Tag Archive | "city council"

Vote by Unvigilant Council Usurps Treasurer’s Office and City Charter


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

If you have read the Huntington Beach City Charter and think that you have the right to elect your city treasurer, don’t be so sure.

Section 311 of the City Charter—the city’s equivalent to the U.S. Constitution—calls for the treasurer to be elected by the voters at large. But budget cuts and other changes approved Dec. 20 by a 6-0 majority of the Huntington Beach City Council (Connie Boardman was absent) leave little more than a figurehead for a treasurer instead of the vigilant watchdog intended by the charter.

The Director of Finance, who is appointed by the council and answers directly to the City Manager rather than the electorate, will assume the treasurer’s core duties if the legal wording behind the new policy is taken at face value.

The apparent coup d’état was performed by eliminating Section 2.16 of the Municipal Code, which explained the duties and powers of the City Treasurer in detail based on the City Charter, and then attaching several of its provisions to the end of Section 2.15 of the Municipal Code that explains the duties and powers of the Director of Finance.

Outgoing City Treasurer Shari Freidenrich warned that transferring the treasurer’s duties as proposed would be in “direct conflict with the charter and state law.” Eliminating staff would cause the treasurer’s investment decisions to suffer, she said, and went against the will of the voters, who had voted to keep their elected officials elected many times.

Freidenrich was elected to the office of Orange County Treasurer in November. She received kudos earlier at the council meeting (her last) from City Manager Fred Wilson for15 years of service in which she “restored the honor and integrity to the City Treasurer’s position” after the notorious 1994 Orange County bankruptcy.

But Wilson had presented an entirely different analysis than Freidenrich’s in his presentation to the council, saying that the city would save over $100,000 a year by making the treasurer a part-time position and consolidating the City Treasurer’s duties with the Finance Department while preserving the authority and independence of the office. “[Only] the duties and responsibilities not required by the City Charter to be performed by the City Treasurer shall be migrated to the finance director,” Wilson said.

Councilmember Keith Bohr asked City Attorney Jennifer McGrath if the city was in compliance with the law. “Yes, we are,” McGrath answered, “The charter does not speak to whether this position is part time or full time. And by deleting the ordinance you are actually taking it back to the core responsibilities as dictated in the charter.”

City Manager, Fred Wilson. Photo: Arturo Tolenttino SCV

Councilmember Joe Shaw asked if the City Treasurer’s office would retain its ability to act as an independent oversight in order to provide the checks and balances that it is intended to provide as an elected office. In the future, will the City Treasurer be able to do that? 

“Absolutely,” Wilson answered.

Based on McGrath’s two sentences of legal analysis and Wilson’s word, and without cross checking Freidenrich’s assertions with the City Charter, all six council members present were satisfied with the plan. But if they had bothered to read the outside analysis which Wilson cited in his written report as the basis for the final recommendations or to double-checked the charter for themselves before voting, they might have had second thoughts.

The report, “Final Report: Organizational and Staffing Evaluation of Limiting the City Treasurer to Core Charter Responsibilities,” written by Ralph Anderson & Associates, a government consulting firm, does recommend changing the treasurer to a part time position, limiting its range to powers and duties outlined in the charter, and transferring non-core duties over to the Finance Department.

But the Anderson report notes only one non-core function spelled out in chapter 2.16 of the Municipal Code: the collection of money. The report correctly notes that although the charter requires that the treasurer ultimately “receive” all city funds it does not prohibit the initial collection of the money by other agencies. The report recommends that function—and only that function—be transferred to the finance department.

The Anderson report goes further. In order to create a part-time treasurer and still provide the support necessary for that position to fulfill its charter mandate, it recommends that the City Treasurer have “primary support from the Finance Department to accomplish the Offices’ (sic) responsibilities.”

The report, which the six present council members apparently did not read because—although cited—it inexplicably was not attached to Wilson’s written report and probably also because they didn’t ask to read it, did not recommend cutting sections of chapter 2.16 that enumerate the charter mandated duties and powers of the City Treasurer and pasting them into chapter 2.15, which explains the duties and powers of the Department of Finance, but that’s exactly what Wilson did.

