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UCAN board meeting gets testy

Insults fly -- still no consensus on what happened at so-called watchdog

The board of beleaguered Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN) met last night (Jan. 9) in both an open and closed session. In the open session, members discussed how, through a change in the bylaws, longtime board member Niel Lynch was supposedly removed Dec. 31. But Lynch does not want to be removed. "I see myself as the one person [on the old board] who tried to find out what the hell was going on...most of the people stonewalled, circled the wagons." (That view is shared by numerous people, both inside and outside the organization, who have watched this adventure unfold.) Attorney Mike Aguirre, lawyer for the whistleblowers who exposed the wrongdoing, said that Lynch should stay on the board. Robert Fellmeth, who originally put the now-departed Michael Shames in as head of UCAN, said in effect that Lynch had to stay because of a court decree. But Aguirre said (in a post-board interview) that, among other things, a contract can be broken by agreement of both parties, and UCAN had breached the covenant of good faith.

Fellmeth declared, "Aguirre doesn't know much about the law." But Aguirre had departed before the statement had been made. It was clear that, despite all that has transpired, some board members are seemingly ambiguous about what happened. In the post-meeting interview, Aguirre said, "UCAN can't seem to find its way to reform," although he believes some board members, such as two new ones added tonight, are good ones.

In the closed session, the board is discussing the recent suit that Shames filed against UCAN. The concern is that in return for dismissal, Shames wants some kind of immunity granted by the board, and possibly even an apology. Shockingly, it appears some board members want to give it to him, despite all that has transpired.

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The board of beleaguered Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN) met last night (Jan. 9) in both an open and closed session. In the open session, members discussed how, through a change in the bylaws, longtime board member Niel Lynch was supposedly removed Dec. 31. But Lynch does not want to be removed. "I see myself as the one person [on the old board] who tried to find out what the hell was going on...most of the people stonewalled, circled the wagons." (That view is shared by numerous people, both inside and outside the organization, who have watched this adventure unfold.) Attorney Mike Aguirre, lawyer for the whistleblowers who exposed the wrongdoing, said that Lynch should stay on the board. Robert Fellmeth, who originally put the now-departed Michael Shames in as head of UCAN, said in effect that Lynch had to stay because of a court decree. But Aguirre said (in a post-board interview) that, among other things, a contract can be broken by agreement of both parties, and UCAN had breached the covenant of good faith.

Fellmeth declared, "Aguirre doesn't know much about the law." But Aguirre had departed before the statement had been made. It was clear that, despite all that has transpired, some board members are seemingly ambiguous about what happened. In the post-meeting interview, Aguirre said, "UCAN can't seem to find its way to reform," although he believes some board members, such as two new ones added tonight, are good ones.

In the closed session, the board is discussing the recent suit that Shames filed against UCAN. The concern is that in return for dismissal, Shames wants some kind of immunity granted by the board, and possibly even an apology. Shockingly, it appears some board members want to give it to him, despite all that has transpired.

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Comments
20

Shocking? Only for those who have a morale compass! The rest are blinded, or should I say seduced, by greed. Yet I suppose this may be the level of arrogance necessary to be successful as an attorney. But it sure sounds, or reads, like some new form of legal extortion.

Jan. 10, 2013

JustWondering: Keep a few things in mind: Shames was hauling in fat intervenor fees and then adding on a 10% bonus that the board did not know about. Consultants, often friends of Shames, were raking in bundles for analyses of rate cases. Perhaps most repugnant of all, outside lawyers, such as Shames's current lawyer Rosner, were making big bucks on class action suits that UCAN had dug up. There are a lot of dirty people doing their best to cover this up. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 10, 2013

#Aguirre said, "UCAN can't seem to find its way to reform," although he believes some board members, such as two new ones added tonight, are good ones

Only one who has a clue is Mike.

Jan. 10, 2013

SP: there are others who have a clue: David Peffer, Charles Langley, Kim Malcolm, Niel Lynch. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 10, 2013

Too bad greed appears to have destroyed the integrity of UCAN as well as far too many other San Diego political, economic and social establishments.

Hopefully, now that we have elected a mayor who represents the people instead of being controlled by special interests like the last three mayoral disasters, Filner will save San Diego from decades of destructive corruption before we run out of opportunities and global warming dominates our future more than corruption ever did.

