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Email: Brown Act complaint by Hercules Councilwoman Myrna de Vera against Mayor Dan Romero

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					-----Original Message-----
From: "Myrna de Vera" <MdeVera@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 2:44pm
To: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>
Cc: "Steve Duran" <SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>, "John Delgado"
<JDelgado@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Subject: Brown Act Violation


     Dear Patrick,

     I am making a formal complaint that the Brown Act was violated by
     Dan Romero to obtain the mayor position. He has been lobbying the
     other council members to get the mayoral position since 2 months
     ago when John Delgado disclosed to Liz Warmerdam that he
     wanted to wait his turn to be mayor in 2013. I was inadvertently
     brought into that conversation by the other council members who
     asked me to "open my mind" about having Dan Romero as our next
     mayor.

     The violation was perceived by some in the public, as attested by
     Don Kuehne's comments to Tom Lochner in a recent West County
     article. Romero's prepared speech, Bill Wilkins' turning down my
     nomiation, Gerard Boulanger's nomination of Dan all looked
     concerted and pre-planned.

     I am very disappointed and saddened that the same old politics is
     happening on the council that ran on ethics reform. Please do not
     disappoint me, our new city attorney, by ignoring this matter. We
     need to rise up to the highest standard of ethics.

     Sincerely,

     Myrna de Vera
     Council Member
     City of Hercules




                                   1
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Myrna de Vera
Date: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 8:55 AM
Subject: Menlo Park Case - Brown Act Violation
To: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>
Cc: Steve Duran <SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>, John Delgado
<JDelgado@ci.hercules.ca.us>


     Here is a similar situation and how it was resolved:

     http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=151698&title=
     DA:%20Menlo%20Park%20councilwoman%20violated%20Brown%
     20Act

     I would like to have this matter agendized as an urgency matter in
     closed session on Dec 20. Thank you.


     Myrna de Vera
     Council Member
     City of Hercules

     CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message and/or its
     attachments may contain information that is confidential, restricted,
     and/or protected by law. It is intended only for the individual(s)
     named as recipients in the message. If you are NOT an authorized
     recipient, you are prohibited from using, delivering, distributing,
     printing, copying, or disclosing the message or content to others and
     must delete the message from your computer. If you have received
     this message in error, please notify the sender by return
     email. Thank you for your cooperation.




                                    2
-----Original Message-----
From: "Myrna de Vera" <MdeVera@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 9:36am
To: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>, "Steve Duran"
<SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Cc: "Doreen Mathews" <doreen.mathews@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Subject: Add Closed Session Item Dec 20 - Brown Act Violation - urgency
issue


      Please add an item to our closed session on December 20, Brown
      Act Violation. Thank you.


      Myrna de Vera
      Council Member
      City of Hercules

      CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message and/or its
      attachments may contain information that is confidential, restricted,
      and/or protected by law. It is intended only for the individual(s)
      named as recipients in the message. If you are NOT an authorized
      recipient, you are prohibited from using, delivering, distributing,
      printing, copying, or disclosing the message or content to others and
      must delete the message from your computer. If you have received
      this message in error, please notify the sender by return email.
      Thank you for your cooperation.



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Myrna de Vera
Date: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM
Subject: Emergency Meeting - Brown Act violation
To: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>
Cc: Steve Duran <SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>


      Dear Patrick,

      Please schedule an emergency meeting regarding the possible
      Brown Act violation of Dan Romero. See the article below on how