The result is a conflict between the city’s municipal code and the city’s charter, and a virtual coup d’état, either by design or by sloppy staff work, and by sloppy council oversight. Nobody on the city council bothered to check, but comparing the wording in the charter to the wording of the amended city law proves the point.

“The City Treasurer shall have the power and shall be required to,” according to the charter, “Receive on behalf of the City all taxes, assessments, license fees and other revenues of the City…”

But now, under the amended city code 2.15(k), the Director of Finance “Receives all City monies including taxes, fees, water, sewer and trash fees…”

Again, the City Charter states that the City Treasurer shall “Have and keep custody of all public funds belonging to or under the control of the City or any such office, department of agency of the City government and deposit or cause to be deposited all funds coming into his hands in such depository as may be designated by resolution of the City Council…”

But now, according to the amended city code 2.15(h), the Director of Finance “Establishes and controls all bank accounts, negotiates services and contracts with bank, makes daily deposits,…” and, regarding investments, in 2.15(l) also “maintains all trusts, bonds, security agreements, and funds for the City including depositing…”

Nowhere in the amended city code does it state that the City Treasurer has any authority over her transferred duties or powers, another indication that the supposed “consolidation” is at best an accidental transfer of power with the potential for future legal headaches or, at worst, a deliberate takeover.

September 15, 2009

At a town hall meeting held by the city’s Charter Review Commission, residents of Huntington Beach were asked to comment on possible changes to the City Charter, including the idea of changing the elected offices of city attorney, city clerk and city treasurer to appointed positions.

It was one of several meetings where the topic would be discussed along with many other charter reform ideas. At the end of the commission’s term various charter reforms were proposed to the council for placement on the ballot, but converting elected positions to appointed positions was not one of them.

Although strong arguments were made on both sides of the debate of elected versus appointed city officials, the question had already been put to the voters many times and their response was always crystal clear: ballot measures to have an appointed city attorney failed seven times; an appointed city clerk failed four times; and, an appointed city treasurer failed five times, most recently in 1996.

Due to the likelihood of yet another rejection by voters, the commission went with a proposal for stricter eligibility requirements for city treasurer instead of creating an appointed position, and that was passed by the voters.

In the past, the voters seemed to have said that they wanted accountability directly to the public in order to provide better checks and balances in local government. Freidenrich, speaking at the town hall meeting, noted the pressures that could be placed on an appointed treasurer to produce interest income, pressures that might lead to risky investments for the taxpayers. “An elected treasurer can be independent and unbiased an select the most important investments for the city,” she said.

Outgoing City Treasurer, Shari Freidenrich. Photo: Arturo Tolenttino SCV

In contrast, speaking at the Dec. 20 council meeting, member Don Hansen suggested a way for assisting the new part-time city treasurer to provide the “safety, security and liquidity” for the city that had been Freidenrich’s trademark by all accounts: investment bankers. They will be at the new city treasurer’s disposal, he said, and “we can’t dismiss their responsibility and commitment to the city in providing their services and experience…”

Whether the residents of Huntington Beach retain their right to elect their city treasurer in reality or in name only, and the extent to which they will have to rely on the recently proven commitment of investment bankers to to protect the public’s best interests, may depend on what happens at the second reading of the amended ordinance at the next city council meeting.

In response to a Voice inquiry, McGrath defended the quick legal opinion she gave to the council, and said the council’s actions were “wholly consistent with the City Charter, the Municipal Code and state law.” As for not answering Freidenrich’s assertions, it was not her responsibility to respond “unless asked by my client.” Only Bohr asked her a question. To that extent, she says, “I responded accordingly and there were no further questions.”

McGrath assured that she would be working closely with the city manager, finance director and treasurer to make sure that law is properly followed. But she also acknowledged that—in response to the concerns raised by the Voice—her office will “follow-up” by taking another look at the language of the ordinance, and “if an amendment is necessary to clarify any ambiguity, then it can be made at second reading on January 17 (sic), 2011.”

Note: The city council meeting will actually take place on the 18th due to Martin Luther King Day on Monday.

