According to the San Diego County district attorney's office, the Imperial Beach City Council's appointment of former mayor Diane Rose to the city council wasn't a smooth political move; though, it isn't enough for a criminal prosecution, either.
Rose was appointed on May 27, three days after longtime city councilman Fred McLean passed away from cancer.
Imperial Beach residents complained that Rose's appointment wasn't included on the May 27 docket and was a direct violation of the Brown Act -- the state's "open meeting" law.
To make matters worse, the day after the appointment, a notice was published in the local paper requesting applications for the open council position, motivating several residents to go down to city hall to submit their applications, only to be turned away with information that the seat had already been filled.
The disgruntled applicants attended the following week's city council meeting and, moments before Rose was sworn in, accused the council of political cronyism and stripping away their constitutional rights. One resident filed a formal complaint to deputy district attorney Leon Schorr, asking for an investigation into the matter.
On August 3, Schorr released his decision: "[Rose's selection] could be considered a Civil Brown Act violation as it is not clearly an actionable item laid out in the agenda," reads Schorr's letter. "In order for it to be considered a 'criminal' violation of the Brown Act, knowledge on part of the council would need to be established. That knowledge would be that the council knew their actions were violating the Brown Act and they did so anyway. There is no evidence to support that assertion....
For SaveIB.com blogger Ed Kravitz, Rose's appointment represents a sad day for Imperial Beach city politics.
"Constitutional Rights no longer exist in Imperial Beach," writes Kravitz in an August 10 email. "Everything that is done by council and staff is both incompetent and fraudulent. The [district attorney] admits a crime was committed but refuses to explore the supporting e-mail and telephone records that would prove that serial meetings had to take place in order for the event to unfold as it did."
Adds Kravitz: "If the district attorney won't enforce the law, then there is no law and these criminals who masquerade as elected public officials [will continue] their reign of corruption."