Pinpointing the Real Ethics Violations
I would believe it to be astounding the amount of media attention that has been given to the Code of Ethics violation that I allegedly committed against George Ow lobbyist, Elias Alonzo, but in retrospect the obvious is becoming evident.
The violation that I was accused of was that of being "disrespectful" to Elias Alonzo, by his good friend and council member Manuel Bersamin. I was having a private telephone conversation with Elias from my home, of many that we have had before and many of which he generated.
What he found disrespectful, and has failed to mention, was my inquiry about the meeting I witnessed between him, George Ow, and City Manager Palacios at our Civic Plaza in our conference room. This was just before a city council meeting whereupon the city was about to bestow around $700,000 of Redevelopment Agency money for developer George Ow, Elias' boss.
My tone and nature of our private conversation was no different than when Elias called and asked that I meet with him and George Ow in their attempts to convince me to vote to go forward to allow Mr. Ow to build on the Manabe-Ow property, or when he called and accused me of instigating a Grand Jury investigation saying "your footprints all over it" and "you're going to get pinned for it."
Regardless of what occurred, when has the news media been so compelled to give so much time on a Code of Ethics violation regarding "disrespect?" One television station even reported for over two days that I was going to be kicked off from the City Council even after being advised that the result would be some type of reprimand, or in essence, a public spanking by the City Council.
This isn't like I couldn't account for $225,000 of tax payers' dollars. This isn't like paying $225,000 of taxpayers' money for a fire truck that we didn't legally own for two years and eight months and still don't know the delivery date after three years. This isn't like wanting to give multimillionaire George Ow millions of Redevelopment Agency dollars with the promise of 2,000 jobs but later finding out the jobs will take 20 years. This isn't like lending Stella Romo $400,000 a few months ago to complete her building that sits on a downtown site that the city sold to her for $25,000 a few years ago.
This in a city with depression era unemployment rates of almost 30 percent? Nope, that doesn't sell newspapers, but headlines like "COUNCIL MEMBER MARTINEZ BEING INVESTIGATED FOR A CODE OF ETHICS VIOLATION" will.
The unethical behavior that the public should be more concerned about is irresponsible journalism laced with an irresponsible political agenda that results in critical facts being swept under the rug to protect those that don't need to be protected.