Monday, October 22, 2007

Attorney submits bill for $24,500 in case involving city's sealed envelope

Claremont COURIER/April 29, 2000


The city of Claremont was billed $24,500 by the firm of Cihigoyenetche, Grossberg and Clouse for its defense of a lawsuit filed last August. The case in question, McKee v. city of Claremont, was filed in a successful attempt to force the city to publicly release a sealed lawsuit settlement.

In addition to attorney's fees, the city was also forced to pay $10.000 to the plaintiff in the case, Richard McKee, for his own attorney's fees. This brings the total cost to $34,500.

Mr. McKee, a chemistry professor at Pasadena City College and an open government activist, filed the suit in August 1999 after repeated requests under the California Public Records Act failed to reveal the terms of the settlement. The case in question was a Federal civil rights suit filed by Eli Mellor against the city. Mr. Mellor heads an organization called The Time Is Now Institute which used to be housed in Claremont on Harvard Avenue. A series of events in 1995, culminating in Mr. Mellor's arrest by Officer Ralph Dean, led up to his filing the civil rights case.

A settlement was reached in the Mellor case with the city paving Mr. Mellor $48,000. The money was paid from the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (JPIA), a large insurance pool of which the city of Claremont is a member. The city's part in this payment was approximately $7900.

Mr. Mellor claimed he was abused by Officer Dean and that his arrest was the culmination of an organized effort, headed by City Manager Glenn Southard, to get him to move out of town.

It should be noted that Mr. Mellor's organization calls for divorcing oneself from the Federal Social Security and income tax systems. It also claims that the current United States Constitution was made invalid by the adoption of the 14th Amendment.

In 1995, the country was rocked by the bombing of a Federal building in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma. There was some concern by law enforcement officials, both local, state and Federal, that Mr. Mellor's organization represented a militia-type philosophy.

In the end, the city admitted no wrongdoing though the JPIA did add a statement of regret within the final settlement. The COURIER first learned in November 1998 that the case had been settled. Since that time, it has worked to make the terms public as the paper believed was required under the California Public Records Act. The city council refused a COURIER request to ask that the sealed document be opened, offering instead "moral support".

In fact, the city, through the JPIA continued to argue the settlement should be kept secret.

It was a minute order from the Federal judge in the case. Judge Robert Block, that finally swayed a state court to order the city to release the settlement terms. Judge Block refuted the city's argument that he had handed down a Federal court order preventing public release of the information in the face of a legal challenge.

Scott Grossberg, the lead attorney in the Mellor matter, also defended the city in the McKee suit. As stated, Mr. McKee filed his suit in August 1999 and it was not resolved until February 2000. Mr. Grossberg's firm was removed as a legal representative to the city of Claremont in the fallout although City Manager Southard still maintains the city was right in not releasing the settlement terms because a Federal court order was in place.

A breakdown of the costs for defending the city in the Mellor case has yet to be released.

The Florida Presidential Election Controversy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE

December 1, 2000 CONTACT: Eli Mellor PHONE: (909) 920-5195

FAX: (909) 920-5235

E-MAIL: trust@thetimeisnow.org

The Florida Presidential Election Controversy

The fundamental argument before US and Florida Supreme Courts is ignored. Those arguments proliferated thus, are flawed.

There is machine flaw! They did malfunction! There is human negligence among other issues. The machines were not designed to use paper ballots! There should not be any "CHADS." Listen to the testimony of the co-inventor of the election machine. They were originally designed to be used with "plastic", not paper ballots! He stated Wednesday that only 37% of all National Precincts now use plastic ballots. The rest, including Florida use paper or something else!

The machines were designed to be used with plastic ballots not paper. He said they "(the inventors) discovered this when they invented the machine decades ago" and the cameras cut him off!!

This negligence is unforgivable and has generated the necessity of "hand counts" and human determination of "voter intent".

The majority of Americans for years have sadly concluded their votes don't count, and subsequently do not participate in our Republic. We cannot afford to add more citizens to their ranks.

Those that do vote still believe that in spite of all factors they do not know their vote will count in the final analysis.

To argue that "non-votes" exist and all effort should not be taken to determine voter intent is a crime of the highest order! If this false messenger is given any credibility, we will never save this country and it's confused citizens from the evils of totalitarianism. We will never be able to recoup from this mistake.

