In response to Brad Nix’s recent guest comment, “Restore honesty in Oakley government” last week, a great injustice has occurred by the publishing of that editorial. It was nothing more than a hit job against this city. I am surprised that as a former councilmember himself he is arrogant to think people have such short attention spans. It’s actually quite bizarre.
Mr. Nix knows very well the council and Mr. Montgomery are not in a position to defend themselves and took advantage of the situation. His comment was irresponsible and disgusting. The Oakley Press should also take blame for publishing it without fact checking.
In regard to the $50,000 deferral of payments, Mr. Nix makes it out like the city gave Mr. Montgomery a blank check. The reality is, no money exchanged and the two-year deferral is put on the back end of the loan – meaning two additional years of principal and interest will be paid at the end of the loan.
He then states public corruption in the form of a Brown Act violation. He claims Mayor Jim Frazier has had a previous Brown Act violation while on the Planning Commission, claiming he was warned by the former city attorney. If this was true, what happened and where is the record? There is none! Let’s pretend this did occur; it does not mean he was guilty of an actual violation. Truth is: Mr. Nix is wrong about previous Brown Act violations.
In terms of the most recent incident, how does he know a Brown Action violation occurred? Was he present to witness this firsthand? As an attorney, he should have more common sense to realize that if a council rescinds a deal and takes no action, a violation by law does not occur. Instead, he stretched the truth to make people look bad. Without a guilty verdict via investigation, one should keep accusations to oneself.
Mr. Nix moves on and accuses Mr. Montgomery of improperly firing an employee that resulted in an “unnecessary” lawsuit. He fails to provide any circumstances of this employee’s termination. He is of the opinion this was a bad judgment, but it doesn’t mean Mr. Montgomery’s actions were not warranted or not in the best interests of the organization. Mr. Nix provided no details to back up his example of poor judgment.
In hit-and-run fashion, he immediately moved onto the claim that the city spent $500,000 on audio-visual (AV) equipment for the council chamber, and then claims it doesn’t work well enough to televise meetings.
On Nov. 25, 2008, while a councilmember, Mr. Nix was quoted that the estimate to broadcast the council meetings would be a one-time $15,000 fee, with an annual $10,000 maintenance cost. This is a far cry from $500,000.
According to an Oct. 10, 2008 posting on Councilmember Kevin Romick’s blog, it explains the council chambers as follows: The chambers includes four plasma TVs that serve as displays for cameras, computers and to play DVDs. A plasma TV is also included in the lobby to allow viewing of meetings outside of the chambers. The council meetings will be recorded by a DVR. Council members will have computer access from the dais.
All one has to do is look at the contract between the city and Scheer Home Systems to see the city spent just under $95,000 to broadcast the council meetings. If the AV system does not work properly, rather than attack the council, maybe Mr. Nix should hold the vendor accountable – after all, Scheer Home Systems is the electronics expert, not the council.
Next he claims the council wasted $12 million in redevelopment dollars for Centro-Mart, which is wrong. The entire purchase was for a 7-acre parcel that included Centro-Mart and many other addresses for a total of $6 million. In fact, on March 17, 2011, the Oakley Press ran an article about this very purchase. The city actually saved $1.6 million in the deal. Rather than fib about the purchase, Mr. Nix should say thank you for the savings.
Finally, Mr. Nix takes a cheap shot at councilmember Pat Anderson about the Montgomery bonus by using a quote, “If we like you, we take care of you …” He claimed this was from a local newspaper. I request proof this article even exists. Ms. Anderson has not made that statement at any of the council meetings since the mortgage deal came to light.
As a former city leader, Mr. Nix should know better than to tarnish the city name with bad information. To engage in an honest debate, Mr. Nix must immediately: 1. Apologize to Mr. Montgomery. 2. Apologize to the council. 3. Issue a written apology in the Oakley Press.
Oakley is a beautiful town full of good hardworking people who are honest. We do not need phony propaganda ruining its good name by a bully.
Michael W. Burkholder, Oakley