By Marianne Milligan
Posted: 08/25/2011 04:42:56 PM PDT

It is important that we, the voters, understand that city attorneys in California are expected to abide by ethical principles adopted by the City Attorneys Department of the League of California Cities.

This universally adopted Code of Ethics states: There should be “no politicization” of the office of city attorney and more specifically states “the city attorney or persons seeking to become city attorney should not make campaign contributions to or participate in campaigns of that city’s officials.”

Our current City Attorney Jim Penman regularly opposes City Council candidates who disagree with his tactics and politics, funneling thousands of dollars into the campaigns of select City Council candidates, including contributions and loans to his staunch ally Wendy McCammack.

Penman has given thousands of dollars of campaign work to McCammack’s printing business. McCammack then loans thousands of dollars to his campaigns – both the city attorney and mayoral campaigns. He also accepts campaign donations, sometimes very large donations, from employee unions such as police, fire and general unit employees. These ties clearly compromise the independence required of a city attorney.

The Code of Ethics also states that “the city attorney should conduct himself/herself at all times in a professional and dignified manner, interacting with all elected officials and city staff … with courtesy and respect … the city attorney should be a role model of decorum and respect.”

His lack of respect and civility toward others at City Hall is well known and documented. Anyone who regularly watches our City Council meetings has seen Penman’s temper tantrums as he rises, yelling and red-faced to challenge those, on or off the council, who disagree with him. Penman constantly threatens lawsuits and investigations against those who disagree with him.

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