What Is The AG Waiting For?

Anthony Pignataro:

Seriously people, what does it take for the Attorney General’s office to issue a formal opinion on a simple matter like whether Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member Richard Katz violate the doctrine of incompatible offices by sitting on the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board? It’s been months since the issue became public, a month since the office started investigating and, according to this Los Angeles Times story, nearly a year since the two men wrote e-mails that show — no, exemplify — that they’re holding too many public offices.

“If some degree of adult supervision is not employed within this week,” Pringle — the HSR board chairman — e-mailed then-HSR executive director Mehdi Morshed back in January concerning issues involving the placement of a transit station in Anaheim, then he would ask for “full discussion of our entire program management oversight.”

Morshed’s response, also obtained by the Times, shows in black and white why this state has something called the doctrine of incompatible offices. “In reading your e-mail I had difficulty separating the message from the mayor with that of the chairman of the authority,” Morshed wrote.

E-mails from Katz illustrate similar conflicts. When Morshed forwarded one message from a deputy attorney general concerning a HSR contractor who gave a confidential planning document to an MTA official in Los Angeles, Katz responded, “Please tell our attorney to bite me.” Katz denied telling the contractor to give MTA the document, but characterized it as proper.

If the AG’s office is waiting until the whole issue is moot — Katz’ resignation from the bullet train board is effective Dec. 1 and Pringle leaves office as Anaheim mayor a week later — then we shouldn’t have long to wait for a resolution.

NOV. 24, 2010

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