The following email blast was sent to Wilmont members:
Complaint Lodged Against Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor Alleging Il-
legal Campaign Contributions
Dear Wilmont Member:
A group of Santa Monica residents known as the “Transparency Project” (https://www.facebook.com/SMRevealed) is alleging that Santa Monica
Mayor Pam O’Connor has been accepting illegal campaign contributions.
A complaint detailing thirty-one (31) instances – accompanied by over
70 exhibits – has been filed. It alleges and enumerates Mayor O’Con-
nor’s repeated violations of City Charter Amendment XXII, the Taxpa-
yer Protection Amendment of 2000 (a.k.a. ‘the Oakes Initiative’) for
illegally accepting campaign contributions from developers, after vot-
ing to approve their projects.
In the latest move, Santa Monica’s City Attorney has referred the
Transparency Project’s complaint to the Public Integrity Division of
the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. Santa Monica City Attorney
Marsha Moutrie stated that because she “reports directly to the City
Council” (of which the mayor – and subject of the complaint – is a
member) “her office has a conflict of interest, as does the Santa Mon-
ica Police Department.”
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division describes
its responsibility concerning public officials as follows: “Public offi-
cials are elected to positions of public trust. In the event of any bre-
ach of this trust the Public Integrity Division will investigate, and
if appropriate, prosecute criminal misconduct by any elected public off-
icial.” Specifically, concerning election and campaign violations, the
PID explains: “Because the integrity of the election process is crucial
to a free and democratic society, the District Attorney’s Office must be
vigilant in enforcing all laws that regulate the election process. In
this regard, the Public Integrity Division is charged with investigat-
ing and prosecuting allegations of voter fraud, illegal voter registra-
tion practices, illegal campaign practices, illegal campaign contribu-
tions and falsification of candidacy papers.” (See http://da.co.la.ca.
The Transparency Project alleges these serious allegations relate to
serial batched, coordinated contributions that Ms. O’Connor accepted
from owners, principals, or senior officers of three of the biggest
developers in Santa Monica – Hines, Macerich, and Century West – after
she voted to award each developer a substantial public benefit.
The Transparency Project describes itself as an all-volunteer group of
Santa Monica residents concerned about openness and accountability in
Santa Monica city government and politics. The Transparency Project
formed in 2010 after a developer-funded PAC refused to timely disclose
contributor information to Santa Monica voters. Project members track
political contributions to city council candidates and officers to en-
sure that representatives serve the public’s best interest.
The above is reported information. The Wilshire Montana Neighborhood
Coalition expresses no opinion on the validity of the allegations con-
tained in the complaint at this time.
Now we have the email from the City:
Dear Mr. Eubank,
First, I’d like to introduce myself, as we have not had the pleasure of
meeting yet. I am the new Public Affairs Officer for the City of Santa
Monica. One of my responsibilities includes administering the Neighbor-
We have received an inquiry concerned about the email blast sent from
the Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Coalition on Tuesday, October 21, 2014
with the Subject: Complaint Lodged Against Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Con-
nor Alleging Illegal Campaign Contributions.
The reason for the concern stems from the use of city Neighborhood Match-
ing Grant Funds to distribute information containing political content,
which is a restricted use of the funds. According to the paperwork your
organization submitted at the end of the FY 2013/14 year, the WMNC@wild-
apricot.org email address used to distribute this email was funded by
the matching grant funds (Website/Email Hosting renewal fee 6/28/14-
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns and feel free
to follow up with me if there is any information you think we should have.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
Communications & Public Affairs Officer
Office of the City Manager
Response From Laurence Eubank
October 27, 2014
Thank you for your note.
The letter to Wilmont members regarding Transparency allegations re:
Mayor O’Connor was for informational purposes and specifically stated
that the Wilmont Board did not endorse nor vouchsafe for the informa-
tion contained therein.
Transparency’s complaint was sent to newspapers and the Los Angeles DA
office – in that regard it is in the public domain.
If someone alleges that the Complaint contained ‘political content’,
please explain to us how information readily available to the public is
‘political’. For that matter, if we include the name of any city offi-
cial in any of our correspondence, does this make the matter ‘political’?
The Mayor has publically explained she is returning some of the contri-
butions contained in the Complaint, actions which we intend to inform
our members. Is that political content?
For example, at the City Council meeting tomorrow night (10/28) a dis-
cussion will take place that involves water – assuredly a major concern
of Wilmont and all Santa Monica residents. Definitely, we will alert
our members to the public positions espoused by Councilors on the mat-
ter. Does that make it political?
The Wilmont Board are volunteer residents dedicated to informing our
neighbors on the issues before our city. To claim that our communcia-
tions have politic comment when that information is in the public do-
main is spurious and, to my mind, a simple intimdation tactic malevo-
lent to our exercise of open public debate.
If this does not conclude the matter, I invite you to address our mem-
bership in person at your earliest convenience.
Thank you and, on behalf of Wilmont Board members, our very best regards.
To the editor:
This is to notify you that I have made a Public Records request of the
Santa Monica City Attorney regarding communications between Rod Gould,
City Manager, Elaine Polochek, Deputy City Manager, Deborah Lee, Commun-
cations and Public Affairs Officer in the City Manager’s office, and
Mayor Pam O’Connor regarding the email communication copied above, which
I believe can be characterized as an attempt to muzzle the Wilshire Mon-
tana Neighborhood Coalition, a Santa Monica neighborhood group, for pro-
iding information to its members.
As a long-time Santa Monica resident and participant in the Neighborhood
Council, I want to know the chain of command that resulted in this egre-
gious intimidation of a neighborhood group and an attempt to shut down dis-
closure of allegations of illegal campaign contribution behavior by Mayor
O’Connor that are now under investigation by the City Attorney and the
Los Angeles DA’s office.