire territory of Monterey County.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that an election shall be held on Tuesday, the 7th day of November 2017 for voters residing within the boundaries of the North Monterey County Unified School District.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN TO ALL QUALIFIED PERSONS that elections will be held in the following offices within the County of Monterey, State of California, United States for the purpose of electing members as follows:

School District

North Monterey County Unified School District, Trustee Area 2, one seat, 4-year term

North Monterey County Unified School District, Trustee Area 4, one seat, 4-year term

With respect to the options provided for trustee area elections, years ago the District chose the by-district method for electing trustees.

That one or more members residing in each trustee area be elected by the registered voters of that particular trustee area. [Education Code 5030(b)]

It follows that a "regular election to select governing board members" for two trustee areas does not make it an election "at which all of the electors of the school district ... are entitled to vote." [Education Code 15266(a)]

Except as provided in subdivision (b), the regular election to select governing board members in any school district, community college district, or county board of education shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each odd-numbered year. [Election Code 1302(a)]

McKee stuttered and mumbled at the BOS meeting something to the effect that, under the Notice and Demand's analysis, school districts would never be able to put a bond on the ballot at a governing board election because trustees are elected in staggered terms, usually two at one election and three at the other. That ridiculous statement is beyond the pale unless McKee intended to mislead you. As an example, because McKee likes examples, Glendora Unified and La Canada Unified both in Los Angeles County both have legal bond elections on November 7th. What's the difference? Those districts elect their "directors" at large where the entire district votes for the top two or three candidates. Perhaps country lawyers in Monterey County can't grasp this.

Brian Quint (District bond counsel), who wrote the bond resolutions, appears to be confused about the law too. Perhaps the District should have hired a big-city lawyer. In both District Resolution Nos. 2017-1802 and 2017-1803, Quint falsely "finds" the crucial fact:

WHEREAS, on November 7, 2017, a special election is scheduled to occur throughout the District;

The November 7th election is neither a "special election" within the meaning of the Election Code nor "scheduled to occur throughout the District." At least Quint got the date right.

Just prior to the falsehood, Quint mis-paraphrases the mandated rule from Education Code 15266(a):

WHEREAS, such a bond election must be conducted concurrent with a statewide general election, general election [sic - How much is Quint going to charge for this garbage?] or special election, or at a regularly scheduled local election, as required by section 15266 of the California Education Code;

The November 7th election is certainly not a "statewide .. special election" within the mandate of Education Code 15266(a).

CONSOLIDATION

Quint further confuses things in Section 7 of the resolutions by citing Education Code 15266(a) as the consolidation authority, which it is not.

Pursuant to section 15266(a) of the California Education Code, the election shall be consolidated with the special election on November 7, 2017.

Again Quint refers to the "special election" to confuse the matter even further.

Education Code 5340 et seq. and Election Code 10400 et seq. specify the rules for consolidating elections. The basic purpose of consolidation is to ensure "that a person entitled to vote in both or all of such elections may do so at the same time and place and using the same ballot." [Education Code 5340]

Election Code 10400 is the operative statute for the consolidation of elections that are not school district governing board member elections. The conditional clause opening 10400 is "Whenever two or more elections ... are held on the same day, in the same territory ... they may be consolidated ..."

Whenever two or more elections, including bond elections, of any legislative or congressional district, public district, city, county or other political subdivision are called to be held on the same day, in the same territory, or in territory that is in part the same, they may be consolidated pursuant to this chapter upon the order of the governing body or bodies or officer or officers calling the elections. [Election Code 10400]

The territories of Trustee Areas 1, 3, and 5 don't have any regularly scheduled election of any kind. Because there is no contest in Trustee Area 2, the single qualified candidate is deemed elected and not placed on a ballot for voters to see.

The premise for consolidation is always that are at least two elections covering the "same" territory. In the case of the District, for Trustee Areas 1, 3, and 5, and arguably for Trustee Area 4, there is no other election to consolidate with either of the bond measure elections.