The solution to this crisis is clear and simple. Count all the votes and correct the flaw and use the correct disposals with the equipment, as recommended by these inventors! In Faith, we shall remain. The Time is Now 1979.

The Time is Still Now 1990.

Why would anyone want to vote in America ever again. ALL those involved must work together and insist on counting every vote. We should take this opportunity to remind every citizen, and demonstrate to the world, that in a Democracy every vote does and will count! We pray in that accepting this newest appeal, The Florida Supreme Court is challenged with, most possibly, the greatest burden eves to be placed before any single State Supreme Court; "--Do we count the votes or do we count the clock?"

Suddenly, we are tempted to abandon the principles in our nation's traditional values that have been long represented as "hinge pins" and the same values, the international community has respected is for ... with simple; arrogant, barbaric, "thuggery."

The time is still now! We do not have to commit this crime upon our citizens especially since we have already poisoned them and manipulated their minds. Let is not walk away from this historic challenge that we are still a nation that will uphold "accountability," "truth" and "forgiving" the clock ... well, "man is usually late, and if not he is either early or seldom on time ... so, "we underestimated the time necessary to accomplish the accountability and truth principles that must be preserved regardless of the cost, and regardless of the amount of time that it will take to accomplish it. These principles, we pray this court will keep paramount.

Why should anyone ever vote again in America? What assurance can his/her government give him that is more assuring then the "bar" now set by Circuit Court Judge Sails, is used elsewhere.

What are we becoming? What have we become? Is 60% of the polled Americans saying they don't case that all votes cast should be counted? Are these same Americans saying they are willing to sole over and trade expediency for a dictatorship or are they the same 60% that were doubters who abstained from participating in the process

It is not a Bush or Gore issue.

Negligence is not an act of God, it is an excise by unaccountable individuals to avoid being held to account. When a voter cast his/her vote in this country they do so in the trust that, bar only an act of God, their vote will be counted Whether CHAD'S from prior elections have been cleaned from the voting machine, whether the stylist is working properly, whether the CHAD adheres to the ballet or are the CHAD'S from the ones punched completely dislodged, whether the machine is destined to read their ballet without error or to spit theirs out into a box that cannot be otherwise counted by machine, must not be a consideration of any voter. Our proclaimed way of selecting our representatives must be protected at all cost.

The majority of Americans for years have sadly concluded their votes do not count and subsequently do not participate in protecting our Republic. We cannot afford to add more citizens to their ranks now.

Those that do vote still believe that, in spite of all factors they do not know about, in the counting of their intentions in the booth their vote will count in future and final analysis.

Will greed do it again? Will it destroy anything in its path to get its way; i.e., principles such as “every vote will count in America." Didn't we think we were different from Czechoslovakia, North Korea, Libya, or China? So why now, do we not care? Do any of us care what consequences evolve from this rush not to count all the votes? The uncounted ballots will be an ulcer upon the spinal cord of our political process -- it will eat us alive for decades to come. The time is still now to prevent this unnecessary assault on our trust as voting citizens.

We, as citizens, have given "others" power to manipulate our minds and manage our memory. Look below, albeit, in a brief "Awe Moment." Here is a “check" on our short term memory skills quoting form U.S. News & World Report, November 6, 2000. Quotations from George Walker Bush, albeit, just 30 days ago. And in reading it, let us be bold enough to compare it with the events of the last 30 days. Let this be an opportunity for those of "conscience" and "humanity" to capture the words and deeds of those who we entrust our nation and souls to and keep watch and measure their integrity by their ability to speak consistently and truthfully. Just because we may have such short memory ... we can still remember just 30 days ago, can't we?

"A leader upholds the dignity and honor of his office. In my administration, we will ask not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves. In my administration, we will make it clear there is the controlling authority of conscience." And, lest anyone miss the point, Bush also points out that the presidency "...requires a leader who loves his country more than he loves himself." U.S. News & World Report, November 6, 2000, page 19.

"This nation," Bush said during a swing through Tennessee, "needs a healer, not a divider, somebody who's gonna stop the bickering and the fighting and the name-calling in Washington, D.C." This riff in his stock campaign speech is mostly directed at conciliation-minded female voters--notably married women--as a positive contrast to Gore's promise to "fight for the people versus the powerful." U.S. News & World Report, November 6, 2000, page 19.

