By Galen Patterson
Arcadia City Council convened on the evening of May 1 for a regular session, following last week’s special council re-organization session.
The main topic on the agenda was a request for the city attorney, Mr. Stephen Dietsch, to provide direction on the city’s efforts to investigate several allegations leveled against Mayor Pro Tempore Sho Tay.
During the council comments, Tay asked Mr. Dietsch to publicly explain the Ralph M. Brown Act, which Dietsch defined as a law that ensures the business of the public is conducted in the open, with some exceptions. Examples of exceptions to the Brown Act could be matters involving labor or real estate negotiations.
Last week, members of the public expressed concerns that Tay’s use of WeChat was a violation of the Brown Act.
The city attorney specified that Tay’s WeChat rooms were not in violation of the Brown Act unless three or more councilmembers met on them to discuss city matters.
This may temporarily put one issue to rest, but other allegations are still under investigation by the FPPC and now the county.
Voter fraud is the new topic, following the election and the Sierra Madre Tattler’s recent post about possible voter fraud in the city’s 5th district.
The elections saw Councilman Roger Chandler defeat candidate Joyce Platt by a narrow margin. With the city’s new district voting system, a few extra votes could make a massive impact in the election.
The city has asked the county’s designated office to investigate the matter and has turned over relevant documentation that supports the suspicion. “We’re always going to take voter fraud seriously,” said City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto.
Councilwoman Verlato added that the mail-in ballot system of voting could allow for a greater risk of voter fraud because of the ability to get ballots signed and submitted without physically being in the city, whereas a polling station demands the people show up in person.
The city staff also urged anyone with information to provide proof of voter fraud to the county or to open their own claim with the county or District Attorney’s office. “The city is not designed to investigate voter fraud,” said Mr. Dietsch.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Peter Amundson presented Arcadia’s Matthew Lu with the Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition upon his completion of his Eagle Scout project. Lu has been scouting for 5 years and successfully completed one of the most difficult challenges the Boy Scouts of America can offer, before the age of 18. “It’s hard, but once you get used to it, it’s worth it,” said Lu.
Lu coordinated the planting of a garden at the Arcadia Public Library. Next week, a plaque will be placed, dedicating the garden to the library.
On the subject of scouting, Mayor Amundson spoke with the highest esteem for the organization and what it can produce, but also what it takes. “It is a family commitment,” he said.