March 26, 2015
The Fair Political Practices Commission made a couple of findings of probable cause in the matter of Russell Betts. I've heard these findings misinterpreted by more than one person.
First, they explain "probable cause."
Please note, a finding of probable cause does not constitute a finding that a violation has actually occurred. The respondents are presumed to be innocent of any violation of the Political Reform Act unless a violation is proved in a subsequent proceeding.
And then it goes on with two findings of probable cause:
In the Matter of Russell Betts, 12/289: After a hearing on January 13, 2015, probable cause was found to believe Respondent committed the following violations of the Act:
Respondent Russell Betts, in or about March 2011, as a member of the City of Desert Hot Springs City Council, used or attempted to use his official position to influence governmental decisions regarding the installation of a barricade, in which he had a financial interest because he owned real property within 500 feet of the property which was the subject of the governmental decision, in violation of Government Code Section 87100.
Respondent Russell Betts, on or about September 18, 2011, as a member of the City of Desert Hot Springs City Council, used or attempted to use his official position to influence a governmental decision regarding a development agreement to develop an upscale restaurant in city owned property in downtown Desert Hot Springs, in which he had a financial interest because he held a leasehold interest in real property within 500 feet of the property which was the subject of the governmental decision, in violation of Government Code Section 87100.
Most readers will recognize that latter item was part of Jason Simpson's harassment complaint against Betts and Rick Daniels' letter of complaint.
Your assessment of "probable cause" is correct. However, if the FPPC has determined probable cause exists, they believe they have enough evidence for a final determination of improper conduct. There's too many allegations of political shenanigans state-wide to proceed on frivolous allegations.
Posted by: Russ Martin at Mar 26, 2015 8:55:09 PM