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    Port Hueneme city council called out for lack of transparency

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    By Tom Dunn
    .
    At the July 20th Port Hueneme city council meeting council member Will Berg presented the decision the Fair Political Practices
    .
    Commission sent to council member Steven Gama regarding his sworn complaint that Will Berg falsely claimed expense reimbursement from the Port of Hueneme while working at the Port and being on the city council at the same time.
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    The FPPC replies that they will not pursue an enforcement action on this matter.  Following are the official documents of the Mr.  Gama’s sworn complaint and the FPPC decision not to purse enforcement action.
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    The purpose of this article is for transparency in Port Hueneme city council actions that was a major problem 3-4 years ago especially during the November 2016 election.  Two city council members claimed that Will Berg and Steven Gama had falsely stated their qualifications as city council candidates.  The Ventura County Star reported they had verified that the claims by the two city council members were false. One accused Will Berg of filing bankruptcy and the other that Steven Gama did not graduate from California Lutheran University. Will Berg won his seat and Steven Gama lost.
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    It is disturbing that this similar situation has reoccurred.  Will Berg is presenting all of the information regarding this current false accusation so that residents and voters in Port Hueneme will have the evidence to see that no illegal actions were taken on his part and voters can know the truth not false claims.  Will has served for almost four years and looks forward to serving on the city council for another term after the November election.
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    Since starting Hueneme Voice I have worked on doing the one thing I heard from Port Hueneme residents which is there was no communication and transparency from the city staff and council.  Hopefully, those times are behind us and that is why I bring the current situation to your attention.  I will keep doing oversight of the city council transactions that can involve false accusations, waste of time for city staff involvement and a waste of tax payer money. 
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    Below are the copies of Steven Gama’s sworn complaint to the State FPPC and the State’s decision not to pursue an enforcement action on the matter. 
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    Also below is the video link to the PH city council meeting of July 20,2020 in which you can view Will Berg’s statement to the city council.
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    STEVEN GAMA’S SWORN COMPLAINT
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    STATE OF CALIFORNIA
    FAIR POLITICAL PRACTICES COMMISSION 1102 Q Street • Suite 3000 • Sacramento, CA 95811
    June 26, 2020
    Will Berg
    Re: Complaint No. COM-06252020-01106; Will Berg
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    Dear Mr. Berg,
    The Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission has received a sworn complaint against you. It appears the complainant is alleging you have violated the Political Reform Act’s1 conflict of interest and economic disclosure provisions. The information filed in the complaint is below and any attachments filed are enclosed. The complaint was filed against all those listed above.
    The person filing the Complaint is:
    Steven Gama
    Port Hueneme, CA 93041
    The following individuals are listed as Witnesses:
    Kristin Decas
    Port Hueneme, CA 93041
    The violations alleged are:
    Unlawful Travel Payments, Advances, Reimbursements or Other Expenditure (89506/89521)
    In or about April of 2016, then Marketing Director Willard Berg officially retired from the Port of Hueneme after 17 years of service. The Port of Hueneme is a Special District in the City of Port Hueneme and is governed by the Oxnard Harbor Commission. Willard Berg ran for City Council for the City of Port Hueneme (Not to be Confused with the Port of Hueneme) and won. He was sworn in or about mid-December of 2016.
    1 The Political Reform Act is contained in Government Code sections 81000 through 91014, and all statutory references are to this code. The regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission are contained in Sections 18110 through 18997 of Title 2
    .
    A group of concerned citizens investigated the Disbursement Records of the Port of Hueneme and found five payments which appear to be reimbursements totaling $3900.11. These are in a section where employee and commissioner reimbursements are made public. Four of these disbursements appear to be direct payments for differing amounts made to Willard Berg while he was a seated City Council person with the City of Port Hueneme. One payment, dated July 25, 2016, would have been after his retirement and before his election. The group has obtained Mr. Berg’s Form 700 for the period January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017. It states there are “no reportable interests on any schedule.” In addition to these concerns, he is provided monthly paid medical insurance premiums by the Port of Hueneme (Not to be Confused with the City of Port of Hueneme); however, no records exists for those monthly payments.
    July 25, 2016 March 13, 2017 March 27, 2020 June 12, 2017 July 10, 2017
    Total
    $1352.52 $1936.79
    $35.15 $526.12 $49.53
    $3900.11
    It is believed he is provided Lifetime Medical Insurance for himself and his wife paid for by the Port of Hueneme. It has been a point of interest as it has the appearance of a financial conflict to some. However, Mr. Berg has denied that any such appearance exists. Mr. Berg participates in Port of Hueneme negotiations with the City of Port Hueneme and is a strong advocate for the Port of Hueneme.
    At this time, we have not made any determination about the allegation(s) made in the complaint. Within 14 days, the complainant will be notified of our intent to:
    • investigate the allegations of the complaint;
    • refer the complaint to another governmental agency;
    • take no action on the complaint because, on the basis of the information provided,
    the Commission does not appear to have jurisdiction to investigate; or
    • take no action on the complaint because the allegations of the complaint do not
    warrant the Commission’s further action.
    .
    A copy of that letter will be forwarded to you. If you have any comments on the allegation(s), your comments must be submitted in writing directed to Ginny Lambing at the address shown above or by email to [email protected] Please include the complaint number referenced above in your response.
    Sincerely,
    GWest
    Galena West
    Chief, Enforcement Division
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    STATE OF CALIFORNIA REPLY  FAIR POLITICAL PRACTICES COMMISSION 1102 Q Street • Suite 3000 • Sacramento, CA 95811
    July 7, 2020
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    Steven Gama Via email at:
    Re: Complaint No. COM-06252020-01106; Will Berg
    Dear Mr. Gama:
    This letter is in response to the sworn complaint you submitted to the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission regarding the above-named individual. After review of the complaint and evidence provided, the Enforcement Division will not pursue an enforcement action in this matter.
    If you have any questions, please contact Chloe Hackert at [email protected] 
    Sincerely,
    GWest
    Galena West, Chief Enforcement Division  
    .
    Click on the link below to view city council video.  Will Berg’s statement start at around 7:30 minute mark : 
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    .

    Tom Dunn is the publisher of  Hueneme Voice


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    1 COMMENT

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    Bruce Boyer candidate for Ventura County Sheriff
    Bruce Boyer candidate for Ventura County Sheriff
    2 years ago

    BS ‘conflict” The question should be was he legally entitled to the money or did he steal it from the Port Authority? Dont see an allegation that he ‘stole ‘anything.

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