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The Whole Truth about Pat’s Claim to the City for a Medical Reimbursement

The bullies behind the recall attempt are very deceptive. They say that Pat caused the city to spend $83,000 to defend a lawsuit related to his broken wrist injury after his fall on a city sidewalk. Their statement suggests that the city had no options other than to fight Pat in court. They also suggest that Pat’s claim is weak because he had no witnesses. They say that this is among many other reasons why he should be recalled. But, they hide the following from you:

The bullies hide the fact that the city should have paid Pat $8,500 to cover his medical expense (wrist surgery and physical therapy) and instead the city chose to spend 10 times that amount to fight Pat’s claim. The bullies also hide the fact that Pat, as a newly elected council member, spoke and voted in opposition to the city manager’s large pay raise and bonus (which brought his annual compensation to $380,000/year). They don’t want you to know that Pat opposed the pay raise at the same time his medical claim was being reviewed by the city. Pat thinks that the city management retaliated against him. Who on earth would spend $83,000 to save $8,500? The answer: our city management.

In addition, the bullies hide the fact that Pat filed a claim for medical reimbursement just like other citizens do in similar situations. And then the city rejected his claim and forced him to sue for damages, knowing that their defense would be an order of magnitude more expensive to the taxpayers! And they knew that they could defeat him with far superior resources (yours and my tax money). What amount would they have stopped at in defeating Pat? $830,000 or $8,300,000 or what?

And the bullies don’t want you to know that our city cannot afford to properly maintain sidewalks. There is a backlog of needed repairs that the city cannot keep up with. City management has openly admitted to a policy of intentionally ignoring sidewalk hazards because the city’s liability would increase if they do not repair known hazards in a timely manner. Refer to City Council Special Meeting Budget Workshop, May 22, 2014 at 1hr 45min into the meeting for dialog between Councilman Davis and a city management representative. Robert Walker (the interim city manager) stated that the more the city knows about sidewalk hazards, the more liable for injuries the city would be. He said “once you know and you’ve identified that there’s a problem, you’re liable for the problem”. Davis was clearly annoyed by that answer, saying that it was a “poor system in regards to accepting responsibility” and it is the same as “putting our head in the sand”. And that is an understatement! Davis was absolutely right. Like all property owners, the city has a legal obligation to maintain the safety of its property, including sidewalks. Can this be considered gross negligence? By pretending that sidewalk hazards do not exist and not fixing them, the city is encouraging more injuries, injury claims and lawsuits.

With the blessings of most city council members (except Pat) our city management receives much higher than average salaries, pensions and bonuses. Yet managers make horrible decisions to waste huge sums of money to defeat Pat's medical claim and pretend to be unaware of safety hazards. So there is enough money to pay huge salaries and retirement benefits but not enough to fix sidewalks. And even worse is the possibility that the city retaliated against Pat. And we are constantly reminded that we must spend huge sums of money for the best and brightest people in city management. It looks like salary is not necessarily a useful measure of management quality.

I hope no citizen ever walks alone on public property, falls and gets injured because with enough money our city can hire lawyers to win any case against us no matter what the circumstances of the case, especially if you lack a few perfect witnesses. Really “good” lawyers can twist facts around to make the innocent out to be the villain. Who knows, you may be accused of attempting to damage city property by leaping to the ground in an attempt to break your body apart.

Apparently the city rejects all injury claims that cannot be verified with witnesses. So, honest citizens without witnesses should not even bother filing claims. Sunnyvale management has publicly stated that it does not want to know the magnitude of their sidewalk hazards in order to avoid liability and they are deliberately putting pedestrians at risk. Honest people are expected to suffer injuries and pay their own expenses while Sunnyvale city management commits gross negligence without recourse. That's pretty disgusting.

Pat is justified in seeking his rightful reimbursement and the city should do the right thing and begin a survey of sidewalks and repair them, beginning with the most dangerous ones.

Now you can see how the ruthless people behind the recall effort are producing “cherry picked” information and intentionally hiding the full story to deceive you into signing their petition. This is just one example of the deception they are spreading. Don’t be fooled by their claims. I suggest doing the homework before forming conclusions. Pat is one of a few people trying to correct the ills of the city and consequently has become the target of developer-backed ex-council members and a few of their friends.




The Whole Truth about Pat not Signing the City Code of Ethics and Conduct

In this case the bullies behind the recall attempt want you to believe that Pat is a bad guy because he refused to sign the City Code of Ethics and Conduct agreement. Do a little homework and you will find that the situation is just the opposite, and once again the bullies are out to deceive us by leaving out the rest of the story.

There are two different ethics items involved here. The first is a bi-annual Ethics Training for Local Officials that is mandated by state law (Assembly Bill 1234) for all local agencies. It is not optional and like all the council members, Pat is up to date on his training and has signed all related agreements.

The second item is Sunnyvale’s Code of Ethics and Conduct document that, among other things, limits the criticism that can be directed at other council members, prevents council members from engaging in conflicts of interest, and describes desired ethical behavior. That document has a signature page attached. Signing this document is optional, not required of council members. You can see the document at tap here.

Many current and ex-council members, including the mayor, routinely vote while in conflict of interest on issues before the council. Those members should abstain from voting in such cases. This unethical behavior rewards the special interests and robs the citizens of their rightful representation. For example, real estate developers who have given money to these people’s campaigns happily expect that council members will pay them back with favorable votes for rezoning and increased density projects, etc. All of the violators have signed the city’s Code of Ethics and Conduct.

In addition to his conflict of interest violations, the current mayor, Jim Griffith, also violated it by misrepresenting his political opponent, Tap Merrick, in the most recent election. Merrick’s political website was named Griffith created three websites with the same URLs, except that the suffixes were .com, .net, and .org. His websites appeared to be broken versions of Merrick’s true website. He falsified Merrick’s identity and attempted to make his opponent seem incompetent. Griffith has been accused of, among other things, violating California’s Political Cyberfraud Abatement Act, political cyber squatting, and of violating California Business and Professions Code.

No corrective action was ever taken against Griffith that I know of. He said he was merely playing a joke. You can ask Tap Merrick what he thought of the alleged joke. It is certainly a violation of the city’s Code of Ethics, and it is probably a violation of the law. Since the majority of council members is funded by special interests and are themselves guilty of misconduct, we don’t expect them to take action against Griffith for his violations, right?

So the city’s Code of Ethics and Conduct document is regularly signed and then violated. While I like the Code of Ethics in spirit, I’m not convinced it does much good.

But there are exceptions. Pat Meyering is one of the few honest people on council. He refused to sign the document, not because he wanted to be free to misrepresent opponents or vote in conflict of interest, but because he wanted to criticize council members for ethics violations! Remember that the ethics code limits the criticism among council members. If Pat was dishonest like most other members, he would simply sign and violate. But Pat is honest. He refused to sign, since he knew his criticism of misconduct was essential to any hope of fixing the problems in Sunnyvale. It is a travesty of justice to insist upon a person’s silence in the presence of wrongdoing. Pat has as much or more respect for ethics than any council member that has signed the document.

Pat does not gain politically or monetarily from his actions. But most other council members and ex-members cannot make that claim (see section “Why is Pat being Silenced?”). The ex-members started the recall effort since they want to stop Pat from exposing their behavior while the rate of Sunnyvale real estate development is increasing quickly. If the public ever discovers that the city is under siege by developers, the special interest council members might be voted out. Those council members would no longer receive special interest gifts. And any ex-members wanting to run again for office would have a much more difficult time succeeding.

It is ironic and brazen that the very people behind the recall are trying to distract our attention from their own ethics violations by deceiving us into believing it is Pat, not they, who is unethical! They are the ones who sign and violate. And their ethics violations hurt the citizens of Sunnyvale by impacting our quality of life. But Pat’s "disruptions" hurt only the guilty council members who are being called out for conflict of interest and excessive spending.

This is another example of the deception being spread by the people behind the recall. Once again, don’t be fooled by their claims. I suggest doing the homework before forming conclusions.