"The idea of investing Social Security funds in stocks is a 'zero game' Alan Greenspan, before Congress, March 5, 1999. Don't do as I do, do as I want you to. GB. (The next 2 years.)

In Faith, we shall remain. The Time is Now 1979

The Time is Still Now 1990

The Time Is Now Institute 2nd Judicial District

Los Angeles county Township IS., Range 8W., Section 3 c/o 112 N. Harvard Claremont, California state Republic Main (909) 920-5195 Fax (909) 920-5235

Web site http//www.thetimeisnow.org -E-Mail trust@thetimeisnow.org Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conducting business or practicing law in any sense whatsoever.

Not within any "State" or "Federal area", see 4 U.S.C.S. §§105-110

The Florida Presidential Election Controversy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE

December 12, 2000 CONTACT: Eli Mellor PHONE: (909) 920-5195

FAX (909) 920-5235 E-MAIL: trust@thetimeisnow.org

The Florida Presidential Election Controversy

Why would anyone want to vote in America ever again. ALL those involved mist work together and insist on counting every vote. We should take this opportunity to remind every citizen, and demonstrate to the world, that in a Democracy every vote does and will count! We pray in that accepting this newest appeal, The Florida Supreme Court is challenged with, most possibly, the greatest burden ever to be placed before any single State Supreme Court; "--Do we count the votes or do we count the clock?"

Suddenly, we are tempted to abandon the principles in our nation's traditional values that have been long represented as "hinge pins" and the same values, the international community has respected is for ... with simple; arrogant, barbaric, "thuggery."

The time is still now! We do not have to commit this crime upon our citizens especially since we have already poisoned them and manipulated their minds. Let is not walk away from this historic challenge that we are still a nation that will uphold "accountability," "truth" and "forgiving" the clock ... well, "man is usually late, and if not he is either early or seldom on time... so, "we underestimated the time necessary to accomplish the accountability and truth principles that must be preserved regardless of the cost, and regardless of the amount of time that it will take to accomplish it. These principles, we pray this court will keep paramount.

Why should anyone ever vote again in America? What assurance can his/her government give him that is more assuring then the "bar" now set by Circuit Court Judge Sails, is used elsewhere.

What are we becoming? What have we become? Is 60% of the polled Americans saying they don't care that all votes cast should be counted? Are these same Americans saying they are willing to role over and trade expediency for a dictatorship or are they the same 60% that were doubters who abstained from participating in the process?

It is not a Bush or Gore issue.

Negligence is not an act of God, it is an excise by unaccountable individuals to avoid being held to account. When a voter cast his/her vote in this country they do so in the trust that, bar only an act of God, their vote will be counted. Whether CHADS from prior elections have been cleaned from the voting, whether the stylist is working properly, whether the CHAD adheres to the ballet or are the CHADS from the ones punched completely dislodged, whether the machine is destined to read their ballet without error or to spit theirs out into a box that cannot be otherwise counted by machine, must not be a consideration of any voter. Our proclaimed way of selecting our representatives must be protected at all cost.

The majority of Americans for years have sadly concluded their votes do not count and subsequently do not participate in protecting our Republic. We cannot afford to add more citizens to their ranks now.

Those that do vote All believe that, in spite of all factors they do not know about, in the counting of their intentions in the booth their vote will count in future and final analysis.

Will greed do it again? Will it destroy anything in its path to get its way; i.e., principles such as "-- every vote will count in America." Didn't we think we were different from Czechoslovakia, North Korea, Libya, or China? So why now, do we not care? Do any of us care what consequences evolve from this rush not to count all the votes? The uncounted ballots will be an ulcer upon the spinal cord of our political process -- it will eat us alive for decades to come. The time is still now to prevent this unnecessary assault on our trust as voting citizens. We, as citizens, have given "others" power to manipulate our minds and manage our memory. Look below, albeit in a brief "Awe Moment." Here is a "check" on our short term memory skills quoting form U. S. News & World Report, November 6, 2000. Quotations from George Walker Bush, albeit, just 30 days ago. And in reading it, let us be bold enough to compare it with the events of the last 30 days. Let this be an opportunity for those of "conscience" and "humanity" to capture the words and deeds of those who we entrust our nation and souls to and keep watch and measure their integrity by their ability to speak consistently and truthfully. Just because we may have such short memory ... we can still remember just 30 days ago, can't we?