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Mayor Carchio Appoints Self to County Boards: Salary could increase by over $15,000


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Joe Carchio’s first act as the new mayor of Surf City will be to appoint himself as the city’s representative on the governing boards of four county agencies, giving him a combined salary increase of $15,040, according to a proposal he has submitted to other members of the city council. The increased responsibility and accompanying boost in pay would be a significant although temporary career advancement for Carchio, whose term as the new mayor lasts for one year.

The draft document was leaked to the Surf City Voice by a source at City Hall.

Combined with his mayor’s annual salary of $22,615, Carchio’s potential earnings would reach $37,665 a year, not including regular city provided benefits which last year ranged from $5,380 to $13,984 per city council member, according to Executive Management Salary Benefits Final August 2010 (2).

The mayor appoints representatives to paid positions on the boards of five Orange County government agencies, including: Sanitation District, Vector Control District, Public Cable Television Authority (PCTA), Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the West O.C. Water Board (WOCWB) as well as to other non-paid county positions.

Carchio proposes to appoint Councilmember Don Hansen’s protégé, Matt Harper (elected to the council for the first time in November), to SCAG which pays $120 per meeting with a maximum of four meetings per month.

Traditionally the mayor has appointed his/herself to the Sanitation District board. That position pays $170 per meeting with up to six meetings or $1,020 per month. Last year, Mayor Cathy Green appointed herself to the Sanitation District but put other council members on the remaining county agencies that pay their members. Read the full story

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New Huntington Beach Mayor, Joseph John Carchio: ‘These are big shoes to fill’ (but a good deal too)


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Councilmember Joe Carchio will drive his shiny white (and, finally, fully licensed) 2010 Toyota Venza into the Huntington Beach mayor’s official parking space for the next year, thanks to the same council member who had hoped (informed sources say) a few months ago to put him out of office.

Don Hansen was supposed to be mayor, with Carchio following next year, according to Resolution 6320, which says that council members will rotate based by seniority to serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore for a one-year term.

Any council member who declines his or her turn goes to the end of the line, according to the resolution.

The 1991 city council enacted the resolution in order to prevent future councils from manipulating the selection process on behalf of special interests, according to current council member and former mayor Keith Bohr.

This is the first time since the resolution was passed that a city council hasn’t followed it.

But the resolution can be broken by a majority vote and that’s what happened during last Monday’s City Council meeting at Don Hansen’s request, with Carchio gladly accepting the honor of becoming mayor.

The vote was no surprise to readers of the Surf City Voice, which exclusively revealed last August that the seat swap between Carchio and Hansen—which will theoretically give the latter a campaign image boost if he decides to run for higher office in 2012—was as good as a done deal.

Hansen explains

Don Hansen: Economy is bad, but it will be fine in one year. Photo by Arturo Tolenttino, SCV

Carchio and Hansen both strongly denied the assertions made in the Voice story—as well as subsequent rumors that included Devin Dwyer becoming mayor—all the way up to Monday’s swearing in ceremony.

New council members Joe Shaw, Connie Boardman and Matt Harper, as well as reelected City Attorney Jennifer McGrath, were also sworn in.

As Hansen started the new city council’s first meeting with the motion to make himself Mayor Pro Tem and Carchio the mayor, his reason for it came across like the proverbial student’s claim that the dog ate his homework.

“As many of you know, I work in the financial sector and the economy…has really taken a toll on my business,” he explained. “And I had always looked forward to serving as mayor when I could do the best job that I possibly can.”

Unfortunately for Hansen and citizens both, “after deep reflection” about what would be best—not just for him and his family, “it did not seem to me that this would be the time where I could do the best for the citizens of Huntington Beach and the best job that I could possibly do.”

Considering that the mayor of Huntington Beach is a figurehead, with few additional duties attached to the role, one wonders how Hansen can give sufficient devotion to his current—less glamorous—but equally demanding role as a city councilman during the same economic hard times that, regrettably, now prevent him from serving as mayor.

Fortunately for Hansen and Surf City’s “citizens,” however, his admirable sacrifice can end in exactly one year. That’s because—almost paradoxically—even though the economy is bad now it is also getting a lot better now, according to Hansen.

“We are seeing the resurgence of my business,” he continued, “and I don’t want to forfeit in any way my ability to serve [as mayor] and do like to serve [as mayor] in 2012.”

