Councilwoman Jacky Bravo exhibited true independence and courage during the March 13th council meeting regarding the mandated yearly council vote of confidence for the city attorney. While Councilwoman Bravo avoided going down her list of concerns about the city attorney situation she did vote “no” confidence. Not surprisingly, the rest of the council rubber-stamped “yes” votes of confidence.
A couple council members praised the fact that they didn’t just hire a city attorney, they hired the whole Weiss Serota law firm that supplies the attorneys. They liked the idea that it gives the city access to other specialized attorneys if needed. Sounds good in theory but not in our reality. Our previous Weiss Serota city attorney was local resident Dan Espino. He was the taxpayer funded legal expert for the city during the betrayal of the residents when they failed to ensure the downtown developers paid an appropriate parking fee which could have been a million dollars or more. But wait! As some of our council gleefully pointed out, they hired the whole firm. Which means the whole firm failed us residents.
Espino quickly moved on to a partnership in a major law firm specializing in zoning and land use. And of course, his replacement is another Weiss Serota attorney which presents a huge conflict of interest. Not much chance of our present attorney exposing any failures of the same firm where she is a partner. The new attorney had earlier stated it might not be too late to charge the developers parking fees. But that was before the big cover-up was put into motion and they decided against transparency and answering simple questions.
Our council failed us for not holding Weiss Serota accountable and moving on to new legal representation. Once again, kudos to Councilwoman Bravo for being our only elected official brave enough to protect our community by trying to hold our city law firm accountable for failing to protect the interests of us residents.