                                    3
      Menlo Park handled the issue.
     http://californiacitynews.typepad.com/californiacitynewsorg/2010/12/
     menlo-park-mayor-resigns-over-brown-act-violation-2nd-alleged-
     violation.html

     http://menlopark.patch.com/articles/fergusson-resigns-city-
     leadership-post


     Myrna de Vera
     Council Member
     City of Hercules

     CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message and/or its
     attachments may contain information that is confidential, restricted,
     and/or protected by law. It is intended only for the individual(s)
     named as recipients in the message. If you are NOT an authorized
     recipient, you are prohibited from using, delivering, distributing,
     printing, copying, or disclosing the message or content to others and
     must delete the message from your computer. If you have received
     this message in error, please notify the sender by return
     email. Thank you for your cooperation.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Myrna de Vera <MdeVera@ci.her
Date: Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 9:19 AM
Subject: Emergency Agenda Item - Brown Act Violation of Mayor Selection
To: Doreen Mathews <doreen.mathews@ci.hercules.ca.us>,
"ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>, Steve Duran
<SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Cc: John Delgado <JDelgado@ci.hercules.ca.us>


     Again, I am requesting that the potential brown act violation of the
     mayor selection be put on the Tuesday, December 20 meeting as an
     urgency item in closed session and open session.

     Thank you,

     Myrna de Vera
     Council Member


                                   4
     City of Hercules
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Myrna de Vera
Date: Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 10:21 AM
Subject: Please DO NOT DELAy tackling the Brown Act Violation
To: ptang@jarvisfay.com


     Dear Patrick,

     I have not heard if you are going to add this item as an urgency
     matter. It is truly an urgency matter and cannot be pushed to after
     the holidays. By Tuesday, you should have an answer to how to
     address Dan Romero's solicitation of letting him be the next Mayor.
     There is already Menlo Park as a precedent. What else is there to
     research? Brown Act violations are the most basic of city attorney
     duties, so you cannot delay this with excuses of "researching".

     Rescinding Romero's appointment to Mayor is the solution, as Menlo
     Park had done in a special meeting. (although the Mayor resigned
     before the embarrassment of rescinding could occur.)

     I apologize for being persistent, but this issue is very serious. I
     cannot close my eyes to what is an act of government corruption by
     Dan Romero and the rest of the council members. It is a very sad
     state we are in, Corruption, apathy, and laziness continues among
     council members. But This must be addressed and consequences
     brought forth IMMEDIATELY.

     Myrna




                                   5
-----Original Message-----
From: ptang@jarvisfay.com
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 8:22pm
To: "Myrna de Vera" <mdevera@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Cc: "Steve Duran" <sduran@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Subject: RE: Alleged Brown Act Violation
___________________________________________________________
       CONFIDENTIAL - Attorney-Client Privileged

    Dear Councilmember de Vera:

    On Thursday, December 15, 2011, you sent by email to me, copied
    to Steve Duran and Vice Mayor Delgado, a formal complaint that the
    Brown Act has been violated because you believe a quorum or more
    of the council engaged in serial meetings to discuss who would be
    appointed mayor, prior to the appointment of Dan Romero as Mayor
    on December 13.

    I am confirming your several emails regarding this matter, most
    recently your request to schedule this for discussion at the
    December 20 Special Council meeting. I will also forward this email
    to the entire Council and the City Manager, so that they are aware of
    your concerns and my response to you.

    As I indicated to you on the phone this evening, I cannot schedule
    this matter for discussion at the December 20 city council meeting.
    The allegations you have raised will require that I investigate the
    matter before I can make a recommendation to the Council.

    As a first and necessary step, I will need to take your statement.
    Please let me know of your availability for this purpose.

    I am advising that you and all recipients of this email refrain from
    discussing the allegations while the matter is being looked into.

    Regards,
    ______________________

    PATRICK TANG
    Jarvis, Fay, Doporto & Gibson, LLP
    492 Ninth St., Suite 310
    Oakland, CA 94607

    patrick@jarvisfay.com


                                         6
    510-332-5001
     ----------------------------------------------------------------------




-----Original Message-----
From: ptang@jarvisfay.com
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 8:36pm
To: "Dan Romero" <danromero@ci.hercules.ca.us>, "John Delgado"
<jdelgado@ci.hercules.ca.us>, "Gerard Boulanger"
<gboulanger@ci.hercules.ca.us>, "William Wilkins"
<wwilkins@ci.hercules.ca.us>, "Steve Duran" <sduran@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Cc: "Myrna de Vera" <mdevera@ci.hercules.ca.us>
Subject: FW: RE: Alleged Brown Act Violation