If this were truly a consolidated district-wide election, why is the Registrar preparing and charging for two styles of ballots? Think about it. Look at the ballot styles.

This is exactly what the legislature intended to prohibit. Why? Because it's patently unfair to property owners who will be surprised by an under-the-radar election that may as well have been conducted in secret.

Of course, that's what the school bonds cartel, represented by people like Connell Lindh, Quint, California Financial Services, and Superintendent Kari Yeater want -- unobstructed exaction of their pound of flesh to satisfy their insatiable desire for profit and self-aggrandizement.

EPILOG

After a month of stonewalling using its high-powered lawyers, I learned something new from the District.

Yeater comforted the trustees in her message of August 30, 2017 that the district has broken the law in the past and gotten away with it, so it's all good. Yeater admits that the November 5, 2013 election at which Measure H was placed on the ballot, while having only Trustee Areas 1, 3, and 5 regularly scheduled, had no contested trustee elections, leaving Measure H on the ballot all by itself. Therefore, there was not even an election to consolidate the Measure H election with.

Despite Yeater's ad hominem, prejudiced, mischaracterization of me, I am not anti-bond. I am a public-corruption watchdog. As scofflaw-in-chief, Yeater doesn't appreciate that the oath she took actually means anything.

The District, apparently in cahoots with the Registrar of Voters, violated the law before. When Valenzuela spoke at the BOS meeting, he, conveniently, didn't mention the official election records -- the public notices, did he?

CONCLUSION

The demand that you cancel the two bond elections known as measures E and F has not been withdrawn.

No informalities in the conduct of the general district election or any matters related to it shall invalidate the election if fairly conducted. [Election Code 10556]

While the code, generally, preserves the validity of an election for minor failures to comply with the law, that is not the case at hand. The legislature has explicitly and intentionally withheld authority for a governing board to put Proposition 39 bond measures on the ballot when there are no other elections ordered that include the entire territory of the district.

You can still save the taxpayers part of the estimated $271,860 that these illegal elections will cost them.

If you continue with your agenda of obstruction and conduct a patently unfair election to impose at least $154,621,300 in taxes on unwary property owners, and mail the sample ballot booklets, you will bring the outcome of the election into question and the entire county election process into disrepute.

But apparently that's your modus operandi, since you "consolidated" and held an election on November 5, 2013 (Measure H) for this same district when the only item on the entire ballot for the district voters was that bond measure. Having gotten away with it before, perhaps you feel emboldened that you can again take advantage of poor and disadvantaged voters who don't have the education, the power, and the connections to protect themselves from thieves in suits.

When you undermine the election process for the benefit of anyone, you bring into question the fairness of the process for all elections. Once brought to light, how many other procedures, such as the ballot measure argument process, will we now find the Registrar tipping the scales in favor of one side? (More to come on that.)

Is it your primary duty as alleged "public servants" to aid and abet other alleged "public servants" and private parties to steal $154,621,300 from the poor county taxpayers and give to the rich bankers, financiers, lawyers, and investors?

You're on notice. Thus far, you've chosen to ignore the unlawfulness of your conduct. There's still time to correct the situation and cut the taxpayers' losses.

Sincerely,

Richard Michael, Web Site Owner
California School Bonds Clearinghouse

P.S. You as a group are currently raking in over $2,000,000 a year from Monterey County taxpayers. You are the 1%. Are you not getting paid enough to honor your oaths to support and uphold the law?

2016 Total Pay and Benefits (Transparent California)
$183,821.74 Claudio E Valenzuela
$111,781.29* Luis Alejo
$151,941.14 John Phillips
$170,480.71 Simon Salinas
$170,619.71 Jane Parker
$ 30,636.21* Mary L Adams
$319,530.05 Charles McKee
$264,654.09 Nancy J Kotowski
$248,231.04 Mary A Zeeb

$248,929.34 Kari Yeater

* Pay for previous government position. It will be substantially higher for 2017.

 


Copyright © 2015-2017, Richard Michael. All Rights Reserved.