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Mercado-Fortine a victim of Hart district

Posted: January 19, 2011 8:17 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2011 4:55 a.m.
 

On Nov. 7, Joe Messina and Steve Sturgeon knew that their only course of action concerning their accusations of conflict-of-interest by Gloria Mercado-Fortine was to file a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

They did not file in November. Despite their concerns and accusations at the December Hart district board meeting, they did not file in December. They assured Signal staff they would file before the end of 2010, then at the beginning of 2011. They did not file.

Here we are in mid-January, and Messina and Sturgeon promise they are taking it to district counsel.

Wendy Wiles, the Hart district counsel, was present for the first half of the December board meeting, but left before the organizational part of the evening.

Either Messina or Sturgeon could have requested that she stay and settle the matter there in public session. After all, they had a month since District Attorney Steve Cooley’s letter informed them there was nothing actionable; that they could file at FPPC and to get their case against Mercado-Fortine in order.

To anyone who has watched this attempt at political railroading, it is clear this was never about conflict of interest. It was about making sure that Mercado-Fortine did not sit in the president’s chair in 2011.

They have come to the Signal three times with stories that smear Mercado-Fortine, but have not backed these accusations with meaningful action. Wiles is not their personal attorney, but works for the Hart district — ultimately meaning us — at $400 an hour. She shouldn’t be used to advise two board members on how to further smear another board member’s good name and reputation.

An apology just won’t be adequate this time, Joe and Steve.

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