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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Lack of Guidelines on Fines, City Policy Arbitrary

City Violates Sacramento Election Law

Fails to Fine Late Filing Council Members, Report Council Late Filings

Arbitrariness, Favoritism Rears Its Head at City Hall

Sheri Hartz
Emeryville City Clerk

She failed to notify the FPPC
of Council members' delinquency
and failed to levy fines
against the two Council
members as required.
The City of Emeryville has failed to report City Council election misconduct to the Fair Political Practices Commission and miscarried its duty to fine two delinquent Council members as is required, the Tattler has learned.  In the run up to the 2020 election, Mayor Christian Patz and Councilwoman Ally Medina were negligent in their duty to file political campaign donor information with the FPPC and a Public Records Request revealed the City failed in its duty to report that to the FPPC and to levy required fines against the two procrastinating Council members.  

City Clerk Sheri Hartz told the Tattler it is “generally the City’s practice to work with filers toward compliance rather than to assess fines”.
However the FPPC is clear that barring any municipal guidelines permitting fines to be waived or reduced, the fine schedule defaults to the State suggested $10 per day for every day a candidate is late on filing the proper disclosure forms.  Because the City did not disclose the existence of any such municipal guidelines in the Tattler Public Records Request response, the City is presumed to not have any guidelines and is therefore not free to ‘work with filers’ and waive the fines, lest public policy at City Hall descend into capriciousness.  

Mayor Christian Patz
He owes $1010 in fines
for late filing his campaign
contribution forms.
Following a November 8th Tattler story on the late filings and the assessment of fines to be applied against the two Council members, City Attorney Michael Guina cited government code §84200.8 that unequivocally permits the City, at its pleasure, an exception to waive a portion of the fines the Tattler quoted specifically because the Council members ran unopposed in the election.  Without the exception taken, Mr Patz and Ms Medina would owe $3130 and $1310 respectively, as reported by the Tattler.  With the exception taken and the City invoking §84200.5 (its right to forgive the Council members), Mayor Patz who filed his late Forms 460 the day after the November 8th Tattler story, now owes $1010 for his 101 days late filing at $10 per day and Councilwoman Medina owes $30 for her three days late filing.  Owing to a lack of existing municipal guidelines delineating how late fees are to be assessed, the City is supposed to fine the City Council members these amounts and failure to do so would represent a breach of FPPC protocol for the City of Emeryville and would raise the specter of capriciousness and political favoritism extant at City Hall.

Ms Hartz did not answer in the Public Records Request as to why she failed to report the Council members' late FPPC filings as she is required to do.

The FPPC may levy additional fines against the two Emeryville City Council members at the rate of $5000 per violation, at their discretion.  The Tattler will be reporting to the FPPC, the Council members’ and the City Clerk’s failures to disclose the required filings. 

Councilwoman Medina has acknowledged her late filing of her Form 460.  Responding to the November 6th Tattler story, she said she had “whiffed”, whereas Mayor Patz's acknowledgment of his culpability in his late filing came solely in the form of his rush to file the forms the day after the Tattler story.  Mr Patz refused to comment for this story. 


OOPS!  Mayor's Math Error!
A screen shot of Mayor Patz's late filed Form 460.
The day after the November 8th Tattler story, Mayor Patz finally turned in his late campaign contributions form.  He shows his major contributors to be the politically connected CEO Rich Robbins of Wareham Development and political lobbyist/schmoozer, the oily John Gooding
In his flustering rush to file his form, Mayor Patz didn't add up his numbers correctly.  Ending Cash Balance should read $4542.04, not $5964.30. 


  1. Brian: I am so glad you are on-top of the City's Council behaviors! I have personally found the City Council's lack of real inquiry into new projects and annual City protocols to be inexcusable and indicative of a general sense of indolance and real concern for the health and welfare of Emeryville citizens. Kudos for your research and your clarion voice! BTW: The "Sustainability Committee" of the City seems completely inadequate in addressing real issues of design, efficiency, and protection of the air, soil, land, and health of Emeryville citizens. Such a clear symptom of general disregard for ecological health. --Dr. Eugene Tssui, architect, author, international professor--

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement Eugene. This story, with its airing of government incompetence for all to see and a suggestion of possible public corruption, is alarming. And there’s more to report for this evolving story you should know. I’m waiting for another Public Records Request response and a follow up story will be coming. But more alarming still is another story I’m working on that cuts straight to the government’s fundamental charge to protect the health of the people. What the story will reveal is that COVID-19 and Emeryville City Hall are not a good match.

  2. Favoritism is right. The city is protecting the councilers. Patz will never pay this.

    1. i was treasurer for three city council candidates. it is very easy to miss filing deadlines because due dates are not from the first of the month to the end of the month. they are mid week to mid week or mid month to mid month. and donations of a certain amount must be filed within 24 hours. so, mr. or ms. anonymous, you are wrong when you say "patz will never pay this." once the fppc receives notification from the city clerk that a report has not been filed, it is published monthly online. all late filers will pay their fees or penalties. here i lay the blame and responsibility on the city clerk.

      shirley enomoto

    2. He won't pay because the city won't make him and he hasn't apologized like Medina did. That lets you know he feels superior and the law doesn't apply to him. Patz is a typical politician.