     CONFIDENTIAL - Attorney-Client Privileged

     Dear Mayor Romero, Vice Mayor Delgado, Councilmembers
     Boulanger, Wilkins and deVera, and City Manager Steven Duran:

     I am copying to you my response to Councilmember de Vera
     regarding her December 15th, 2011 written complaint that the Brown
     Act was violated prior to the selection of Mr. Romero as Mayor on
     December 13. Councilmember de Vera is alleging that the
     appointment was discussed between a quorum or more of the
     Council prior to a public vote on the matter.

     If any of you have any questions concerning the process for
     investigating this matter, you may call me directly. Otherwise, as I
     indicated in my email to Councilmember de Vera (see below), I am
     advising that all recipients of this email refrain from discussing the
     allegations while the matter is being looked into.

     Sincerely,

     ______________________

     PATRICK TANG
     Jarvis, Fay, Doporto & Gibson, LLP
     492 Ninth St., Suite 310
     Oakland, CA 94607

     patrick@jarvisfay.com
     510-332-5001


                                                          7
       ----------------------------------------------------------------------




---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Myrna de Vera
Date: Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 9:05 PM
Subject: RE: Alleged Brown Act Violation
To: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>
Cc: Steve Duran <SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>


       Dear Patrick,

       I am available after the Special Meeting on December 20. Thank
       you.

       Myrna de Vera
       Council Member
       City of Hercules



From: ptang@jarvisfay.com [mailto:ptang@jarvisfay.com]
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 9:07 AM
To: Dan Romero
Cc: William Wilkins; John Delgado; Gerard Boulanger; Myrna de Vera; Steve Duran
Subject: RE: Councilmember DeVera's Brown Act complaint

       Dear Mayor Romero:

       Per your request, I am providing to you the email complaint from Councilwoman de Vera.
       As other councilmembers are identified in the email, I am copying the complaint to the full
       council.


       Regards,

       ______________________

       PATRICK TANG
       Jarvis, Fay, Doporto & Gibson, LLP
       492 Ninth St., Suite 310
       Oakland, CA 94607

       patrick@jarvisfay.com


                                                            8
       510-332-5001
     ----------------------------------------------------------------------

     This email and any transmission with it may contain privileged or otherwise confidential
     information. If you are not the intended recipient, or believe that you have received this
     communication in error, please advise the sender via reply email and delete the email
     you received.

     -----------------------------




From: ptang@jarvisfay.com [ptang@jarvisfay.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 1:22 PM
To: Myrna de Vera
Cc: Steve Duran
Subject: RE: Please DO NOT DELAy tackling the Brown Act Violation

     Dear Councilmember de Vera:

     Thank you for providing information regarding the determination of a
     Brown Act violation in Menlo Park. I have spoken with their city
     attorney and I have reviewed his reports to the Menlo Park City
     Council.

     I understand your wish for a speed resolution. Nevertheless, as
     indicated to you in a previous response from me concerning this
     topic, I have determined that this matter should not be heard at the
     special council meeting of December 20, 2011.

     In your subsequent December 18 email (below) you assert that this
     is an urgent matter that cannot be pushed to after the holidays. You
     further suggest that there is no need for extensive research, and
     thus no basis for delaying your request to agendize the matter for
     discussion and/or action before the council at tonight's special
     meeting. I respectfully disagree with your assessment, and I want to
     offer a full explanation as to why I do not agree.

     As I have previously informed you by telephone and email, I must
     undertake the necessary research and fact finding to determine if a
     Brown Act violation occurred. You have raised a serious allegation,
     and it requires a full, thorough, and responsible review of the law
     and the facts. I owe it to you, and to everyone involved, to take as

                                                          9
much time as necessary to address your concerns.

