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William R.


October 27, 2010

David J. lI'wa, County Administrator COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA

651 Pine street

Martinez, CA 94553

Re: Conflicts of Interest ·in Contra Costa County - PUBLIC


Dear Mr. Twa:

Thank you for your October 13, 2010 letter. In case there is any doubt, I have never received a response from you to my December 11, 2009 letter, not even a copy of any previous response with your October 13 letter.

I must conclude from that that I-will not receive your voluntary assistance regarding conflicts of interest in the County, even while those conflicts continue to blatantly manifest t.hemae Lve s., as with the Union Cemetery Board appointment. Consequently, I must regretfully resort to forwarding this letter under the provisions of the CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT ("ACT" herein).

Section -6253.1 (a) (1) of the ACT requires that you assist me to identify the records that are responsive to my request, or to

the purpose of my request, if stated. I include below the purpose of the request so that you can be more responsive to it, if you choose ·to do so.

While I speak only for myself in my communications, I know that many residents throughout District 3 of the County share my concerns about the conflict of interest that does, in fact, exist between Supervisor Mary Piepho and her husband, Town of Discovery Bay Community Services District Director David piepho. You might take into account the public and media reactions to the nepotism involved with the Union Cemetery Board appointment. I have yet

to hear a cogent argument about why nepotism is .Ln the best " interest of the public and totally without negative aspects of repugnance, favoritism and suspicion.

The usual "officiallt reaction to my queries about the conflict, for example from County Counsel, is that there is no conflict of interest when the CALIFORNIA POLITICAL REFORM ACT (ltREFORM ACTlt herein) is used as the standard. I agree with that very' narrow assessment.

However, when the Institute for Local Government's ETHICS LAW REFERENCE FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS is used as the standard, there can be -absolutely no doubt that an ethical conflict of interest

- on certain matters exists between the Piephos. (My December 11, 2009 lettex: made cleEl;r what the Hcertain matters" are.)

For some reason, that I can only speculate about, but which appear likely, regarding retaliation and employment status, no one in County government positions of authority wants to get involved

1774 Seal Way . Discovery Bay, California 94505 • (925) 516·9500

David J. Twa, County Administrator October 27, 2010 .

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with this obvious corruption. But the ethical lapses are'never discussed as being,.also, a standard of conduct. The REFORM ACT may not cover the Piepho's conduct, but the ETHICS LAWS certainly do. It is difficult to comprehend the disconnect.

During my analysis of this matter, 1 became convinced that one ·logical reason the REFORM ACT does not address the matter of' marital relationships is that it has not occurred SUfficiently often to represent a problem, and when it did occur, the

married persons involved di~ not exploit the vacuum in the REFORM ACT.

On the other hand, Mr. & Mrs. Piepho have exploited, and are exploiting, the vacuum fully to their political advantage. For example, when Mr. Piepho was challenged, in a CSD Meeting, for exploiting the vacuum regarding the vacancy appointments on the CSD Board, he said that he and his wife " ••• did not write the law ••• II

He could as easily have said, 11 ••• 1 know what the law says, but

I will do the ethical thing in order not to undermine the people's trust in their public institutions and officials.1I How simple

that would hav~ been, but he did not do that and the people of Discovery Bay have the least qualified vacancy appointments . possible, and my trust in the CSD and Board of Supervisors sinks to new lows.

Your very brief October 13, 2010 letter raises more questions than it answers. I regret that I must ask for the following records under the ACT to prepare'for asking the Legislature to amend the REFORM ACT to provide the necessary discipline to those government officials who need it.

r fee·l it necessary to inform you why I "regret II that r must ask you for records under the ACT. Typically, and over many years, those in government have said that if r needed any information, all I had to do was ask for it. Response to my accepting that offer have been evasive, incomplete and unsatisfactory. The exceptions have been from a few lower level staff members.