"A leader upholds the dignity and honor of his office. In my administration, we will ask not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves. In my administration, we will make it clear there is the controlling authority of conscience." And, lest anyone miss the point, Bush also points out that the presidency "...requires a leader who loves his country more than he loves himself” US. News & World Report, November 6, 2000, page 19.

"This nation," Bush said during a swing through Tennessee "needs a healer, not a divider, somebody who's gonna stop the bickering and the fighting and the name-calling in Washington, D.C." This riff in his Stock campaign speech is mostly directed at conciliation-minded female voters--notably married women--as a positive contrast to Gore's promise to "fight for the people versus the powerful." U. S. News & World Report, November 6, 2000, page 19.

"The idea of investing Social Security funds in stocks is a 'zero game' "Alan Greenspan

before Congress, March 5, 1999. Don't do as I do, do as I want you to. GB. (The next 2 years.)

In Faith, we shall remain. The Time is Now 1979 The Time is Still Now 1990

The Time Is Now Institute

2nd Judicial District

Los Angeles county Township IS., Range 8W., Section 3

c/o 112 N. Harvard Claremont, California state Republic

Main (909) 920-5195 Fax (909) 920-5235

Web site http//www.thetimeisnow.org -E-Mail trust@thetimeisnow.org

Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conducting business or practicing law in any sense whatsoever.

Not within any "State" or "Federal area", see 4 U. S.C.S. §§105-110.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Attorney's letter contradicts city claims concerning document in lawsuit

Claremont COURIER/May 17, 2000.

Gary Scott.


A letter to Mayor Karen Rosenthal, dated March 2, 2000, contradicts what the city has been saying publicly about its role in the settlement with Eli Mellor, and the subsequent efforts by this paper and others to have the settlement revealed publicly. Indeed, the letter critiques the city for making misleading, ill-informed and untrue statements about the Mellor settlement.

The letter written by William Holt, executive director of the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, affirms that city staff was made aware of the settlement terms from the start, that city staff was involved in drafting certain provisions of the settlement, and that the city was opposed all along to petitioning the Federal court to unseal the settlement-all matters denied by city councilmembers and by the city manager's office in previous interviews with this and other area newspapers.

The city has maintained that it never received the settlement terms (up through April 1999; City Manager Glenn Southard said in a March 2000 statement that he still had not seen the settlement terms), that the JPIA was solely responsible for coming to a settlement with Mr. Mellor and that it was only the JPIA that was responsible for deciding to petition the Federal court.

Mr. Holt wrote the letter in response to statements made by city officials to the newspaper media. Specific reference was trade to stories in the Los Angeles Times and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

"I'm writing in regard to the Mellor and McKee cases and comments attributed to city officials that have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Daily Bulletin this past week," writes Mr. Holt. "The press does misquote and that may have occurred here but the statements taken together indicate a mistaken tone of perception by the city… The city staff has been involved in the Mellor case from the outset, though settlement, and then through the efforts of the press and Mr. McKee to release the settlement agreement. We told at the beginning of the case about the views of Mr. Mellor and his anti-city stance.

''City staff's involvement in tile settlement included a request from the chief of police that we include section 12 of the release agreement. That is a provision that is of no consequence to the CJPIA, but we included it as an accommodation to the city. It requires Mr. Mellor to 'get out of town'. Additionally, the CJPIA issued a statement of regret to Mr. Mellor, with the approval of the chief of police, because the chief did net want to issue ore err order to settle tine case."

Not only does Mr. Holt’s statement confirm that it was Chief Robert Moody who delivered the proposal to add the settlement provision That Mr. Mellor move his organization out of the city of Claremont, but the statement calls into question an unwavering string of denials front councilmembers and` city administrators That anyone front within the cite staff was involved in the settlement proceedings.