I wish to respond in particular to your demand that I provide by
Tuesday (today) an answer as to whether there was a Brown Act
violation. You wrote that,

“By Tuesday, you should have an answer to how to address Dan
Romero's solicitation of letting him be the next Mayor. There is
already Menlo Park as a precedent. What else is there to research?
Brown Act violations are the most basic of city attorney duties, so
you cannot delay this with excuses of "researching.”"

While there are some parallels, what transpired in the Menlo Park
situation that you have brought to my attention is not a precedent. In
the Menlo Park situation, the complainant filed a demand under
state law that must precede the commencement of an action by writ
of mandamus or injunction. The process triggered a statutorily
mandated requirement that the legislative body respond within a
specified period of time from the date of being served with the
written demand.

That is not the situation before me today. The complaint has been
made by you, a member of the legislative body, and in my opinion
does not constitute the commencement of an action pursuant to the
cure and correct provisions of state law. Furthermore, since you and
I did not have a chance to discuss your complaint until Friday
evening, with the intervening weekend it was not possible to arrange
interviews of all the councilmembers and prepare a recommendation
in advance of the December 20, 2011 Special Meeting.

Another significant factual distinction is that in the Menlo Park
matter, the appointed mayor resigned prior to the council meeting at
which corrective action was to be discussed and considered.

Finally, I would like to advise you that there is as yet no basis for me
to agree with you that, "(r)escinding Romero's appointment to Mayor
is the solution." There is as yet no determination that a violation of
the Brown Act has occurred, so that any discussion of rescinding
Mayor Romero's appointment is premature.

I am sure you understand that, as the city attorney, I have a legal
obligation to the municipal corporation and not to any individual


                               10
elected official, and while you may believe that a violation occurred,
     there is a process for determining whether there is evidence to
     support such a conclusion.

     I very much appreciate your understanding and respect for the legal
     process.



     Regards,
     ______________________

     PATRICK TANG
     Jarvis, Fay, Doporto & Gibson, LLP
     492 Ninth St., Suite 310
     Oakland, CA 94607

     patrick@jarvisfay.com
     510-332-5001

     ----------------------------------------------------------------------




---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Myrna de Vera
Date: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM
Subject: RE: Please DO NOT DELAy tackling the Brown Act Violation
To: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>
Cc: Steve Duran <SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>


     Dear Patrick,

     When I wrote the attached e-mail, I was very concerned that I
     perceived hesitation on your part to tackle the issue. I e-mailed you
     on December 15, and you called me late the next day, then received
     an e-mail acknowledgement only on December 18 after many e-
     mails from me. Why did it take you 3 days to formally acknowledge
     my complaint?

     I hope you understand my alarm and concern that my complaint was
     not acted on swiftly.

     I understand that you serve the entire Council, not individual

                                                         11
members.

I understand too that you do have to investigate the matter carefully
because the allegations could be false or have no basis.

I understand your reason for not having this matter on tonight's
agenda and have verbally told you so.

I am ready to give you a statement tonight.

My decision to file a formal complaint did not come lightly, and even
if I am just a member of the council, my report should be given as
much consideration and response as if it was coming from a citizen.

I believe I had to take this action to protect the integrity of the
council.


Regards,

Myrna de Vera
Council Member
City of Hercules



From: ptang@jarvisfay.com [ptang@jarvisfay.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 5:40 PM
To: Myrna de Vera
Cc: Steve Duran
Subject: RE: Please DO NOT DELAy tackling the Brown Act
Violation

Dear Councilmember de Vera:


Thank you for your response, and I appreciate your understanding.

Just to clarify, I believe I did respond to your Thursday afternoon
email with a responsive email sent the very next morning, indicating
that we should discuss your issue. I followed up with a telephone call
to you that evening, with a subsequent confirming email on Sunday.


                                 12
        I frankly do not think that the response you received suggests
        hesitation on my part nor do I view it as a failure on my part to act
        swiftly.