Thank you, President Obama.

The new city council approved Hansen’s plan unanimously, 7-0. He will be Mayor Pro Tem now and Mayor in 2012, just in time for the next election campaign season, if he so chooses.

But as Carchio read an unusually coherent acceptance speech that he, wishfully perhaps, claimed to have “hasently” (sic) written, there seemed little doubt that a deal had been signed, sealed and delivered.

“When you get elected to the city council,” he said in deep reflection, “you realize that one day it would be your turn to be mayor.”

Mayor Joseph John Carchio is in good company, however, at least some of the time. “It’s so humbling to follow in the footsteps of some of the great mayors in the past,” he said, noting some of the ones who left well honored paths: Ralph Bauer, Dave Sullivan, Shirley Detloff, and Debbie Cook, to name a few.

“These are big shoes to fill,” he said in conclusion, promising that, “I will continue to carry the great traditions of the city.”

Cover photo: Arturo Tolenttino, SCV.

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New City Council: Priorities and infrastructure


By John Earl
Surf City Voice 

The Surf City Voice recently asked the new and continuing members of the Huntington Beach City Council what their priorities will be in the next year and how they will handle the issue of infrastructure funding for the city. Keith Bohr, Don Hansen, Matt Harper, and Joe Carchio did not respond.

Question 1: As a new, reelected or continuing city council representative, what will your top priorities be in the coming year?

Joe Shaw: Obviously, making sure we stabilize our city’s budget is the most important thing we can do in the short term. We need to make sure we can continue to provide the best services we can at the level we can afford during this recession. We need wise planning to ensure that short term cuts do not jeopardize our future.

Devin Dwyer: A recession can be a great opportunity for government to evaluate what services are absolutely necessary and what services we can no longer afford to provide in a declining economy. I see our most basic needs as Public Safety and Infrastructure. Public Safety is 51% of our General Fund budget. Since this is the largest use of public funds we need to surgically remove any waste without compromise to our citizen’s safety. The first item that comes to mind is our pension system. The idea that any person should be retiring at 50 is ridicules. Airline pilots are mandated to retire at 60 and now they allow 65 if there is an accompanying pilot aboard less then 60. Second is the idea of defined benefit. The public sector no longer provides a defined benefit in there compensation package. They provide some sort of 401K that both the employee and the employer contribute too. I propose a second tier for new hire benefits. This would help secure those employees with the more generous benefits that currently work for us at the same time new employees would contribute more towards the new 401k program and the city would contribute as well. And those on the more generous benefits need to contribute more towards their pension.

There was a time when public employees were not compensated well so to make up for it the city used benefits to compete with the private sector for staff. Today that is not true. You will find that compensation at our city for Public Safety employees when measured with private sector jobs is not only competitive but many out side government feel excessive.

Infrastructure had no champion until I came along. Each Council Member has an appointee to the Finance Board. Our Finance board has been complaining for a decade that our infrastructure was in decline and if we did not spend more in the near future we are headed for trouble. This has fallen on deaf ears until I and the Charter Reform Committee pointed out that we have greater than a billion dollar need with less than half that we can pay for. I was saddened by the Public Union’s spending more than $ 100,000 to defeat Measure O. There inability to see our citizens needs over there own was atrocious. I will rally my fellow Councilmember’s to support budgeting more every year towards infrastructure for the next few years I am on council.

One of the ways out of our plight is to bring more businesses to Huntington Beach. These new businesses will help generate tax dollars that could help pay for items that we have grown accustomed to our city providing. I will continue to work hard through all my business connections to fulfill this priority.

And as I have shown as one of my priorities is to talk straight to the public. If there is one thing I hate about politics its spin! If I think something is “Horse Shit”. Then that’s the way I’m going to characterize it!

Connie Boardman: My first priority will be to make wise budget decisions to arrive at a balanced budget while preserving important city services. I will work to continue the search for funding sources for infrastructure projects to solve water quality issues, repair streets and sidewalks, and to provide public safety needs such as traffic lights.

Question 2: Given the defeat of Measure O, how should the city council decide its budget priorities, including infrastructure, and what steps should be taken to deal with public employee pensions?

Devin Dwyer: See above.

