Couple of things:
- A friend had reminded me early last week not to forget about the hearing/trial set for school board member Luis Acle in front of the city of San Diego’s Ethics Commission.
I’ve been watching Acle’s case, obviously, for quite some time. We did this profile of his interesting history with people on the record discussing how he never paid them back for the work they did on his horribly managed run for City Council.
It was pretty clear then he was going to face some awful music from the Ethics Commission. But he had the chance to cooperate with their investigation and maybe work something out like so many other politicos in town.
Instead, he fought. And just as he had when facing the IRS, he struggled to put together a coherent argument as to why he hadn’t done what they accused him of. And the scope of how much trouble he could be in became clearer. The magnitude of the fine he was facing from the Ethics Commission was extraordinary.
Still, he fought. He took the Ethics Commission to its first ever full administrative hearing — a trial-like setting that pitted Acle against Stacey Fulhorst, the executive director of the commission. The jury was the commission.
I was looking forward to the hearing. However, I basically forgot about it.
The U – “We Were With Him Before We Were Against Him” – T didn’t forget about the hearing and had this report Saturday. Acle must have argued worse than he did when he faced the IRS — his fine, the paper reported, came to more than $75,000.
Again, we knew the fine, if he were found to have violated all he did, was going to be high. We knew it could be ugly. But to have it come out that high officially was still impactful.
There may be an urge among some to wonder if this wasn’t excessive punishment for violations of complex formulas and reporting requirement “technicalities.”
Nope. Read the full complaint against him. He was found to have not only failed to pay contracted workers on his campaign, the commission found him to have hidden expenses and collected donations in cash. These are direct efforts to hide information from voters. Even people who argue the city should have no limit on campaign contributions at all at least hold that full disclosure of contributions and expenses must be maintained if not strengthened.
Like others who have faced the Ethics Commission staff, he could have cooperated and settled for perhaps a much smaller amount. But he chose to fight.
Unfortunately for him, he armed himself with very little evidence.
- I’m going to try to withhold opinion about this move until I have a chance to talk to Amy Lepine. But how she can settle her sexual harassment suit against City Attorney Mike Aguirre and then immediately endorse him for the job is just beyond me.
I mean, either her complaint against Aguirre was complete crap or she sees some kind of personal benefit in this move that outweighs the damage to her credibility that such a dramatic disavowal of her own previous statements can cause.
I mean, this was Lepine a couple of months ago:
Now she thinks he’s the best man for the job.
- Finally, I’m sure you’ll see a lot more fallout from the big story last week. But I wanted to make a quick note: You know things are bad when Jim Madaffer can lecture you like that.
Madaffer wants to completely dissolve the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., SEDC. Madaffer’s colleague, City Councilman Kevin Faulconer promises audits. The mayor is all over it. City Councilwoman Donna Frye and Councilman Ben Hueso have spoken out about it.
I have only one question: Where is Tony Young? SEDC’s influence is contained mostly in Young’s district. Does he really want Madaffer and the mayor (never mind his rivals for the position of City Council president) to set the terms of the discussion going forward?
I guess so.
Update at 2:06 p.m.: Young just talked to Will Carless. You can read his comments here. The gist? Young wants to see a completed audit of SEDC and see the agency’s responses to a number of questions, many of which are similar to the mayor’s questions put the the agency.
— SCOTT LEWIS