        Again, I want to emphasize that I take your allegations very
        seriously, and consider the need to address this issue a priority.

        Regards,

        ______________________
        PATRICK TANG

        Jarvis, Fay, Doporto & Gibson, LLP

        492 Ninth St., Suite 310
        Oakland, CA 94607


        patrick@jarvisfay.com<mailto:patrick@jarvisfay.com>
        510-332-5001

----------------------------------------------------------------------



This email and any transmission with it may contain privileged or otherwise
confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, or believe
that you have received this communication in error, please advise the
sender via reply email and delete the email you received.



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Myrna de Vera
Date: Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 2:41 PM
Subject: RE: Please DO NOT DELAy tackling the Brown Act Violation
To: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>
Cc: Steve Duran <SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>


Hello Patrick,



                                                13
Hope you had a Merry Christmas with your family.
Are there any updates regarding the potential Brown Act violation -
Selection of new Mayor?

Thanks,

Myrna de Vera
Council Member
City of Hercules

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message and/or its attachments
may contain information that is confidential, restricted, and/or protected by
law. It is intended only for the individual(s) named as recipients in the
message. If you are NOT an authorized recipient, you are prohibited from
using, delivering, distributing, printing, copying, or disclosing the message
or content to others and must delete the message from your computer. If
you have received this message in error, please notify the sender by return
email. Thank you for your cooperation.


From: ptang@jarvisfay.com [ptang@jarvisfay.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 3:28 PM
To: Myrna de Vera
Cc: Steve Duran
Subject: RE: Please DO NOT DELAy tackling the Brown Act Violation

      Dear Councilmember de Vera:

      I am out of town until January 2.

      There is at least one more individual whose statement I need to
      take, and who is not available until after the New Year. I will of
      course advise you of any determination once all the statements have
      been provided.

      Regards,
      ______________________

      PATRICK TANG
      Jarvis, Fay, Doporto & Gibson, LLP
      492 Ninth St., Suite 310
      Oakland, CA 94607

      patrick@jarvisfay.com


                                           14
      510-332-5001
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------




---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Myrna de Vera
Date: Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Subject: Alleged Brown Act Violation - Agenda Item for January 11, 2012
Meeting
To: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>
Cc: Steve Duran <SDuran@ci.hercules.ca.us>


      Dear Patrick,

      It has been more than two weeks since I filed the formal complaint
      regarding the Brown Act violation by Dan Romero to obtain the
      appointment of Mayor. I understand the holidays may have delayed
      the process but now the holidays are over.

      Just because the complaint was made by a council member should
      not deter you from acting swiftly to determine if the Brown Act was
      violated by serial meetings occurring as early as September 21,
      2011. It strikes me as odd that because the complaint was made by
      a council member, I have less rights than if made by a member of
      the public.

      Attached is the statement I made on December 20, 2011 for your
      records.

      My research shows that if a Brown Act violation occurred, there is a
      deadline to cure and correct such violation (30 days). It has been 20
      days since the Council Reorganization, and January 12 will be the
      30th day. So, I believe this item should be agendized for the
      Council's January 11, 2012 meeting.

      I also found out that the penalty for a Brown Act violation is such:

      If a legislative body takes action in violation of the Brown Act, the
      body must cure that violation by rescinding any such action and
      properly rescheduling the matter for action before the legislative
      body. Any member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of

                                                          15
that body where action is taken in violation of the Brown Act, and
where the member intends to deprive the public of information to
which the member knows the public is entitled, is guilty of a
misdemeanor. A civil lawsuit may be brought to invalidate certain
actions taken by a legislative body in violation of the Brown Act if a
written demand to cure the violation is rejected. In addition, the
District Attorney or any interested person may initiate a civil action
for the purpose of preventing violations or threatened violations
of the Act.

You said you have one more council member to interview. Please
obtain his statement as soon as possible so you can report to the
Council your findings and take action by January 11, 2012.