I still think The Reader is the only San Diego print media that has the integrity to make the right things happen now that Manchester has turned the U-T into a fear and hate culture like he did during the 2012 elections.

The future is now in the hands of the readers of The Reader who re-elected Obama, elected Filner and passed Prop. 30.

Jan. 10, 2013

Like you I think that the Reader is our last, best hope for local news coverage that digs out corruption and reports on things the establishment would rather not see in print. But your linking the UCAN fiasco to the election of Filner and reelection of Obama is a stretch. Filner may turn out to be the sort of mayor the city has needed for at least the past two decades (probably longer.) But he didn't get off to a very auspicious start as a reformer when he showed up at Sweetwater district board meeting to congratulate one of the indicted board members on her reelection and I think he swore her in.

Nobody has decried the decline of the UT under the current and previous ownership more than I. And it looks most foolish when it runs full page editorials, or puts giant feature stories that are really editorial comment on the front page. But when you equate that with "a fear and hate culture", you are taking your guidance straight from the standard Dem/liberal playbook that brands most opposing opinions as hate speech. There was plenty of that from the left, and still is in some other papers around the nation, that was/is accepted as normal discourse.

Jan. 10, 2013

Thanks as usual for your feedback Visduh, 50%+- agreement is about as good as it gets on these blogs. Obviously I wasn't as precise as I should have been in expressing my thoughts and making distinctions for people like you who really think about these things other people try to say.

As Confucius said, approximately: Learning without thinking is useless, Thinking without learning is dangerous, and I try to prevent falling into both traps but not always successfully.

One thing I went off on a tangent with was that this is a whole new age when social networking is starting to show its new power to restore We The People democracy in order to promote quality of life for newest and future generations that previous generations like mine allowed to be trashed. The newest generations are fighting back with the newest communications technologies and they are the voters that made the Obama and Filner elections possible to begin to make the right things happen for their own future.

Filner is venturing through a minefield that previous mayors and oligarchs like Manchester laid all over San Diego county, so he can be expected to step on some of the mines just getting up to speed. Sweetwater, etc. etc. ad infinitum is just one of the mines.

The best example of the new Manchester cult of fear and hate is their full page "HATE OBAMA" aditorial for the racist "2016: Obama's America" movie they promoted during the 2012 campaign. It's a scenario straight out of Orwell's "1984" classic. Economic, political and socially destructive publishers like Manchester and his idol Murdoch are hopefully the last dinosaurs we shall have to deal with before the social network demos take American democracy back from the same type of oligarchs that Solon had to deal during the age of the first democracies.

Jan. 10, 2013

Anon92107. I must admit I never saw that HATE OBAMA aditorial. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 10, 2013

"2016: Obama's America" Ad run by Manchester in U-T

with "HATE HIM" in BOLD REPUBLICAN RED TYPE

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/2016-obamas-america/

Jan. 10, 2013

Anon: Oh yes, now I remember: the D'Souza screed, touted by the UT. It was just another reason why the UT should be an embarrassment to civilized people in the county. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2013

Visduh: The Republicans and conservatives do not have a monopoly on vitriol. But they do spew most of it these days. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 10, 2013

Anon92107: I hope you are right about Filner; thus far, it looks like he is doing and saying the right things. As far as the Reader goes: I KNOW you are right. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 10, 2013

OOPS; Ninth line of first paragraph, the copy says that Fellmeth said Lynch had to stay because of a court order. Actually, Fellmeth said Lynch had to depart because of a court order. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 10, 2013

Just what justifies closed meetings?

Jan. 11, 2013

Twister: Good question. UCAN is making its major decisions behind closed doors. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 12, 2013

Closed door meetings are not transparency.

Jan. 12, 2013

Twister: Yes. Some folks only talk about transparency. They don't practice it. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 12, 2013

It seems that, since social mores don't seem to be working, that a law may (lamentably) be required.

Jan. 13, 2013

Twister: Laws can mandate transparency. Then it is up to well-paid lawyers to find ways to evade the transparency laws. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 15, 2013

"To be, or not, to be" remains the question.

Jan. 15, 2013

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