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LETTERS -- Yes, Councilmember Davis, You Have an Ethics Problem

February 10, 2021

Dear Editor

This is a tale of two Councilmembers. Oscar de la Torre was recently punished by his fellow Councilmembers for a conflict of interest he didn’t have.

Yet Gleam Davis was let off the hook when she admittedly has a conflict because her husband works for a Dell company ("Councilmember Davis Has Financial Conflict of Interest in Miramar Project, FPPC Says," February 5, 202l).

De la Torre was barred by Interim City Attorney George Cardona and the Council from discussions of the lawsuit requesting district elections because his wife is one of the plaintiffs.

They would receive no financial benefit from a ruling in the lawsuit and he should be allowed to participate in Council discussions of the issue. The same body that ruled against Davis, California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), affirmed that de la Torre has no financial conflict

The ruling against Davis was delivered in a letter from the FPPC dated October 16. She has since written an opinion piece seeking to justify her silence. ("Councilmember Davis Provides Timeline on Miramar Report," Feb. 9).

Why wasn’t her conflict decision disclosed prior to November 3 when Davis was up for re-election? Some voters might have changed their minds about supporting her.

The fact that she had a financial conflict, yet for eight years continued to support in every way possible the Miramar expansion project, was never raised in or out of Council.

During those eight years she had ample time to promote the Miramar project with staff, the media, community groups and other Councilmembers and during the Downtown Community Plan sessions in 2017.

She has never claimed that such activities did not occur. Who would believe her husband did not receive career benefits because of her office? Her belated 2020 recusal does not excuse eight years of unethical conduct.

Who knew of her conflict and the FPPC letter and when? The Interim City Manager? Other Council members?

Why didn’t the Interim City Attorney, who did know, notify the public of the FPPC ruling? Was there a cover-up to protect Davis’ Council seat? Cardona had no hesitancy in pointing a finger at de la Torre.

Davis is a public official and she has a duty to inform the public of a material fact that affects her job performance. Because of her unethical activities for eight years and her failure to disclose the adverse conflict of interest ruling to voters, she should resign or be recalled.

The Council should set another election to fill her council seat instead of appointing one of its cronies. Only by doing so can the city erase the ugly stain of this matter.

Harriet P and Stanley H Epstein
Santa Monica

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