Connie Boardman: Devoting 15% of the general fund revenue to infrastructure and not counting debt service toward the 15% did not become part of the City’s Charter. However, there remains in place a policy of allocating 15% of the general fund money toward infrastructure projects. We have a huge back log of infrastructure needs, and I am sure funding infrastructure projects will be a high priority with the new council.

There is a need for pension reform, I think everyone on the council realizes this. We can certainly learn from the experiences of other cities. I am interested in working with representatives of the unions, the public, and the city administration in developing a workable plan to make sure we can continue to offer sustainable, and affordable retirement benefits to the employees.

Joe Shaw: I believe we must still prioritize infrastructure given the enormous backlog we have. I believe we can work with our public employee unions and city employees to find solutions to the pension crisis.

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‘Concilman’ Joe Carchio Returns, as Good as Ever


By John Earl
Surf City Voice 

Victorious city council incumbent Joe Carchio won’t be officially sworn in again until December, but he has already started to “finish the job he started” as he promised to do in his campaign literature. 

So far, after four years in office, Carchio has managed to define himself at best as a barely competent acolyte to Mayor Cathy Green, who cowers in fear of councilmembers Devin Dwyer and Don Hansen, to an outright con man and thief at worst (see our series of pre-election exposes).

At the Nov. 15 post-election meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council, Carchio got back in the swing of things with a bumbling performance as the Grand Inquisitor, a poor imitation of Hansen’s trademark habit of humiliating contrary public speakers with a blend of McCarthyism and the Socratic method. 

His targeted victim this time was an unsuspecting businessman—the co-owner of Alpha Omega Christmas Trees, Inc., who was offering $8,000 to rent a vacant city-owned lot at Edinger and Parkside Lane for two months so he could sell Christmas trees and other holiday merchandise. 

About five weeks earlier Omega reached a tentative licensing agreement with city staff. That agreement was up for routine approval by the council at its Nov. 15 meeting. Omega’s trees and other supplies would be delivered only days later. Time was of the essence and Omega’s owners thought they had a deal in hand. 

The only problem was that some council members have a soft spot for another Christmas tree company, owned by the “Johnson brothers,” that had done business with the city at the same location in years past. 

The Johnsons made plans about a year ago to sell trees elsewhere this year because the city had indicated that the Edinger site would be under redevelopment and unavailable for rent. 

Councilmember Devin Dwyer had asked Stanley Smalewitz, Deputy Director of Economic Development, to help the Johnsons find an alternative Surf City site, but as of a year ago the brothers reported that they were happy with a new site they had already found in Irvine. 

Unexpectedly, however, the Edinger site was still available when Omega approached the city several weeks ago, so staff jumped at the last minute opportunity to make some extra money on the vacant property after all. 

Knowing that the Johnson’s were happy, Smalewitz and his staff didn’t bother to offer the Johnsons a chance to bid on the Edinger site. But Dwyer was ticked off at Smalewitz for not following through as asked. 

“That opportunity should have been open to him (sic),” Dwyer snapped at Smalewitz. “I mean, if we can competitively bid for something, we want to get our best dollar for the city. Don’t we?” 

But what to do now? 

Councilmember Keith Bohr suggested reopening the bid process to allow the Johnson brothers another chance to rent. Staff said that it could process everything within a few days, but member Jill Hardy preferred to leave things as they were rather than risk not getting any business at all, considering that the Johnson brothers might decline and Omega needed to find a site a.s.a.p. for its incoming merchandise and might have to go elsewhere rather than wait for a potentially unfavorable decision. 

In fact, Omega’s owner told the council, if the city of Redondo Beach came through on a potential rental deal the next morning, as he expected it would, he would have to go there rather than take the chance of ending up without a place to do his holiday season business. 

By that time it should have been obvious that the only fair and practical thing to do was to go with the original motion—to accept the agreement with Omega—and make sure the bidding process was better coordinated next year. 

Carchio the Bully
But Carchio, after agreeing with Hardy’s analysis, decided to bully the Omega owner before accepting staff’s recommended action. 

“So, in other words, you’re telling me…that if the City of Redondo Beach tells you yes tomorrow, then you don’t want to enter into an agreement with us, period. You’d rather have the deal in Redondo Beach,” Carchio asked, twisting the applicant’s words.

