|Measure "B" in the Hermosa Beach Municipal Election November 5, 2013|
FAQ # 14 DETAIL - THE "IMPARTIAL STUDY"
Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Mark Twain
Q: Part of FAQ # 14 was: What about the "impartial study" cited in the recent "Pants on Fire" ads by Hermosa's bar Industry.
A: The study is not impartial. It looks like a normal staff report that's been presented at a public council meeting, but it isn't, and wasn't. Here's the details.
At their June 25 meeting, the council ordered staff to do a study of the effects of Measure B. That study was prepared and was put on the agenda of the Sept. 10 council meeting. The staff recommendation was that it be received and filed. The heading at the top of the study looked like this:
At the Sept. 10 meeting the council read the study, took comments from the public, and then (beginning at 2:33:20 in the Granicus video) Councilmember DiVirgilio made a motion to have staff revise the study to double the estimated effects from 15% to 30% (even though he is an engineer and could easily have done the math in his head) and Councilmember Duclos expanded the motion "to make that [revised] document available on our Election page."
On Oct. 3 the revised study (with estimates at 30%) was seen posted on the City Clerk's Election page, just below links to the ballot arguments for and against the Measure. At that time the heading at the top of the revised study said "City Council Meeting of September 24, 2013" (see image below) ...
... even though it had not been agendized or presented at the Sept. 24 council meeting, and was unsigned.
On Oct. 4 we complained to the city attorney about the placement of the study adjacent to the ballot arguments on the city clerk's Election page. He responded that case law permits such placement of City materials so long as those materials do not actually advocate a vote for or against a matter. (He cited Miller (1984)151 Cal.App.3d 693 and Vargas v. Salinas (2009) 46 Cal.4th 1.)
We also complained about the false date.
By Oct. 9 the revised (30%) study still was posted on the Election page, but the date had been changed. The heading at the top of the re-dated document looked like this:
This unsigned document, with a heading that makes it look like it was the one presented at the Sept. 10 council meeting when in fact it was prepared at a later date and was not presented at any council meeting, is the document upon which No on B based its ads, and which it cited in two of the footnotes to those ads.
As of Oct. 29, both versions of the study still were posted on the City's website.
The original (15%) study presented at the Sept. 10 council meeting was at a clickable link in the Sept. 10 agenda available in the City's Granicus system. The direct link to the 15% study is http://hermosabeach.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=2621&meta_id=133023
The 30% version of the study was on the city clerk's Election page. The direct link to the 30% study is http://www.hermosabch.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentID=3358
Both versions still bore a date of Sept. 10.
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