September 18, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Oaks Finally Enforced; Terry O’Day Found to Have Twice Violated Oaks, Fined

After a 16-year City campaign against Santa Monica’s anti-corruption law known as Oaks, the City has enforced it.  Based upon Complaints filed by the Transparency Project, the City has fined Council member Terry O’Day for having twice violated Oaks. Council member O’Day was found to have illegally accepted contributions from two well-known individuals. On the record he also approved contracts in their favor.

The two contributions were $340 each. O’Day agreed to pay a $500 fine to settle the matter.

Chief Deputy City Attorney Terry L. White, who is now designated as our City’s “Oaks enforcer” specifically found:
  • “Each of these contributions violated the Oaks Initiative…”
  • Councilmember O’Day “clearly did not exercise due diligence in his initial receipt of the contributions and the subsequent failure to return them within ten days of receiving the contributions.”

“As noted, this was an administrative oversight that was corrected as soon as it came to my attention,” Councilmember Terry O’Day told The Mirror.  I’m pleased to have closed this minor matter and am pleased to have the broad support of voters to continue to serve our city.”

In November, 83 percent of voters supported broadening and strengthening Oaks. Mr. White made it clear that he expects “all councilpersons in the future will be diligent” in obeying the law.

“It is a very positive step that the City has finally recognized its responsibility to uphold Oaks and sanction a public official for violating it. Many residents have worked long and hard to reach this result. But we are quite concerned that after all the City Council sessions discussing the importance of Oaks last year and public officials’ responsibilities under it, Councilmember O’Day would so soon afterwards violate the law,” said Mary Marlow, Chair of the Transparency Project.

Ms. Marlow continued, “The rest of us are required to follow the law. Senior government officials and developers can be no exception. They have been given more than ample notice.”

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