“I just need to facilitate my time frame right now. That’s my only consideration sir,” the Omega owner answered. But Carchio got tougher.

“[Y]ou’re telling me if the Redondo Beach guy tells you yes tomorrow that you’re going to Redondo Beach, no matter what.”

Reexplaining the obvious, the applicant said he had to be prepared to go to Redondo Beach, if necessary, and that he could conceivably end up doing business in both cities.

“Then I think you need to make a decision as well as us. I mean, do you really want to be here or do you want to be in Redondo Beach,” Carchio lectured.

“I would like to be here. However, I could lose this if that vote goes that way. And so that doesn’t make good business sense to me,” the applicant replied.

“Well, it seems to me that you’re trying to put our backs to the wall here,” Carchio accused.

Justifiably irritated by Carchio’s off-the-wall assertion, the applicant tried to maintain a polite demeanor. “Well, I’m sorry, I think you understand I lost my [previous tree] lot of 22 years, so my back is against the wall too, sir. And I’m not-”

“And I understand you’re a businessman, and you’ve got to look out for the best deal that you can make and the quickest deal that you can make, because you do have trees and they have to start selling,” Carchio interrupted, with unconvincing sympathy.

“Yes, sir.”

“The only thing is I have to clarify in my own mind is whether you’re more interested in being here or you’re playing Redondo Beach against us.

“No.”

“Or you’re playing us against Redondo Beach.”

“Sir, I just found out about Redondo Beach yesterday as a back up only because I wasn’t sure what was going to go on here.”

“So this is your – ”

“That was a good choice on my part because you’re telling me that I have to wait till tomorrow night now, after I have waited almost five or six weeks already. So I think it’s just a good business choice for me. You’re making a business choice too. If you can get this other gentleman in and he can bid more you’re making a business choice on me. That’s all I’m saying.”

Then Carchio brought his interrogation to a crescendo.

“So, what I want to clarify in my own mind: are we your number one choice or is Redondo Beach your number one choice?”

Oblivious, Carchio acted surprised when Mayor Green gasped and all of his colleagues broke out with nervous laughter.

“I’m not going to make that choice,” was the applicant’s final answer.

Councilmember Don Hansen scornfully mocked Carchio. “Wow! First of all, to the representative of Alpha Omega, we just put him in a ridiculously uncomfortable position,” he said, recommending that the council take a more responsible course.

Bohr withdrew his motion and the entire council, including Carchio, voted to rent the land to Omega after all.

In the future, Carchio will continue, no doubt, to finish the job he started four years ago.

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Jersey Joe’s Tax Woes: ‘The federal govt. is wrong,’ councilman says


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Joe Carchio sounded bitter but said he doesn’t care if he gets reelected to the Huntington Beach City Council or not. “If people don’t want me to be a councilman, then fine; I don’t care, I don’t care, I really don’t care,” he recently told the Voice.

According to Carchio, his performance on the council has been second to none going back a century. “I have given more to this city than any other councilman that was ever here,” he declared unequivocally.

Carchio spat those sour grapes out near the end of a recent (Sept. 26) interview with the Voice, an interview that he had tried for a long time to avoid; before it was over, he had complained that this reporter was dishonest, untrustworthy, driven by a vendetta and no longer his friend.

He also issued a threat.

Tax lien

Carchio's $50,252.24 federal tax lien for upaid taxes in 1994 and 1995.

This reporter was attacking him and his family, Carchio alleged, because of my supposed ties to local community groups that opposed his past council votes in favor development on the upper Bolsa Chica mesa and in southeast Huntington Beach, and he wouldn’t put up with it.

“If you’re going to start a war, you’re going to start a war,” he warned. “You’re going to start a 9-11 with me, John.”

Under pressure from a Voice investigation of his past business practices and misuse of public employee benefits, Carchio had confessed that he is not married and had kept his ex-wife enrolled on his city paid health care plan even though she was no longer eligible—the latter being an “honest honest mistake,” he said.

