Sep122016

“Heads Up” Yuba Supervisors-Elect

Heads Up Yuba Supervisors-Elect Doug Lofton and Mike Leahy. You blew past Griego and Nicoletti by massive 15% and 19% margins, with Stocker crushed by Randy Fletcher’s 19% margin just 18 months earlier. And planning veteran, Wendy Hartman?

 

However, Stocker, Griego, and Nicoletti also politicized the staff infrastructure. Please remodel and replace it with transparent public servants. Neither County Counsel nor Planning, deserve any benefit of the doubt. Why?

Stocker, even in defeat, continues (with staff?) to push his political vendettas. Consider his recent printed praise supporting CDSA & Planning Director, Kevin Mallen: Mallen is a “long-term very dedicated, talented and resourceful leader, whom the county is lucky to have.”

 

Meanwhile, Mallen’s credibility was cut to shreds when Stocker’s own big-gun San Francisco lawyers, unleashed a 20 page legal opinion (warning?) letter calling Mallen’s Development Code Recommendations to the Planning Commission “flatly inconsistent with the General Plan policies” and failing “to comply with State Planning and Zoning Law .”

 

Stocker’s lawyers further disqualified Mallen and Staff by saying their recommendation “violates the California Environmental Quality Act, and the CEQA Guidelines and Regulations Code. . . rendering it insufficient as an environmental review document.”

 

Next, Morris-Jones’ Deputy John Vacek, is sent before the Planning Commission, persuaded(?) by Stocker’s lawyers, and advises Planning Commissioners he is summarily removing Mallen’s Recommendation from the agenda due to these issues of inadequacy. Morris-Jones gave no defense of Mallen or Staff, nor could Vacek even support his own action saying, “I really don’t want to make admissions on the record that may be held against us later...” Mallen offered no defense either.

 

Un-electeds Morris-Jones and Mallen pull down around $213,000 each, and Vacek $172,000! How does a poorly informed, 20-page scare letter from San Francisco stop $598,000 in salaried Yuba staff in their tracks? Answer: Stocker chose the same law firm that beat Morris-Jones, her staff, and the County on the Magnolia Ranch issue. However, it appears Stocker cherry-picked which “facts” he used to brief them by not mentioning that Staff was putting back ordinance wording that Staff had removed without due process.

 

Truthfully? Staff’s report is correct and their Development Code recommendations are in compliance with the General Plan, CEQA, and the EIR. It is Stocker, his lawyers, and Morris-Jones’ Office of County Counsel who cannot (or refuse to?) read the General Plan and are wrong.

 

Morris-Jones’ actions with Stocker, Griego, and others suggest favoritism, potentially unethical and possibly criminal misconduct.

 

The Grand Jury voted “no confidence” in her management of Yuba’s $864,801 legal talent pool.

 

Mallen and Hartman’s actions in 2011, 2012, 2015 and now, deserve review regarding the public trust. More heads could roll.

 

"An abuse of discretion is established only if the [governing body] has not proceeded in a manner required by law, its decision is not supported by findings, or the findings are not supported by substantial evidence." (Sequoyah Hills Homeowners Assn. v. City of Oakland (1993) 23 Cal.App.4th 704, 717, 29 Cal.Rptr.2d 182.)

 

Stocker/Griego’s deceptive Measure T in 2012 was radical liberalism pretending to protect farm lands while stripping farmers of their property rights long protected by previous General Plans and Ordinance Codes.

 

Morris-Jones “helped” Stocker craft Measure T, according to Stocker’s own public statements. This crafting work seems clearly illegal. Staff time can only be directed by the Board as a whole, and they had already refused to codify “T” in its Resolution form.

 

But what about radical Measure T’s CEQA and EIR adequacy, and General Plan compliance? Did Supervisors require an impact study back then in 2012, as allowed by law and demanded by opponents?

 

Answer: Unbelievably, Morris-Jones, told Supervisors at a July 17, 2012 meeting, “I did inquire of the Planning Department. . .and the impact study is pretty much the EIR. And Planning is of the opinion, and that’s Kevin Mallen and Wendy Hartman, that that study has already been completed as part of the [2030 General Plan] Environmental Impact Report (EIR)...

 

If you do want that study, and I’m not advising you one way or another. . .because it has already been done.” (Referring to the 2030 Gen. Plan EIR)

 

So, Morris-Jones had no problem giving Stocker/Griego’s “T” her legal OK. “T” was a departure from the General Plan so radical that it qualified as a controversial “amendment.” She stated no new EIR would be needed, no CEQA review, and she saw no problem with General Plan consistency either. To Morris-Jones in 2012, all of this seemed self-evident.

 

But in 2016, Morris-Jones’ office seems paralyzed, and unable to OK staff’s list of revisions to the Development Code that is not at amendment levels, but is actually, a correction that brings policy oversights and exclusions from the Code into compliance with General Plan Directive Action NR3.1, and therefore does NOT require additional CEQA or EIR reviews.

 

Smoking Gun: In 2011, staff, under Board questioning, admitted changes were made without Board approval, creating zoning consistency charts that specifically ignored Directive NR3.1, and incorrectly removed existing ordinance codes protecting grazing land rights.

 

Isn’t orchestrated subversion of due process abusive, unethical? Even illegal?

 

“An abuse of discretion is established only if the [governing body] has not proceeded in a manner required by law, its decision is not supported by findings, or the findings are not supported by substantial evidence."

And. . . Rule 3-110 Failing to Act Competently:

 

(A) A member shall not intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly fail to perform legal services with competence.

 

Nick Spaulding

Oregon House

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