Lawyer ties bid to oust Glendale councilman to gun-show vote

Two Glendale residents say council violated policy by naming outgoing councilman Frank Quintero to a vacant council seat. Quintero had voted to ban gun shows on city property.

June 16, 2013|By Brittany Levine, Los Angeles Times
  • Frank Quintero was appointed to a vacant a seat on the Glendale City Council after he had retired from the council.
Frank Quintero was appointed to a vacant a seat on the Glendale City Council… (Tammy Abbott, Glendale…)

An attempt to remove Glendale Councilman Frank Quintero from office has more to do with his support of a recent ban on gun shows on city-owned property than allegations he violated an employment policy, attorneys for the city contend in court documents.

Quintero retired when his term ended in April, but he was appointed a short time later to fill the seat left by colleague Rafi Manoukian, who was elected city treasurer.

In May, two Glendale residents, John Rando and Mariano Rodas, filed a request with the state's attorney general for permission to file a lawsuit that would seek to remove Quintero from his appointed seat. They contend the city is violating a 1982 provision that prevents council members from being employed by the city until two years after they leave the dais.

In the city's response filed last week with the attorney general, an attorney for Glendale contends that Rando and Rodas are misconstruing the provision and calls their complaint "misguided, unconstitutional and contrary to both the voters' intent and the city's longstanding, well-established interpretation."

Andrew Rawcliffe, an attorney hired by the city, contends in the filing that Rando and Rodas are targeting Quintero because he voted to ban gun shows from city property earlier this year, a prohibition they fought against.

Their attorney, Sean Brady, also represented the Glendale Gun Show's operator during the proceedings. But Brady has said the filing is not connected to the gun-show ban but rather is intended to make sure the city follows its own rules.

He said he plans to respond to the city's filing Monday.

"That is what this action is about — keeping the government honest — not the gun show," Brady said. "Their response shows the city thinks some people's voices that don't agree with the city should be disregarded or discounted."

Rando and Rodas must get the attorney general's permission before filing a lawsuit against Quintero — a protection against frivolous lawsuits filed against elected officials.

According to court documents, Rawcliffe said that when voters approved the revolving-door policy, it was never meant to prevent people from holding elected office. Rather, it was meant to clarify a former policy that seemingly prevented council members from holding outside employment, he said.

In his filing, he cites the 1982 ballot pamphlet in which elected offices are not mentioned in a description of the provision. Council members work part-time and many have other jobs outside of City Hall.

Quintero announced he was retiring after 12 years in office before the April municipal election. When Manoukian won the city treasurer's seat, his two-year term was left open.

The City Council chose to appoint Quintero to a 14-month term rather than hold a special election.

At the time, City Atty. Mike Garcia said the revolving-door policy exempted elected positions. Although the policy language doesn't specifically say that, Garcia said the voters intended to prevent council members from taking cushy positions with the city after their terms, not to create a term limit.

"It is clear that this … action would discourage citizens from holding elected office, and/or at the very least, discourage elected officials from taking positions unpopular with the National Rifle Assn.," Rawcliffe wrote in the filing about the request.

It could be months before the attorney general's office makes a decision.

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