Glass parking lot lawyers should not cast stones.

Royal Oak requests your presence at city hall Mon. Jan. 28th 7:30. Re:.The strengthening of ethics by oath or affirmation.

I am sure that anyone willing to work on our Royal Oak Commission for a pitance must be altruistic, have a bloated ego, or have an ulterior motive such as business. I believe it is former commissioner Terry Drinkwine who stated the major motive has to be ego. Another example was Romney who certainly did not need the job, with an income and ego that stretched from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland.

Thanks to Jim Rasor, commissioner, lawyer, advisor, activist and businessman we poor residents, recent and late, of all ages and incomes are still arguing with his attempt to take advantage of his position and acumen in handling business requests that come before the commission and boards he sits on. May I add with all the fiduciary responsibility of an elected official. Though his business card states that among his legal specialties handled by" Rasor Law and Associates" are government relations, which if put together with his elected position makes him an obvious go to attorney for advice on how to handle any conflict, or request from the city.

One would think that attorney Rasor would be well aware that as an elected official that any business activity he chooses to go into that competes with a city contracted, or owned business such as parking would be held to scrutinization, and judged as a conflict of interest .Hypothetically, if Mr.Razor instead decided to open a Mexican Restaurant while that would not compete our city it would still be looked askance at for taking advantage of his position by already established El Diablo, or Sangria, especially if it included a liquor license. 

In the past parking lots have not been seen as more than marginally profitable but that was not until  lucretive Arts, Beats, and Eats with parking at fifteen dollars a spot arrived and was added to the Dream Cruise, St.Patricks Day, and the weekend party bus blitz. Mr. Rasor may consider his charging for the limited parking on his property being permitted as not being any different from the Fresard property which he found available not entirely on his own, but co-incidentally when involved with a proposed hotel going before his position as  commissioner that he knew would compete with city owned and privately owned lots. I have heard of a similar complicated alleged conflict occurence by a lawyer/councilman now mayor in Pontiac.  A city with a long history of payoffs and corruption that Royal Oak has fortunately not emulated as yet.

As Patricia Capello, supported by Goodwin and Poulton aptly pointed out, the so called investigation of Fresard amounted to nothing more than an opinion based on superficial information taken by phone and was incomplete to say the least.

I commend the courage of Patricia Cappello, and have nothing but contempt for not only the lack of action by Mayor Ellison, but his ridicule and demeaning treatment of Capello and Goodwin.  Under the circumstances of a hostile majority on the rules committee (Rasor, Ellison, vs  Capello sympathetic Poulton)  Mr. Rasor is apparently encouraged to fight on for his right to open a parking business in Royal Oak despite his conflicting positions and in my lay opinion is abusing his legal profession to threaten not only Geoffrey Vasquez with a defamation suit, but also to pursue the legality of enforcing Patricia Cappello's proposed ethics oath, or affirmation which our mayor and Rasor's political ally is also oppossed against. He may in my opinion soon announce his intention to pursue a costly suit against the city he is sworn to serve if he does not get HIS way.

I am not an attorney, but to my knowledge no city, or person has ever been accused of the crime of taking an oath, or affirmation that he or she is without conflict with an issue appearing before a commission or board of which they are a member.  A violation of an oath or affirmation may not be punishable per se according to our charter but it does serve to put on notice any commissioner, or board member who may have a conflict to think twice before deciding to vote on an issue. If there is any doubt the elected, or appointed official has on a possibiity of conflict he/she should recuse from voting. 

In other words oath, or no oath a violation is a violation that can be prosecuted as an ordinance violation if the majority of the commission sees fit.

I can see each commissioner taking turn each meeting to read the oath/affirmation of non conflict, and the rest of the commission raising their right hand volunterally until the charter is amended to make it mandatory. Anyone who refuses in my opinion and wishes to contest the ordinance should under a revised charter be suspended without pay from the board until a legal decision (not opinion) is made in a court of law.  This includes all elected and appointed. ALL!

Presently Governor Snyder has announced more or less that with all the problems so many jurisdictions, and government levels have with ethical behaviors from Wayne County, to Detroit, to Lansing that he intends to see that ethics in local government becomes a state wide issue. To encourage whistle blowers the whistle blower laws must be strengthened regarding public officials threatening eonomically damaging defamation suits.

I would hope that if Mr.Rasor takes this issue to court on his own that the city will hold him or any other culpable official responsible for any legal costs incurred by the city if the case is dismissed or lost. This needs to be added to any charter revision as well. This would protect against frivilous lawsuit threats to obtain submission to a plaintiff's will. 



This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

THEODORE GIBSON February 02, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Carol: You say you care, I say I don't care. Unless you are going to actually put the City Commission on the spot, then your internet postings will have about the same impact as mine: No Impact. It's easy to say you care about enforcing the Charter. Its also easy for me to say I don't really care that much about this provision. At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. I don't plan to take action; will you or anyone else posting on this forum? That is the only way you can affect change.
Mark Itall February 23, 2013 at 09:08 AM
It is in the nature of the world and especially the Internet, that most topics fade away over time. It is also natural that the "most popular blogs" have the most reponses. Otherwise they aren't the "most popular", are they? I understand your frustration with not being able to start a topic over unless the Patch runs an article that lends itself to it. C'est la vie.


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