Dorian Hargrove 8:30 p.m., Dec. 12
Escondido Council Candidate Smells Brown Act Violation
Attorney Janathan Allen, wife of Escondido council candidate Richard Barron, sent a letter today (Oct. 30) to Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler, complaining that the council may have violated the Brown Act, which favors public accessibility to political meetings. Barron today filed a demand letter under the Brown Act directed at the Escondido city council and city attorney, pointing out "apparently illegal conduct." Barron says the council unanimously approved entering into an option to purchase agreement with the Moorad Group, part owner of the Padres, to purchase three acres at North Spruce St. for $5 million. But, says spouse Jan Allen, "Three of the five council members...disavowed any knowledge" of the deal. There had been open and closed meetings on the purchase. Several Escondido leaders want the financially ailing city to subsidize the AAA subsidiary of the Padres, owned by the Moorad Group, to the tune of $50 million. A ballpark for the minor league club would attract industry, they contend.
Dick Daniels, mayor pro tem who is running for mayor Tuesday, says, "This is a political stunt." He says that at the meetings at which the deal was discussed, the city attorney was in attendance, and sometimes the redevelopment attorney was there. On Nov. 30, Escondido decides whether to go ahead with the building of the ballpark for Moorad. If the subsidy is approved, the city would pick up the parcel. If the ballpark is not approved, Escondido may go ahead and buy the parcel anyway. "We were in the presence of legal counsel at all times. There is no reason to believe we weren't under the Brown Act."