November 12th, 2009
I need your help !
Vote to Remove Your Elected Official, Herbert Simmons, postponed to December 15; List of Alleged Violations
A Call for Justice and Due Process !
The opposition is small in number, but well organized
If you have never attended an Altadena Town Council meeting, or have not attended in a long time, now is the time. A great injustice is on hand.
Please read today’s article in the Pasadena Weekly here: http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/briefs/7914/.
Below is an e-mail, copied verbatim, from the Executive Committee of the Altadena Town Council, received on Tuesday, November 10th, at 11:48am regarding the allegations against me. In a Cure and Correct letter dated September 18th, I requested this information in writing to be furnished within 30 days. Only now have I finally received the allegations in writing, many of which had been added after the original Closed Session Meeting on August 18, 2009, almost four months ago. This late written notice, which, according to Article IX, Section C of the by-laws, was to be done at the initial filing of the complaint to initiate the Investigation. This is a violation of due process according to the Altadena Town Council’s own by-laws. I received this only seven days before a Closed Session Meeting will be held to vote to remove me from the Council. I have not been given a fair opportunity to adequately prepare a defense against these accusations.
I am concerned for the community for whom the Altadena Town Council makes decisions in this manner. It affects every decision on every level, from the cell tower, the re-striping of Lake, to who is elected to represent you.
Do your votes mean anything? Why is the Town Council attempting to squash an effective and enthusiastic leadership? Why is removal from office the only option? Why are decisions being made regarding an elected official without consideration of the opinions of those who voted? Has this now become a country in which dissent from the majority equals death? Is freedom of speech no longer allowed? If the ATC followed the Brown Act, the community would have learned from this process, participated in it, and would have contributed to the outcome. That I would have had no problem with.
Many have asked, What did you do to tick off the Altadena Town Council? My answer is simply that I informed you.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support. I have given you my very best, and because of that, there are no regrets. Always Remember, LEADERS HAVE NO MORE POWER THAN THE PEOPLE GIVE THEM. This is your community. The Altadena Town Council is more afraid of you than they are of me.
Summary of The Committee Voting Process and Results
The committee reviewed Mr. Simmons actions relative to the ATC Ethical Standards and Bylaws. The committee ruled that 4 violations of the ATC Ethical standards have
occurred by Mr. Simmons. This ruling was obtained following many hours of factfinding by committee members in addition to several hours of deliberation regarding the standards and evidence against Mr. Simmons. A simple majority vote either dismissed the alleged violation, or confirmed that Mr. Simmons had violated the specific ATC standard.
For each violation below, which was not dismissed, evidence was presented to confirm that a violation had occurred. The group thoroughly discussed and questioned the evidence prior to the individual vote for or against a specific violation.
Listed below are the specific Ethical Standards, which were discussed and for which the committee voted to confirm that a violation had occurred. Following each standard are a list of exhibits that make up the body of evidence that the committee reviewed. Last are the results of the individual votes by the committee.
It should be noted that due to the amount of discussion and new facts tabled at the
committee meeting, no absentee voting was allowed. Only committee members present at the meeting were allowed to vote.
Absentee voting was allowed at the initial Closed Session Meeting on August 18, 2009.
The following ATC Ethical Standards were discussed and voted as confirmed:
· Paragraph 3.5: Members shall refrain from abusive conduct, personal charges or
verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of the Council,
Committees, or the public.
· Discussion: The committee discussed numerous examples where Mr. Simmons
had presented public, personal charges, which constituted abusive conduct
towards other ATC councilmembers. Below are the exhibits, which demonstrate
these violations. Further, despite repeated warnings and conversations, despite
repeated apologies from Mr. Simmons, he continued to attack and misrepresent
the ATC and its members. The committee was unanimous in their belief that these
attacks were deliberate, repeated and designed solely to discredit and embarrass
the councilmember being targeted in each of the exhibits below.
Email on Altadenans.com and to public email lists dated Aug 14th (Full email avail)
….My attempt to receive contributions is not on behalf of the Altadena Town Council, as Councilmember Alice Wessen has implied. If we are indeed trying to work together on behalf of improving the quality of life in Altadena, a simple phone call from Alice Wessen would have been all that was necessary. I feel that Ms.Wessen’s attacks upon me and the programs have not been in the best interest of the Altadena community. It should be noted that Alice Wessen was a strong supporter of my opponent, Bill Westphal, and I believe her actions to be biased and not in the best interest of the citizens of Altadena. The only true opposition I have received regarding these programs has been from Secretary/ Councilmember Alice Wessen. I feel that the Closed Session meeting,scheduled for 6:15PM on Tuesday, August 18th, is an attempt to secretly stop me, a new face on the ATC, from bringing positive changes and ideas to Altadena. I move that the ATC make the proposed private
meeting public so that there are no hidden agendas and that everyone is clear on their accusations and procedures. I believe that it is best that what is expected of Councilmembers be made public so that everyone is held to the same set of standards.(snip)
· Exhibit 3 – Print out from Altadenans.com, subject “ATC Meeting 9/15 – Brown
Act Debate. –
· “…but the Altadena Town Council feels that although they follow the majority of the Brown Act, the gray areas not followed can be manipulated without holding themselves liable for their actions. This is very unfair to the community.”