The two lawsuits referred to in Mr. Holt's letter are Mellor v. the city of Claremont, et al (settled in June 1998) and McKee v. the city of Claremont (settled in March 2000). The first was a civil rights case, settled for $48,000 but kept confidential per an agreement between the parties. The second was a lawsuit by La Verne resident Richard McKee to get the first settlement unsealed for public review. Mr. McKee was successful as well.

"It was clear front the start that the city had no input in the decision making process," said Councilman Paul Held back in May 1999; the quote came shortly after the city council, on April 27, 1999, voted 4 to 1 not to petition the Federal court to unseal the Mellor settlement-the vote cast only after the COURIER asked the council for the indulgence. The council promised the newspaper its "moral support". Councilman Held was also quoted at the time slating he was annoyed that the CJPIA had not conferred with the city before entering into the settlement.

"It was out of our jurisdiction," Said Councilman Algird Leiga, also interviewed in May 1999 after closed session vote. "We are the third [or] fourth party in this matter."

Then there were the comments from Mr. Southard's office that the city was never told the terms of the June 1998 settlement between Mr. Mellor and the city. This, too, is contradicted by Mr. Holt’s letter.

'The city received a copy of a letter front Mr. Grossberg dated June 10, 1998, outlining all the relevant terms of the settlement agreement," writes Mr. Holt. ""The letter was sent to the city clerk.

"The city received a copy of a letter front Mr. Grossberg dated June 15, 1998, stating all the relevant terms of the settlement agreement. The letter was sent to the city clerk and the chief of police.

"Approximately 6 months ago (sometime in November 1999) the terms of the agreement were again provided to the city via an e-mail Mr. Grossberg sent to [Assistant City Managerl Bridget Healy and me. In fact, at that time, it was repeated in an e-mail response that the city did not want to release the agreement."

"The city, both council and administration, had always maintained it wanted the settlement unsealed bill was up against a resistant CJPIA.

City Attorney Sonia Carvalho writes in June 1999 in response to a public records request, "In response to your request to the city council, et al, the city does not have any reports, agendas or minutes from the [CJPIA] containing the terms of the settlement".

The city repeatedly stated, beginning with the Claremont COURIER's first request

for the settlement terms back in November 1998, that the city of Claremont was not privy to the terms, despite being the defendant in the case. It was said, both by Mr. Southard and by the city council, that the JPIA had ultimate authority over the matter and that the city of Claremont was not involved in any way with the settlement.

"The proposed settlement was discussed with the chief of police before it was entered into," writes Mr. Holt. "We then immediately provided the terms of the settlement agreement to the city. We have no reason to, nor interest in, keeping the terms of a settlement front one of our members.

"Early on, the Claremont Courier attempted to obtain a copy of the Mellor settlement agreement, "The agreement had been sealed by the magistrate, so it could not be released without his approval. On numerous occasions, in writing to the city, Mr. Grossberg, counsel for the city, suggested going back into court to request that the agreement be unsealed. The city staff did not want to do that."

Mr. Holt's letter also reveals, for the first time, why the city's legal representatives chose to settle the case with Mr. Mellor.

“The case was settled because the federal magistrate informed the parties of his perception that a jury might look unfavorably upon some of the action of the police officers involved with Mr. Mellor. That is not proof that the officers acted irresponsibly, but it added risk to a trial, indicated what the magistrate's view might be, and led to an economic decision to settle. In fact, the magistrate said he would order the CJPIA to pay all of Mr. Mellor's attorney's fees if Mr. Mellor were to be awarded even $1 in damages in this civil rights case."

Mr. Holt further writes, "For nearly two years now, the CJPIA has been trying to accommodate what we thought were the city's wishes with regard to unsealing the settlement. We have spent CJPIA funds to accommodate the city when we had nothing to gain from a sealed settlement. To any knowledge, we have never requested any settlement to he sealed. We don't think sealing records in California municipal tort cases complies with the Brown Act, even though the federal court did so in the Mellor case."

While the Mellor suit was heard in Federal court, it does quality as a California municipal tort case, Therefore, statements from the city that the Mellor case was not covered by the California Public Records Act was without support by the CJPIA.

A statement from Councilwoman Suzan Smith, who was mayor at the time the 1998 settlement was entered into, confirms the city was not taking the above legal advice.