Your October 13 letter is a typical example of a response, although you made no similar offer. You do not appear to want

to be bothered, and r would prefer not to bother you. However,

1 will not go away and I have no other alternative than to use the Law which was expressly put in place to allow me to mon L tor what ~ governing body is doing, and to "forcell you to be responsive. I am not causing you this inconvenience, you are.

1 sincerely regret that. I had greater exp~ctatioris of you.

Therefore, I hereby request, from you, exact copies 0.£ the IIpublic Recordsll and "writings" undex: the CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT as codified in .Government Code Sections 6250- 6270, of the following:

1. Ail records which pertain in any way to elected o£ficials in Contra Costa County and local County government$, past and present, who have been married to each other.

2. All records which pertain in any way to appointed members to the same County advisory boards, past and present, who have been married t~ each other.

3. All records which pertain in any way to appointed members of a County advisory poard, past and present, who has been married to an official ~n Contra Costa County government.

4. All records which pertain in any way to appointed members to a different County advisory board, past and present, who have been married to each other.

5. An October 13, 2010 e-mail from Steve Hoagland to Supervisors ·Gioia and Glover/ regarding the Union Cemetery Board appointment, states~

III know first hand that the service Mrs. Glover provides to the community of Pittsburg is above question so anyone questioning an appointment just because they are related to an office holder is out of Li.rie, II

I request all records regarding Mrs. Glover1s service to the community of Pittsburg, including any payments made for that service •

David J. Twa, County Administrator Ocuober 27, 2010

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. 6. All statutory, ordinance, resolution and other rules, regulations, etc., which relate to the matter of family members serving on County adviso~y boards.

7. Any and all records regarding any contemplated or proposed review, change, etc., to any ordinance, resolution and other rules, regulations, etc., which relate to the matter of family members serving on county advisory boards.

Contrary to the statement in my December II, 2009 letter, I will, of necessity, need to know the name of each person in your responses to the above requests.

David J. Twa·, County Administrator October 2], 2010

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William R. Rich~rdson

enclosure, David J. Twa October 13, 2010 letter cc: The Honorable John Gioia

The Honorable Gail B. Uilkema The Honorable Mary N. Peipho The Honorable Susan Bonilla

The Honorable Federal D. Glover

Julie Enea, Sr. Deputy County Administrator Sh~ron L. Anderson, County Counsel

Robert J. Kochly, District Attorney

Stephen Ybarra/ Auditor-Controller

Warren E. Rupf, Sheriff

Grand ·Jury

Mark White, Manager, Union Cemetery J. Kevin Graves, CSD President

Mark Simon, CSD Vice President

Ray Tetreault, CSD Director

Brian Dawson, CSD Director

David Piepho, CSD Director Institute·for Local Government Hannah Dreier, CC Times

w/enclosure do.


















As you are· aware, the ACT stipulates the time you are a Ld owed to make th~se records available. I look forward to hearing tram you.


County Administrator

Contra Costa County

County Administration Building 651 Pine Street, 11th Floor Martinez, Callfornla 94553·1229 (925) 335·1080

(925) 335·1098 FAX

OavidJ. Twa County Administrator

October 13,2010

Mr. William R. Richardson

1774 Seal Way .

. -- - ".~ ~ -~ --Dls'covetyBay~CA-94-S0-S-- .----- - --- .... - -- ~--

Dear Mr. Richardson:

Board of Supervisors John M. Gioia


Gayle B. Ulikema 2""Dlstrict

Mary N. Piepho 3"'Distrlc!

Susan A. Bonilla 4"'Dlstrict

Federal D. Glover 5"'Distrlct

I believe that I did answer your letter some time ago. However, if you did not receive it, I apologize.

In answer to your question, my comnients to you were that in my experience it is not unusual for partners to work for the same governmental unit 01' for both to serve on different boards or commissions. However, I did not indicate that I could .point to specific examples, nor have I done any research on that issue.

I hope that clarifies our brief conversation back in 2009.

DAVIDJ. TWA County Administrator