If you do not act on this matter then, I will have no choice but to
report this Brown Act violation to the District Attorney.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Myrna de Vera
Council Member
City of Hercules




                               16
From: ptang@jarvisfay.com [ptang@jarvisfay.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 7:21 PM
To: Myrna de Vera
Cc: Dan Romero; John Delgado; William Wilkins; Gerard Boulanger; Steve
Duran
Subject: Findings in Response to Alleged Brown Act Violation




     CONFIDENTIAL - Attorney-Client Privileged


     Dear Councilmember de Vera:



     Attached please find a report with my findings in response to your
     December 15 complaint alleging a Brown Act violation by Mayor
     Romero.

     I am copying also to the other Councilmembers and to the City
     Manager.

     If you or any recipients of this message have any questions
     concerning this matter, please contact me at your convenience.

     Regards,

     ______________________

     PATRICK TANG
     Jarvis, Fay, Doporto & Gibson, LLP
     492 Ninth St., Suite 310
     Oakland, CA 94607

     patrick@jarvisfay.com
     510-332-5001

     ----------------------------------------------------------------------




                                                         17
  from: Myrna de Vera MdeVera@ci.hercules.ca.us
     to: "ptang@jarvisfay.com" <ptang@jarvisfay.com>
     cc: John Delgado <JDelgado@ci.hercules.ca.us>
  date: Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 7:12 AM
subject: RE: Findings in Response to Alleged Brown Act
         Violation



    Dear Attorney Tang,

    I am disappointed but not surprised by your "findings". I already had
    a feeling which way you would side from the very start when I filed
    my complaint by the way you responded. I knew I did not have a
    chance but still hoped you would be impartial in your "investigation".
    Interviews can be manipulated to get whatever outcome the
    interviewer wishes. Obviously, it is my word against the word of the
    majority of the Council, the recall candidates you supported. What is
    even more disturbing is your threat (verbally) that if I report this
    matter to the District Attorney, that you will share findings that I was
    the one who violated the Brown Act. That is the fate of the whistle-
    blower.

    Corruption, cronyism, and incompetence are well and alive in
    Hercules City Hall, only, this time there are different faces sitting at
    the podium.


    Myrna de Vera
    Council Member
    City of Hercules

    CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message and/or its
    attachments may contain information that is confidential, restricted,
    and/or protected by law. It is intended only for the individual(s)
    named as recipients in the message. If you are NOT an authorized
    recipient, you are prohibited from using, delivering, distributing,
    printing, copying, or disclosing the message or content to others and
    must delete the message from your computer. If you have received
    this message in error, please notify the sender by return
    email. Thank you for your cooperation.


                                    18
From: ptang@jarvisfay.com [mailto:ptang@jarvisfay.com]
Sent: Friday, January 06, 2012 9:56 AM
To: Myrna de Vera
Cc: John Delgado; Steve Duran
Subject: RE: Findings in Response to Alleged Brown Act Violation


       Dear Councilmember de Vera:
                                          th
       I am responding to your January 5 email. Please ask yourself this simple question: If
       each and every councilmember independently confirms that Mayor Romero (either
       directly or through intermediaries) never contacted more than one of them to ask for their
       vote, on what basis could it be determined that Mayor Romero violated the Brown Act?

       While you may not have intended to offend, you have used strong language to insinuate
       that I was not impartial in reaching my determination that there is insufficient evidence to
       conclude Mayor Romero violated the Brown Act. I offer the following clarifications to “set
       the record straight” in response to your email.

       I am sharing this with City Manager Steve Duran, who was present during my meeting
       with you on Wednesday morning and can verify what I actually said, and Vice
                                                                 th
       Mayor Delgado, who was copied by you with your January 5 email:

           1. I would conduct my investigation in the same deliberate and thorough manner
              whether the person accused of violating the Brown Act was Dan Romero, you, or
              any other member of the council or staff. That’s my job.