"What we did learn, which I didn't realize before, is that since it was a federal judge rather than a state judge, it makes it harder because it doesn't fall under the public document disclosure law." Councilwoman Smith made this statement in May 1999.

Although Mr. Holt makes repeated claims that the Federal Magistrate Judge ordered the settlement sealed, a contention held to this day by the city of Claremont, it was decided by a state superior court judge that there was no order. And when the Federal Magistrate finally did comment on the matter, in a minute order to the city, he too said there was no such order. Instead, the magistrate orders the court's records in the settlement sealed but acknowledges that the plaintiff and defendant have entered into a confidentiality agreement which will be upheld. All of this was confirmed by a taped transcript of the settlement hearing back in June 1998.

Unless a Federal court takes an action that overrides a state law (in this case the California Public Records Act) state law does apply. This was the basis for the state superior court's decision to order the city to release the settlement terms earlier this year.

"I think too much time has been spent on it already," said Mayor Rosenthal back in May 1999. Mayor Rosenthal, who declared she supported opening the Mellor settlement when running for city council, changed her opinion and voted against the tactic in the April 27 closed session. In fact, she said she was not even interested in the amount of money paid to Mr. Mellor.

It was later learned that the terms of the settlement were generally discussed in that closed session, and Mr. Holt's letter suggests that city staff was well aware of the terms from the outset. Therefore, Mayor Rosenthal's statement may be disingenuous, for if she did not know how much money had been paid to Mr. Mellor before the closed session, the amount of the settlement was discussed during the closed session.

Mr. Southard has maintained from the start that his office never knew the settlement terms, that he had not seen the settlement and that legal matters were controlled by the CJPIA and attorney Grossberg. If any of his staff members were made aware of the settlement, he said, the information was not forwarded to his office.

If this is true, normal city procedures do not seem to have been followed.

In a billing statement obtained by Mr. McKee, Mr. Grossberg writes that he spent 20 minutes to "prepare a correspondence to Bill Holt regarding transmittal of additional correspondence confirming that the city clerk, city manager and police chief were given the terms of the settlement".

Mr. Grossberg, after the success of Mr. McKee's lawsuit, was released as an attorney who, through the CJPIA, represents the city of Claremont.

Neither Mayor Rosenthal nor anyone from the city, released the letter from Mr. Holt until the COURIER made a request under the California Public Records Act. The paper took possession of the letter on Monday, May 15.

Mr. Holt sent copies of his letter to Vice-Mayor Held and City Manager Southard as well.

All 5 city councilmembers were asked to comment on the contents letter. None had responded prior to the COURIER's press deadline.

Claremont says tape proves pact of secrecy

Inland Valley/Los Angeles Times.

Selicia Kennedy-Ross. May 6-7th 2000

  • City releases transcript in which judge orders part of record sealed in settlement with activist who alleged harassment by police.

CLAREMONT - City officials released a statement and partial transcript Friday of the court audiotape in which they contend that U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert N. Block, who presided over a settlement hearing between the city and activist Eli Mellor, ordered the terms of the settlement sealed and the parties involved not to discuss them.

The tape vindicates the city's version of events, said city officials, who came under criticism for allegedly keeping the information from the public even after they were ordered to release it by a Superior Court judge.

Last year, open government advocate Richard McKee sued the city, represented by the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, a self-insurance pool of 80 cities and agencies. McKee sought the release of terms of the city's 1998 settlement with Mellor, a local Libertarian activist who alleged harassment by police and filed a civil suit in federal court.

McKee said he disagrees with the city's interpretation of the tape.

City officials and the insurance authority's attorney, Scott Grossberg, maintained they were under a federal court order not to release the settlement terms, even after local newspapers pressed for the release of the information under the California Public Records Act.

Grossberg did not return calls for comment,

"Upon listening to the tape, I think it's understandable why Grossberg and the (authority) took the actions they did," city spokesman Mike Maxfield said. "We released the tape to set the record straight."

Maxfield called the settlement "a dead issue" and said the city was not contemplating any action as a result of the tape.

The insurance authority settled with Mellor for $48,000 and he agreed not to reestablish his offices in Claremont, Both parties agreed to keep the terms of the settlement secret and the court records were sealed.

