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This Week in City Hall, January 31

An ethics complaint against Councilmember Chuck Conder is back for a pre-hearing with the Board of Ethics.

With no City Council meeting this fifth Tuesday of the month, a Board of Ethics Hearing Panel immediately following Thursday evening’s regular Board of Ethics meeting is the place to pay attention. Residents of Orangecrest and Mission Grove will be following closely as this hearing is connected to the proposed, and hotly contested, project proposal dubbed the West Campus Upper Plateau.

The Board will have a pre-hearing of the Code of Ethics complaint filed by Jennifer Larratt-Smith on September 12, 2022 against Councilmember Conder whom she asserts is ethically compromised around his relationship to the Lewis Group’s proposal to the March Joint Powers Authority.


If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because this same pre-hearing was scheduled for October 6, 2022 where Larrett-Smith attempted to make her case that Conder made some explicitly biased claims in support of plans in favor of March JPA and Lewis Group of Companies. The Board of Ethics ultimately voted 3-2 to not pursue an official hearing to further investigate Condor’s behavior due to insufficient evidence though Larrett-Smith was actually unable to present the evidence she had compiled.

On December 13, 2022, the City Council determined that the Board of Ethics Hearing Panel “committed a clear error in the dismissal of the complaint” which brings us back to today.

What’s next?

On the agenda for the Board of Ethics meeting Thursday at 5:00 p.m. is a review of the “pre-hearing conference panel script” for the 6:00 p.m. Hearing Panel. If this time the panel votes to move forward with the complaint they will also decide on which of the evidence will be admissible at an official hearing.

“It’s hard to know what to expect this time around. My best hope is that they would fully review and consider the evidence for my complaint and move it to an official hearing.” said Larrett-Smith, in anticipation of Thursday’s pre-hearing.