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Council moves to strengthen ethics rules

April 29, 2011|By Melanie Hicken,

City Council members this week moved to beef up campaign finance and ethics-related regulations, saying they wanted to eliminate even the appearance of pay-to-play politics.

Many candidates during the April 5 election campaign called for strengthening ethics rules in the wake of more than $100,000 that was funneled to past City Council campaigns through a network of subcontractors of Advanced Development and Investment, Inc. as well as from the subcontractors’ family members. Glendale filed a lawsuit last week alleging ADI had overcharged the city millions for affordable housing projects.

On Tuesday, the City Council directed City Atty. Scott Howard to draft provisions similar to additional rules in place in Pasadena and Los Angeles.


“We need to take that money out of the equation where as it could never even be perceived as to playing into the making of a fair decision,” said Mayor Laura Friedman.

Glendale regulations currently prohibit existing contractors and applicants seeking entitlements from donating to sitting officials.

On Tuesday, Councilman Ara Najarian said they should also consider prohibiting City Council members from voting on contracts or entitlements valued at $25,000 or more for a period of one year after receiving a contribution from the applicant.

He also endorsed barring a candidate from receiving a contributions from someone who has benefited from a City Council vote for a year following the action.

“That should be a starting point for this…that’s what really betrays the public’s trust,” Najarian said.

Measure H in Los Angeles, approved by voters last month, goes further. Any contractor or subcontractor who expects to receive at least $100,000 worth of work through a city contract are barred from donating to a campaign.

Council members on Tuesday asked Howard to return with potential subcontractor-related provisions in addition to options for creating a database of subcontractors working on city projects.

Friedman — who received $16,000 from subcontractors of ADI or their family members, but has contended she has no idea of the connection — said candidates cannot readily access that information under the current system.

“You may know who gives you money, but you don’t know who they are working for,” she said.

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