Because the insurance pool entered into a secret agreement with Mellor, McKee based his suit on the state's open records laws, which require public agencies to disclose the use of public funds.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Yaffe ordered the insurance authority to release the terms Feb. 16, but held the judgment for 20 days to give the city's attorneys time to respond.

On Feb. 18, Block responded to attorneys on both sides and to Yaffe, saying there never was a court order requiring the parties to keep the settlement secret.

"The parties' agreement regarding confidentiality was an agreement between them and not the subject of any court order," Block wrote. "Thus, the court merely was respecting the parties' agreement regarding confidentiality when it ordered that part of the record sealed. The court never ordered the parties not to discuss the terms of the settlement (publicly or otherwise), and never ordered the parties not to disclose the terms of the settlement in response to a duly served subpoena or court order."

The insurance authority's attorney, Grossberg, then petitioned the court for more time to obtain the court audiotapes to prove that a verbal confidentiality order was issued, However, he withdrew the request after the insurance authority directed him to do so and asked the court to order the release of the settlement terms immediately.

Block could not be reached for comment.

On the tape, Block is heard saying, "As part of this settlement agreement, there is an agreement regarding confidentiality that applies to the terms of the settlement and toward that end I'm ordering this part of the record, on which we are reciting the terms of the settlement, sealed."

McKee, however, maintains the tape is open to interpretation, saying the tape demonstrates only that the court records were sealed and gives no indication of issuing a verbal order not to discuss the settlement terms.

"The judge simply ordered the court records sealed because of the parties' own agreement," McKee said. "If there was such a clear order, then why didn't they appeal? Because a public entity cannot enter into a confidentiality agreement and Grossberg drafted the settlement agreement and included that agreement."

The release of the tape demonstrated that the city and the insurance authority had a basis for concern about releasing the settlement terms, said Councilman Paul Held.

"As the matter evolved, it was no longer an issue of a court order of confidentiality; it became a matter of the public not having trust in city government," Held said. "For that reason, it became important that the information be made public."

Robert Bastian, Mellor's attorney, had previously defended Grossberg's position regarding the confidentiality order.

"In the past I've said that Mr. Grossberg may have been right about the confidentiality order," Bastian said, "And it turns out he was right. It was always our understanding that we were all bound by the order but the court incorporated into that order the terms the city had negotiated."

City of Claremont Settles Civil Rights Violation Case

America's Bulletin. David Rosario, December 1998.

The City of Claremont, California, has reached an undisclosed settlement out of court with an Upland man in a two-year-old federal lawsuit alleging violations of his Civil Rights. The office of Los Angeles U.S. District Judge Robert N. Block announced the settlement between the City of Claremont and Eli Mellor, founder and trustee of The Time Is Now Group, an educational institute previously based in Claremont, California. The Institute, a joint plaintiff in the action, educates people throughout the United States about their constitutional rights.

Mellor's suit charged Police Chief Robert E. Moody and, Sgt. Ralph Dean with false arrest, false imprisonment, perjury, excessive force, malicious prosecution, and conspiracy stemming from four separate events including Mellor's arrest in the City of Claremont for alleged assault upon Sgt. Dean and possession of a deadly weapon. Pomona Municipal Court Judge Thomas A. Peterson and Superior Court.

Judge Teri Swartz subsequently dismissed the assault and possession charges against Mellor, at which time Mellor filed his suit.

The settlement agreement announced by Judge Block stipulated that neither party discloses -

Community Police Departments should create and utilize "early warning" or "at risk" systems to identify officers who arc subject of repeated complaints or civil lawsuits alleging misconduct.

- the amount of the settlement to Mellor and his Institute.

On receiving word of tile settlement, Mellor said, "I agree with judge Block that it is outrageous to see a city spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money defending officer misconduct. That they freely spent public money to preserve their police department morale -knowing their officers were guilty of misconduct -- is outrageous!"

Similar cases have resulted in settlements or judgements against the cities in Montclair and Ontario. In 1994, the Justice Department was instructed by Congress reproduce an annual report on excessive force used by police, yet four years later no such report exists.

Community Police Depart merits should create and utilize "early warning" or "at risk" systems to identify officers who are subject of repeated complaints or civil lawsuits alleging misconduct. A small percentage of officers often taint an entire police force because police and city officials do trot act to hold them accountable by supervising, disciplining, or dismissing them when appropriate. An early warning system, comprising in part of citizens, could make a difference.