That mistake had cost the City’s taxpayers $2,782.73 for 19 months of care. The overpayment ended when Carchio cut his ex-wife from his health plan (except for vision coverage which came without extra premiums) last March; but, as reported exclusively by the Voice, he didn’t pay back the money until six months later—three days after the Voice inquired about his divorce status.

Carchio promised to make a tell-all statement to the OC Register the next day (Sept 27) explaining what happened. “I’m going to the Register tomorrow…I got the whole thing laid out. I’m going to tell them. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Then, showing a bit of remorse, Carchio said he would take the heat for what he did and hinted that a public apology would be forthcoming.  “In a statement that I’m going to put out, I will take the heat. I am so sorry,” he said.

Eleven days later the Register hasn’t published anything about the topic and there are no signs of a public apology or statement of any kind. In fact, there was no sign of Carchio himself at a candidates’ forum on Monday, Oct. 4, and it was rumored that he wouldn’t be attending the debate to be held this Thursday (10/7/10) at the Huntington Beach Central Library. Read the full story

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Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Takes City $, Threatens 9-11 War When Caught


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Sunday, Sept. 26, was a hot day in Surf City.

For me, however, most of the heat came from a chance encounter on a street corner with a local politician, not from the late blooming summer sun.

That politician, Joseph John Carchio, a.k.a. Jersey Joe, possible former owner of Jersey Joe’s Italian Eatery at 424 Olive Street, would insult my integrity as a person and a journalist multiple times; no problem there, that goes with the territory.

But I was shocked—and nerve racked for the rest of the day—when Carchio, an otherwise congenial member of the Huntington Beach City Council since 2006, and with whom I had enjoyed a professional but cordial acquaintance the past four years, lashed out. In a fit of intense anger, expressed with squinted eyes, a tightly stretched face and deliberately pronounced words, Jersey Joe, everybody’s friend, threatened me with dire warnings of “war” and “9-11.”

Was the threat just a bluff of hot air from a reelection candidate, who is desperately trying to hold on to his seat on the council, amid embarrassing revelations by the Surf City Voice that he could have to pay back thousands of dollars to the taxpayers for health benefits that he had kept his ex-wife signed up for even after their divorce, a divorce which he had not revealed to the city or the public while maintaining on his two Facebook web sites that he is married and has eight children?

No doubt, with the emergence of Measure O—the city ballot infrastructure proposition that is partly aimed at the alleged excesses of the city’s public employees—in a time of great economic hardship and budget cutbacks for the city, the otherwise unemployed city councilperson has landed in the worst crisis of his political life. Read the full story

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Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Carchio Takes City $, Threatens ’9-11′ War When Caught


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Sunday, Sept. 26, was a hot day in Surf City.

For me, however, most of the heat came from a chance encounter on a street corner with a local politician, not from the late blooming summer sun.

That politician, Joseph John Carchio, a.k.a. Jersey Joe, possible former owner of Jersey Joe’s Italian Eatery at 424 Olive Street, would insult my integrity as a person and a journalist multiple times; no problem there, that goes with the territory.

But I was shocked—and nerve racked for the rest of the day—when Carchio, an otherwise congenial member of the Huntington Beach City Council since 2006, and with whom I had enjoyed a professional but cordial acquaintance the past four years, lashed out. In a fit of intense anger, expressed with squinted eyes, a tightly stretched face and deliberately pronounced words, Jersey Joe, everybody’s friend, threatened me with dire warnings of “war” and “9-11.”

Was the threat just a bluff of hot air from a reelection candidate, who is desperately trying to hold on to his seat on the council, amid embarrassing revelations by the Surf City Voice that he could have to pay back thousands of dollars to the taxpayers for health benefits that he had kept his ex-wife signed up for even after their divorce,  a divorce which he had not revealed to the city or the public while maintaining on his two Facebook web sites that he is married and has eight children?

No doubt, with the emergence of Measure O—the city ballot infrastructure proposition that is partly aimed at the alleged excesses of the city’s public employees—in a time of great economic hardship and budget cutbacks for the city, the otherwise unemployed city councilperson has landed in the worst crisis of his political life. Read the full story

Posted in PoseidonComments (3)

Fred Speaker: Crotchety Council Candidate Zips Lips Over Budget Slips


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Huntington Beach Planning Commissioner Fred Speaker is no doubt one of the leading candidates from the pack of 20 locals running for one of four open City Council seats on the November 2 ballot.

