Jay and Gary Ignore the Law

The Wal-Mart sock puppets, who place getting a Wal-Mart in Rosemead above any consideration of fairness, democracy, or ethical behavior, cheered the death of democracy in Rosemead a few weeks ago. They were happy that a recall election that 4,800 people asked for by signing one of two petitions seeking the recall of city council members Gary Taylor and Jay Imperial was postponed by Judge Klausner. Jay Imperial and Gary Taylor, of course, joined them in celebrating the outcome. But, apparently, not even they bothered to read the judge’s order. Because, at the city council meeting on February 28, 2006, when I pointed out a few inconvenient facts about the judge’s order to Mr. Taylor and Mr. Imperial, they were speechless. And, as you know, with those two, that’s quite unusual.


Imperial raised three issues in seeking the preliminary restraining order. The first Imperial claim concerned the multilingual requirements of sec. 203 of the Voting Rights Act. But Imperial also raised two other issues. He said that when the city council voted on December 16 to reinstate the February 7 election, this date was less than 88 days after December 16 [it was], and that December 16 was more than the maximum 14 days after the recall petition was certified as sufficient [it was].

But why did the city council need to meet on December 16 to reinstate the February 7 election? Because eleven days earlier, on December 5, 2005, Imperial and Taylor [joined by Councilwoman Margaret Clark] cast illegal votes to postpone the election. Can you believe this guy? He casts an illegal vote to cancel an election. Then, when his illegal action is reversed, he runs to court and cries, "Foul!" [This actually reminds me of someone I used to play basketball with, back when I used to live in Nevada. But I digress].

The December 5 vote was illegal because California election law requires that, once a recall petition has been certified as sufficient, the city council "shall" set an election date within 88 and 125 days in the future. There is no discretion in the language. To do anything other than set an election is a deliberate dereliction of duty. To cancel an election once it has been set is also a dereliction of duty.

And on what basis do I say this? Why, Judge Klausner’s order from January 17, of course.

From page 5 of the judge’s order, fifth full paragraph: "Therefore, when the City Council adopted a resolution ordering the February 7 recall election, it did so under a statutory mandate. . . . As such, the December 5, 2005 stay and the December 16, 2005 reinstatement of the election have no bearing on the election itself, since the City Council has no discretion as to whether the election goes forward or not."

In the next paragraph, the last sentence that starts on this page reads, "In addition, for the same reasons, the City’s voters have a vested right to have an election within the time frames specified by the statute. To rescind, or otherwise change the election time frame, would constitute a violated (sic) of a vested right."

My recollection of the city council meeting of December 5, 2005, was that Councilman John Tran, Councilman John Nunez, and SOC Chair Larry Bevington all told the city council in no uncertain terms exactly that: The City Council did not have the discretion to cancel or suspend the recall election, and to vote to suspend the election was an illegal act. State Senator Gloria Romero pointed out that the words being spoken by Taylor and Imperial as they voted to cancel the election betrayed their claim that their actions had anything to do with securing the voting rights of Rosemead citizens. The "city’s" attorney, Peter Wallin, sort of waffled. He was as non-committal as could be. And, given his relationship with Gary Taylor, that spoke volumes. Wallin wasn’t about to commit legal malpractice for his friend, but neither would he come out and condemn the vote. Sad.

So the ethically challenged twosome of Imperial and Taylor voted to postpone the election. Then, on December 16, they cast illegal votes to try to prevent the election from being reinstated. Months before, back in October, Taylor had voted against placing the election on the ballot then, as well.

So let’s tally up the score: Margaret Clark cast one illegal vote to derail the recall election [although, to her credit, she did eventually come around on this issue]. Jay Imperial cast two illegal votes, then sued his own city to stop the recall election. Gary Taylor cast three illegal votes. Looks like it’s a tie between Gary and Jay. You two are both equally unethical and un-American.