A number of years ago Dr. Gordon was given some intentionally incorrect legal advice by the then Burbank city attorney that was deliberately designed to keep his pesky contrarian self out of as much Magnolia Park business as possible.
He repeated a bit of it last night, and so we thought we should clarify something important.
By both council fiat and his general cautious nature, Gordon was never allowed to vote on or deal with any old Magnolia Park P-BID business (or general MP business at all) because — as everyone at the time was informed by the city attorney — his status as a Magnolia Park merchant would have supposedly made it an illegal conflict of interest for him to get officially involved in Magnolia Park business in any way, let that of a private citizen.
Rather than quote chapter and verse from the AG’s manual about what in fact constitutes a politician’s geographical or financial conflict of interest in California — and how the rules only apply if the individuals are in a specific and limited class of circumstances — we’ll leave it at this:
If as a member of the council Gordon could not vote on Magnolia Park city business because he also had a personal business there, how then could any of the Burbank council members vote on any Burbank business if they are at all in a position to be financially impacted by their decisions in the same way?
They can’t. In fact, none of the council members would be able to function as decision makers if this were indeed the legal criteria for determining a COI. A council homeowner for instance wouldn’t be allowed to vote on any city wide fees or taxes that could impact them personally. Not a one. Which of course is absurd.
The legal limitation on this btw is called a “singular interest.” That’s the determining factor.
So because Gordon was in the same position as every other class of MP merchants, and because it was a large class of individuals both economically and geographically, and with no singular interest for him in particular, he was allowed to weigh in on MP P-BID matters and MP matters in general without it being a legal conflict of interest. The only exception for him would have been close geography or a singular financial advantage to the decision.
Too bad he wasn’t.