"Many of these cases could be resolved for a fraction of the cost if followingg discovery of the misconduct, city officials would face up to their responsibilities rather than stonewalling." Mellor points out.

Mellor was represented by the law firm of Bastian and Dini at 1999 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, California. Their phone number is 310-789-1955. The Time Is Now Group - Institute can be reached at 909-920-5195.

Eli Mellor's Group Tells History of Sovereignty Movement

Antelope Valley Press. Bob Wilson, Staff Writer. December 8th 1994.

Every man and woman is born sovereign, an autonomous person with basic rights ranted by the Creator and irrevocable by others, said Ed Ober; a [co-]trustee [with Eli Mellor] in the Claremont-based The Time Is Now Group.

But that sovereignty is soon circumvented by the United States government, said Ober, whose group was formed to help people reclaim their autonomy.

"To do that, we use the vehicle of state citizenship to move them into the mind-set of living out side the (federal) system,” he said.

Induction into that system begins when an adult registers a child through a birth certificate, Ober said.

That certificate is recorded either with the Department or Commerce "because the mother may be engaged in interstate trade" or with the Department of Health and Human Services "for their records as a potential disease problem," he said.

The process is completed when you apply for a Social Security number, swearing on the application that you are U. S. citizen, Ober said.

By claiming yourself a U.S. citizen, you are agreeing to submit to the federal government's laws and codes, taxes and fees, he said.

In return, the federal government grants the privilege of residency, mandatory retirement, and income and health care during old age, among other things, he said.

"We are living in a society that believes freedom is something to be bought for a price and where without permission from the government to do something, it is illegal," Ober said. "This is what we oppose.”

Personal freedom

"As a sovereign, I can do anything I want, with the limitation that I cannot infringe on someone else’s rights," he said. "To many, that philosophy is fundamental, and they want to live that way. The federal government does not proffer that philosophy."

To throw off the federal yoke, Ober's group informs people of their option to swear allegiance to the Republic of California, revoke their Social Security number and renounce their citizenship under the 14th Amendment.

"The so-called 14th Amendment was not ratified properly," Ober said. "It failed (ratification) because it was rejected by 15 of the states."

When that happened, the federal government passed the Military Reconstruction Acts of 1867 and 1868, he said.

Those acts - empowered by martial law that Ober said began in 1862 and remains in effect today - divided the 10 Confederate states into five military districts.

New government

In the new districts, federal troops arranged for elections to hold new constitutional conventions, which led to the establishment of new state constitutions and the election of new state legislatures, according to Collier's Encyclopedia.

These bodies were filled by design with those willing to ratify the 14th Amendment, the encyclopedia said.

Once ratified, the amendment made everyone "citizens of the United States," comparable to being subjects of the King of England, Ober said.

It is this status - and the rules and taxes accompanying it - to which he and others object.
"You cannot classify this as a 'movement,' as if everybody is unified in approach and motivation," Ober said of sovereignty. "Some, like ourselves, have the approach that sovereignty is an honorable, accountable lifestyle, while others profess the advantage of tax evasion. We do not look at it that way.

Restoration of rights

But "we are very much in support of the efforts to restore sovereignty to the people and to the states, in that order," Ober said.

At present, the Constitutional flow of power is reversed, starting with the federal government and flowing to the states and then to the people, he said.

"The efforts of what we're doing is to correct that and put it back into the proper order. If we do nothing else and only that, we will have accomplished a lot," he said.

But the possibility of such change "rests in the minds of the people," Ober said. "You cannot have a state without people, and the first task is to educate them to a level of competence where they can exercise self-government.

"As it is today, most people are not competent," he said. "That is why the federal and state governments have exploded into every crack and crevice of people's lives; the people have defaulted."

People interested in contacting Ober [or Mellor] at The Time Is Now Group may call (909) 399-3575 or write to:

T.1S. R.8W. S.3 - 2nd Judicial District,

C/O 112 N. Harvard,

Claremont, California Republic,

Non-domestic, Non-resident.

Those interested in reaching sovereignty advocate Richard J. McDonald may call (818) 703-5037.