Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Santa Monica Real Estate Company ROQUE & MARK Co.

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

Council to Consider Investigating Leaks


Bob Kronovetrealty
We Love Property Management Headaches!

Welcome to Santa Monica.  Good Vibes Start Here.

Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 434-4000



By Jorge Casuso

June 7, 2024 -- For the second time in two years, the Santa Monica City Council will consider launching an investigation into leaks from closed session, which typically involve legal, real estate and personnel issues.

The item on Tuesday's agenda directs staff to return with proposals to investigate "recent leaks of confidential information" from closed door discussions between Councilmembers and top City officials.

The discussion item -- placed on the agenda Friday by the city's political establishment minority on the Council -- also seeks proposals "to impose penalties" on those who leak the information.

Councilmembers Gleam Davis, Caroline Torosis and Jesse Zwick did not immediately respond to requests for comment on their agenda item by deadline.

A source familiar with the issue said the item centers on pending litigation after the City failed to accept signatures gathered for a ballot initiative to amend Measure GS ("Proponents of Ballot Measure to Amend GS Threaten to Sue City," May 10, 2024).

It is not the first time the Council -- which is divided between the Change and establishment factions -- considers investigating leaks from its own members or staff.

In February 2022, Davis placed a similar item on the agenda, saying that ongoing leaks were jeopardizing key hires.

Davis worried the leaks -- which led prospective City Manager Rene Bobadilla to turn down the job eight months earlier -- could also jeopardize the search for a City Attorney.

On February 9, after a fiery hour-long debate, the City Council voted 4 to 3 to investigate who had been leaking the confidential information ("Council Votes to Investigate Closed Session Leaks," February 10, 2022).

Shortly before the 3 a.m. vote, Councilmember Lana Negrete, signaled she would support an investigation.

"I genuinely feel like, 'go ahead.'" said Negrete, who was appointed to the Council in June with the support of the Change slate.

But two weeks later, the Council reversed course after Negrete voted not to hire the firm chosen by staff to conduct the three-month probe ("Council Nixes Probe into Closed Session Leaks," February 23, 2022).

Negrete shared the same concerns as the three Change Councilmembers, who worried about the $100,000 to $150,000 legal bill and the probe's potential to further split an already divided Council.

"I'm all for transparency," Negrete said. "But there are things you can do that don't cost this money.

"I don't know that this is going to bring us together," she added. "I don't think that this is helpful."

In addition to investigating the source of the recent alleged leaks and considering penalties, the item on Tuesday's agenda would direct the City Attorney to return with a proposal "to ensure the City’s ethics rules apply to Councilmembers."

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that Councilmembers Caroline Torosis and Jesse Zwick voted in 2022 to investigate Council leaks. They were not on the Council at the time. The votes to investigate were cast by Mayor Sue Himmelrich and Councilmember Kristin McCowan.

Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2024 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures