Contents of letter to Glenn Sabine dated January 19, 2006:
I wonder if you would be kind enough to clarify for me and the rest of Encinitas the advice you gave Council regarding proceeding with the mail ballot for Proposition C based primarily on stipulations in the Jarvis Taxpayers Association Settlement (hereinafter, JTPA Settlement). I also have a couple of other questions that were not resolved to my satisfaction and I hope you will entertain them too.
First, you advised Council to proceed with the mail ballot as they have been planning to for a couple of months now. My understanding is that your opinion relies almost entirely on the stipulation in the JTPA Settlement that the fee issue must go to a vote at the earliest opportunity. Did this stipulation preclude ironing out problems beforehand or endorse voting before all the details could be thoroughly researched? I know the JTPA Settlement prescribes a deadline of the first available voting date, but is that not a factor that could tolerate discretion? If the ballot measure is not ready to be voted on for whatever reason, would it not be judicious to pause and suffer the possible consequences rather than to plunge headlong into additional problems while blindly excusing any duty to exercise better judgment by claiming that you are bent on obeying the letter of the law?
Or, more appropriately, wouldn't it be prudent to consider the ballot logistics unresolved, acknowledge a valid challenge to the appropriateness of a mail ballot and prescribe a delay in the ballot to allow these questions to be remedied? I find it difficult to understand how you can proceed with a mail ballot if this fee is really a tax masquerading as a fee. Just because it was deemed a fee in the JTPA Settlement? Certainly if you saw some benefit to delaying the proceedings you would find a way; that fact is no secret to any interested observer.
Let me now turn to another aspect that troubles me. If the purpose of the proposed ballot is to determine the will of the people, how can the Councilmembers endorse and you fail to warn them, that including City property in the group that will receive ballots is tantamount to putting thousands of votes in the hands of a very small, biased entity -- namely City Council or Staff. How can it be remotely fair for 5 people to control the votes correlating with all of the City owned property? That certainly challenges the one person/one vote concept, doesn't it? And what about the prospect of large developers who likewise control numerous parcels -- are they not also in a position to distort the true agenda of the people by virtue of their control of more than one vote?
Additionally, in all the foregoing discussion, the ballot was to be directed to all property owners with water meters, rather than all parcel owners. This is a major difference and one which was sprung upon us in chambers while the Councilmembers were anxiously awaiting their opportunity to place their votes. If you were attempting to play fairly and avoid creating an adversarial relationship between residents and their elected officials, you failed miserably by allowing such a major change to go undisclosed until a vote by Councilmembers was imminent.
I admit resolving this equitably requires creativity. Perhaps you are not currently tasked to think outside the rigid confines of the letter of the law; and that is regrettable because you have missed an opportunity to aid our City Council and our City's residents and, instead, have directed us all down a path that promises only greater conflict and waste.
I challenge you to adopt a new attitude toward your role as City Attorney and I challenge you to begin right away. There is a greater good called Justice, that should be served by the application of law. When the application of law fails to serve Justice, then it is the duty of every individual to correct the offending law, including you, Sir. Surely you witnessed an opportunity to do just that last night.
It occurs to me that you may not feel obligated to respond, inasmuch as you answer to the City Council and do not see yourself beholding to the residents of the City of Encinitas. But perhaps it does not completely elude you that the Councilmembers serve at the pleasure of the voters of Encinitas, so expanding your viewpoint to do what is best for the community should not escape your gaze. It is with great empathy that I acknowledge the weight of the responsibility that rests on your shoulders, while I remain somewhat disappointed in what appears to be your adversarial attitude toward the members of the community who may disagree with your interpretation of the law on occasion. I trust you will find a way to overcome your anticipated reticence to consider my request for a reply.
I look forward to receiving your correspondence,
I would like to add that if Mr. Sabine does not change his attitude then perhapes he could change his latitude.