Speaker—in his own words—is a “fiscally responsible” and “pay as you go” candidate who as an experienced small businessman knows “how to balance a budget” and who promises that he “won’t treat taxpayer dollars any less carefully.”

He recently received the endorsements of the City’s two most powerful unions, the HB Police Officers Association and the HB Firefighters Association.

Speaker is also expected to get the full endorsement of the Orange County GOP in a vote to take place Monday, according to publisher Chip Hanlon writing on his blog, Red County.

Red County is the voice of Orange County’s Republican partisans who hope to get “real” Republicans in office and do their part to take back control of America—by following the tenets of “revolution” proclaimed by Party leader Scott Baugh.

The union and OCGOP endorsements combined with the PAC money and campaign donations that they will generate will make Speaker a “virtual shoe-in” on election day, says Hanlon.

But Hanlon and other Red County revolutionaries are wondering what Speaker has done to deserve an endorsement and why more credible Republicans like council candidates Billy O’Connell and Barbara Delgleize have been rejected by the OCGOP.

Hanlon explains that those two leading candidates were denied their endorsements because Delgleize supports gay marriage and abortion rights for women and O’Connell gave campaign money to a few Democrats in the past.

One of the underlying problems with the Speaker endorsement, however, is that it would violate one of Baugh’s most important revolutionary decrees: the Party shall oppose union backed candidates. Read the full story

Posted in UncategorizedComments (3)

Defactualization: Bogus polls emerge from sea bottom before Poseidon hearing


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

In July the Surf City Voice exposed a bogus public opinion poll conducted by Poseidon Resources Inc. last spring that was obediently promoted by the Orange County Register’s Huntington Beach reporter, Jaimee Lyn Fletcher (Probolsky + Poseidon + Register = Bogus Desal Poll) in a subsequent news feature.

The poll purported to show an increase in support and decrease in opposition to Poseidon’s proposed seawater desalination plant, to be located at the corner of Newland Avenue and PCH in the southeast portion of Huntington Beach.

examining the cards

SCV editor John Earl examines "support" cards that Poseidon Resources collected over the past 5 years. Photo: Marie Braddock

We wrote: “But Fletcher’s article, like the poll it purports to inform its readers about, is laced with deception and wrapped in secrecy, no doubt providing a service to Poseidon but leading the Register’s unknowing readers astray in this election year.”

The Voice article revealed that the methodology used to conduct the poll, the wording of its questions, the name of the polling firm (Probolsky) and the political bias of its owner–and that he is a contributing columnist for the Register–were all kept secret by Fletcher and her editors, largely at the request of Poseidon.

Poseidon officials refused to reveal the vital details of the bogus poll, but just days before Tuesday’s (Sept. 7) City Council hearing  on the Poseidon project, Poseidon VP Scott Maloni revealed some of the previously secret questions of that poll, confirming the inherent bias of Poseidon’s polling methods that are intended to manipulate respondents to chose the “correct” answers. But Poseidon’s latest poll and its last minute PR stunt were clearly meant to be a thinly veiled threat to all current city council candidates, including sitting Councilmember Joe Carchio, who is running a troubled reelection campaign and needs all the support he can get.

A concrete example of that threat is on Poseidon’s website (emphasis is Poseidon’s):

“By about a three to one margin, Huntington Beach voters are more likely to support than oppose a City Council candidate that supports the desalination project (56.2% more likely to support vs. 17.7% more likely to oppose a candidate supportive of the desalination project).”

As part of a publicity stunt to promote the poll and to strong arm the City Council into passing the Poseidon’s updated Environmental Impact report, plus a long awaited and secretive pipeline franchise agreement and updated Owner Participation Agreement and development permits on tonight’s council agenda, Maloni dropped off over 4,700 postcards “signed by residents of Huntington Beach and Orange County,” according to his accompanying letter to Mayor Cathy Green, that he claimed are “a reflection of the broad support for the project throughout Huntington Beach, as documented by recent public opinion surveys and the project’s growing number of individual and organizational Read the full story

Posted in Environment, PoseidonComments Off

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