· Exhibit 4 – Print out from Altadenans.com, subject “Complaints Against the
Altadena Town Council”
· Numerous charges, in a letter distributed publicly, against Chairman Gino
Sund and councilmember Tesumch Shackleford
· Exhibit 5 – Print out from Altadenans.com, subject “Cell Cite Delayed”
· “Chairman Gino Sund has stepped into our Census Tract and it can be
inferred through Mr. Ambrosini’s email (see below) that they have
communicated privately to discuss new locations of the cell tower.”
· “3. We call into question Chairman Sund acting without notice to elected reps in the proposed cell site in Census Tract 4602. Why has he not responded to inquiries from elected reps?”
· Vote Results: The committee voted in the majority that Mr. Simmons had violated
paragraph 3.5 of the ATC Ethical Standards.
I apologized to Alice Wessen personally twice, once in person and once by phone. The charges against Gino Sund and Tecumseh Shackleford were filed by former Altadena Town Council Member Camille Dudley. My complaint against Gino Sund is valid, and I stand behind my statements regarding the Brown Act.
· Paragraph 4.1: A member shall always conduct himself/herself in a respectable
manner and never in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his
office, the Council, or Altadena into disrepute.
· Discussion: The committee discussed the level of disrepute that the sum of Mr.
Simmons’ actions has created for the ATC. It is clear from the comments on his
website that his accusations and attacks on the ATC and individual ATC members
promoted an environment for the general public to look at the ATC and its
proceedings with disrepute.
· Exhibit 6: Editorial from the Altadenablog about Mr. Simmons:
· Exhibit 7: Satirical post on Altadena Hiker regarding Mr. Simmons:
· Article in Pasadena Weekly
· Vote Results: The committee voted in the majority that Mr. Simmons had and
continues to violate paragraph 4.1 of the ATC Ethical Standards.
I have conducted myself in a respectable manner. Disrepute has existed for the Altadena Town Council since long before my election. Just last year, there was significant controversy surrounding the 2008 election.
Paragraph 4.2: A member must never misrepresent the Council or a Committee and/or
· Discussion: There were several examples provided where Mr. Simmons represented his personal programs as those of the ATC to the public, to businesses, to PUSD and to the county. In addition, through the public communications he presented on his website, Altadenans.com, he has consistently misrepresented ATC positions, motives and facts relating to business in front of the ATC (e.g., the Cell Towers and claims he made against Mr. Sund).
· Exhibit 8: Letter from Mr. Diaz
· Exhibit 9: Letter from the Los Angeles County Supervisor, Mr. Antonovich
· Vote Results: The committee voted in the majority that Mr. Simmons has violated
paragraph 4.2 of the ATC Ethical Standards.
I have made it clear in all communications that my personal programs are not affiliated with the Altadena Town Council or with the County of Los Angeles.
Paragraph 6.1: Members shall not take any special advantage of services or opportunities for personal gain by virtue of their office, which are not available to the public in general. They shall not accept any gift, favor or promises of future benefits which might compromise their independence of judgment or action or give the appearance of being compromised.
· Discussion: The group focused on the gifts, services and opportunities that the
local Altadena businesses have been providing to Mr. Simmons in support of his
student and teacher of the month program. The evidence, from the Supervisor’s
and Mr. Diaz office demonstrate that this program was presented as an ATC
activity and the businesses this committee talked with have confirmed that they
were led to believe Mr. Simmons was representing the ATC with this program.
These businesses would not provide these gifts, services and opportunities to the
· Exhibit 10: From Altadenans.com, Mr. Simmons provides an outline of the
various gifts, services and opportunities some of the local businesses have
provided to him for his student and teacher of the month program.
· Vote Results: The committee voted in the majority that Mr. Simmons has violated
paragraph 6.1 of the ATC Ethical Standards.
All business sponsors of the Student and Teacher of the Month Programs understand that these programs are not affiliated with the Altadena Town Council.
November’s Altadena Town Council Meeting will commence at 7:30pm on Tuesday, November 17th, after a Closed Session Meeting in which the Town Council will vote to remove me from office. Please attend the meeting (held at the Altadena Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Dr.) and voice your opinion.