           2. I take seriously my ethical duties and responsibilities. I have been legal counsel
              for public entities for over twenty years. While in Oakland, I served as counsel to
              the Public Ethics Commission, where I was required to handle any number of
              complaints involving campaign and elections violations and other sensitive and
              politically charged matters. For San Rafael I served as an administrative hearing
              officer. Never in my lengthy career have I been accused by my clients of being
              partial when my role was to provide a fair and unbiased legal determination.

           3. I did not find a violation on the part of Mayor Romero not because I manipulated
              the investigation, as you have inferred, but because you did not provide me with
              information that would confirm your claim that Mayor Romero violated the Brown
              Act. You presented to me your suspicion that a Brown Act violation had occurred.
              That is not enough for me to confirm a violation. No other councilmember was
              able to confirm your theory that Mayor Romero solicited the votes of two or more
              councilmembers to become mayor.

           4. Whether or not I supported Mr. Romero in his election bid is immaterial. Of
              course I know Dan Romero outside our respective roles as public officials, as I
              know all of the councilmembers. I put that aside when I am in my official capacity.
              My ethical obligation mandates that I decide the matter before me on the merits.

           5. At no time did I try to dissuade you from taking your complaint to the District
              Attorney. Any member of the public and any public official can lodge a complaint
              with the District Attorney when a Brown Act violation is suspected. You of course
              are free to do so. What I told you was that, while my investigation was narrowly
              focused on your complaint alleging a Brown Act violation by Mr. Romero, when
              the District Attorney investigates these types of complaints, he or she has the


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              ability to take statements of public officials and possible intermediaries under
         oath, subpoena documents, expand the scope of the investigation as he or she
         sees fit, and even file criminal charges if warranted. That was not a threat, and I
         am not sure why you perceived it as such.

    6. I never stated to you that I have determined that you violated the Brown Act. I
       stated several times during the course of our meeting that I did not make any
       findings as to whether you or any other councilmembers violated the Brown Act,
       as that was beyond the scope of your complaint.

    7. You have sent to me a series of emails since your original complaint on
                     th                                         th
       December 15 . For example on Sunday, December 18 you demanded that
       Mayor Romero’s appointment be rescinded, you stated that my need to conduct
       research was an excuse to delay what you considered an urgent matter, you
       demanded that I conclude my research by Tuesday, December 20th (within two
       days), and agendize a “cure and correct” for the special council meeting of
       December 20th, prior to the conclusion of my investigation. Your insistence for a
       particular outcome and for an abbreviated investigation can certainly be viewed
       as an attempt to interfere with or influence my investigation.

    8.    As I indicated in my report to all the councilmembers, I consider this matter
         closed. I would appreciate you refraining from sending emails to me and to other
         councilmembers that contain personal attacks and insinuations that I was biased
         in my handling of this matter. I have always treated you with the respect and
         deference you should expect as an elected official, and I ask of you the same
         professional courtesy.

    9. I am curious why you would conclude your email by stating that corruption,
       cronyism and incompetence are well and alive in Hercules City Hall. I beg to
       differ. The type of blatant corruption that occurred prior to the election of the
       current city council is in no way evident today, and we have you and all your
       colleagues on the present day council and an honest and capable new city
       manager to thank for that.

One final note, you suggested at our meeting Wednesday morning that this matter can
ultimately be a “teachable moment”. I hope so too. I would be the first to agree that
elected and appointed officials here in Hercules need to be alert to avoid situations that
may result in a violation of the Brown Act.

While we clearly have some disagreement on the matter that is the subject of my
response, looking at the big picture I believe we have a good council and a good staff in
Hercules, with a problem solving focus that was missing in the past. I look forward to
working with you and your council colleagues and staff to make sure that the citizens of
Hercules get the fair and honest representation from their elected and appointed public
officials they expect and deserve.



Best Regards,

-Patrick Tang




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Description: Email: Brown Act complaint by Hercules Councilwoman Myrna de Vera against Mayor Dan Romero