The Coast News Group
CommunityFeaturedNewsOld - DO NOT USE - The Coast NewsRancho Santa Fe

Citizens call for transparency during demonstration

ENCINITAS — At least 100 people gathered in front of City Hall before the regular City Council meeting on Oct. 13 to attend a “citizens revolt.” A group of self-described “concerned citizens” staged a protest against what they consider to be questionable business practices and ethics violations within the city government.
“We need T.N.T. from our government,” Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident Andrew Audet told the crowd. “Trust and transparency.”
“After voting favorably for friends who have business before the city, our mayor, Dan Dalager has shown us the tip of the iceberg of corruption at the ‘pay for play’ City Hall,” according to the group. Audet told the crowd that, “City Hall is not for sale.”
Steve Meiche, a Leucadia resident, called for Dalager’s resignation. In fact, when a large number of the protesters went inside to attend the City Council meeting, Meiche and Audet made their demand directly to Dalager. “It’s ridiculous what you’ve done, you need to step down,” Meiche told Dalager. “If you get elected again, we’re going to recall you.”
Dalager called the resignation demand election year politics and dismissed the allegations of ethics violations. He has stated publicly that he “screwed up” by not reporting a $100,000 loan on forms required by elected officials as well as accepting a deeply discounted set of kitchen appliances from a person with business in front of the council.
Meiche also questioned the management of the city’s interim city manager, who retired this summer but has been retained on a monthly salary of $15,000 until a replacement is hired. “I’m disgusted in you,” Meiche told Cotton. “City Hall stinks.”
Others expressed concern about the unsustainable pension obligations that the city has and said that the true financials are being covered up. Charlie McDermot told the crowd that the financial obligations have caused a “tsunami of pension costs.”
“These are superior obligations which means that they get paid before any other city services,” McDermot said.
Access to public documents was another topic of concern the group brought up. Attorney Diane Bond said the council repeatedly violates the state’s open government law — the Brown Act — by giving inadequate notice of closed session meetings to the public. “They (council members) destroy city related e-mails, they keep documents from the public by labeling them drafts,” she said. “This is completely against the spirit of the law.”
“I think it’s too bad that we have to march in order to be heard,” Patricia Townsend said. “I’m not very politically involved and I generally think things are OK with the city, but if this is even a little bit true we need to get some answers,” she said.


Olivenhain October 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm

"nonsense to artificially concern good people like yourself" is so condescending!
I think I can understand that Dan Dalager admitted getting below market appliances from someone with business he voted for. The Gordans confirmed it too. I think I can understand that he took a $100,000 loan from Dan Shelley, a local developer with interest in a property that Danny voted for. I also think I can recognize a conflict of interest and a vote (actually votes) where Dan should have recused himself. I also recognize a politician trying to avoid the issue by not opening up his loan or appliances to public scrutiny.
Danny is either crooked or stupid or both. Either way, I don’t want him administering my $53 million dollar City budget. Vote for anyone but the crooked Mayor. Clean up City Hall.

morticia October 15, 2010 at 8:53 am

there is a lawsuit pending against the City for failure to release the Street Maintenance Report, which the City only released after the lawsuit was filed, despite the fact the report was finalized in March 2010, requested by the public in July 2010, and a lawsuit filed in August 2010 because the City refused to release it, calling it a draft! This report was withheld for political reasons, it shows that Dalager lied when he boasted the streets were in good repair, the report shows the City is 17 million dollars behind in deferred maintenance. Why does it take a lawsuit for the City to follow the law?

watchdog5 October 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Don’t be so naive. It is not so easy to prove stuff that people are trying to hide..especially access to documents and emails. Just because someone has not filed a law suit does not mean that there is nothing wrong. Look at the city of Bell….
A more serious matter is the fact that the three men got their heads together and voted themselves into power and manage go control everything with the help of the City Manager.
By keeping items off the agenda they effectively vote without the issues even having to come to the council meetings. Vote for Teresa Barth and Tony Kranz.
Stop calling all this hanky panky at city hall the result of election smearing……Dan Dalager got himself into all this hot water all by himself and no amount of "poor Danny" can change that.

Dear Patricia October 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm

None of it is true. If it were, the attorney would have successfully sued the city, forced a change of policy, and collected fees or her trouble. She hasn’t, because this is just election nonesense to artificially concern good people such as yourself.

Comments are closed.