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Chula Vista's board of ethics to get independent counsel

Chula Vista changed in a significant way November 6--not at the ballot box but at the city council meeting. The council voted 3-2 on language that implements Proposition C, an ordinance approved by voters last June.

Proposition C limits the term and salary of the city attorney and provides for an Office of Legislative Counsel, an independent attorney to advise during potential conflict of interest issues.

Council member Rudy Ramirez sat on the subcommittee that developed the ordinance language. He argued that after Proposition Q in 2008, which gave the city an elected attorney, some allocation of power shifted to the city attorney's office. In the wake of Proposition C, Ramirez believes allocation of authority shifted back to the council "where it belongs."

Ramirez stated, "We [the council] can't go behind closed doors to make our decisions. We will debate in public where the voters can evaluate the decisions we make."

The new ordinance language also establishesd the legislative counsel as a "permanent advisor to the Board of Ethics." In the past, the city attorney advised the board.

City attorney Glen Googins and mayor Cheryl Cox countered that the board of ethics, not the city council, should choose their own attorney.

Resident and long-time civic activist, Peter Watry, told the council during public comment that "In the 30 years of the board's existence, nobody has ever been convicted of unethical behavior. This is a farce."

Watry pointed to a recent board of ethic's meeting in which he alleged that a council member accepted campaign contributions in order to vote in a change in the general plan. Watry said the board never even discussed whether or not the action was ethical, rather the city attorney simply advised them legally why they should not consider the case.

Now that the board of ethics has a council-appointed attorney, Watry says he is going to file the complaint again.

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Chula Vista changed in a significant way November 6--not at the ballot box but at the city council meeting. The council voted 3-2 on language that implements Proposition C, an ordinance approved by voters last June.

Proposition C limits the term and salary of the city attorney and provides for an Office of Legislative Counsel, an independent attorney to advise during potential conflict of interest issues.

Council member Rudy Ramirez sat on the subcommittee that developed the ordinance language. He argued that after Proposition Q in 2008, which gave the city an elected attorney, some allocation of power shifted to the city attorney's office. In the wake of Proposition C, Ramirez believes allocation of authority shifted back to the council "where it belongs."

Ramirez stated, "We [the council] can't go behind closed doors to make our decisions. We will debate in public where the voters can evaluate the decisions we make."

The new ordinance language also establishesd the legislative counsel as a "permanent advisor to the Board of Ethics." In the past, the city attorney advised the board.

City attorney Glen Googins and mayor Cheryl Cox countered that the board of ethics, not the city council, should choose their own attorney.

Resident and long-time civic activist, Peter Watry, told the council during public comment that "In the 30 years of the board's existence, nobody has ever been convicted of unethical behavior. This is a farce."

Watry pointed to a recent board of ethic's meeting in which he alleged that a council member accepted campaign contributions in order to vote in a change in the general plan. Watry said the board never even discussed whether or not the action was ethical, rather the city attorney simply advised them legally why they should not consider the case.

Now that the board of ethics has a council-appointed attorney, Watry says he is going to file the complaint again.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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