Monday, April 16, 2007

Letter to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen Re:Michael Vu's Appointment to San Diego's Assistant Registrar of Voters Position

Here is my letter to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, expressing grave concern about Michael Vu's Appointment to San Diego's Assistant Registrar of Voters post.

The letter highlights just some of the many issues demonstrating Vu's lack of competence and integrity which he displayed consistently throughout his 3+ years as Director of Cuyahoga's elections,
  • allowing laws to be broken with his knowledge, and/or lack of knowledge or care about his given tax-paid mission of fair, accurate, verifiable elections for the voters of Cuyahoga and Ohio (as statewide and federal election results are an accumulation of results of all 88 counties;)
  • creating massive budget overruns paid for by the citizens of the county, not only in attempts to cover his own failures, often bungled and also attempted to be covered up,
  • but also in permitting and attempting to cover up the letting of questionable, high-cost contracts,
  • and even the absolutely necessary high cost in August '06 of the additional hiring of a former CCBOE director, who DID know what he was doing, to allow the November '06 election to actually proceed for Cuyahoga - but in a way that now also ousted, CCBOE chair, Bob Bennett could prevail over widespread, demands for the Vu's firing, keep himself covered, and thus let $120,000/year Vu stay, and walk out saying that HE improved.
  • creating a pall of fear and retribution, and uninformed and unrealistic expectations of others over the agency, which eventually prevented even the most talented workers from risking thinking about what they were doing or offering suggestions, but instead, just trying wade their ways out of ridiculous tasks unscathed, (and even at times to not to be "set up" for "taking the fall" for Vu... and Bennett, should a citizen ever find out.)
To today, the issues cited in the letter, remain self-unacknowledged, and still with Vu's foolish attempts to cavalierly misrepresent himself and cover up. See this article from the North County TLinkimes - San Diego, where Mr. Vu is quoted about his tenure in and leaving Cuyahoga, and his taking the new position. Gig Conaughton the writer has also been provided a copy of this letter.
(See also

Even Vu's and San Diego "election officials' " characterization to the press of Vu's having been "embattled" and scrutinized only because Cuyahoga is the largest voting district in swing state Ohio, has been proved wrong, as the CCBOE former department manager, Jane Platten has stepped up to transitionally fill Vu's post. Even through the recent brou-ha-ha's of board resistance to resign in response to Secretary of State demands for those resignations; and Bob Bennett's continued rants, false projections of political motivations, and spurious tax-paid law suits against Brunner; and even though Platten stepped into having to immediately prepare for the upcoming May 8 primary, a job she had never overseen - she has fostered more efficiency, clarity, organization, long-term planning, and trust and support among staff, citizens and her superiors, than Vu did in his entire tenure.

Though application of the terms of misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance are best left to attorneys - in order to rout out the real sources of corruption in too often non-oversighted, "answering-only-to-their-few-at poltics'-top," election officials nationwide - it is imperative that non-politically motivated, independent legal investigations DO need proceed, certainly in Cuyahoga, and possibly even in San Diego.
and posts directly below that.

Through today, Cuyahoga Prosecutor Mason with Special Prosecutor Baxter, ARE continuing their possible criminal investigations of the '04 and '06 elections, both under Vu's directorship.

Baxter is the one who brought the recent Cuyahoga convictions for the felonious recount rigging of '04 under Vu, and who, to the day of the prison sentencing of the two non-decision-making employees was still asking, along with the judge, for those women to tell who superior to them at least had knowledge of their actions.

Those women, apparently shocked that things had gone that far, when they apparently were originally assured that if they took the indictments to cover for their higher ups, the case could easily be politically dissolved, and concerned citizens would think that "justice was done" - can not themselves begin to afford the legal fees that someones probably have been at least feeding - until their "innocence is proved" - so that by Bennett's long ago agreement, the citizens would be picking up the tab for that too.
These women seem to feel caught between a rock and verrry hard place. It's still hard to fathom what fears motivate them even now in their quietude, as the same former board member friend of Bennett, thus Vu - "defense" lawyer Roger Synenberg, still continues his deflections of truth of what happened, who all was involved, his apparent bad advice for the sakes of the women, yet works on their appeal. See

Citizens' fair, accurate, verifiable elections, which determine our very futures, and the future of democracy itself, cannot withstand an elections industry that would tolerate such a lack of professional standards, complete with cover-ups displayed by Mr. Vu's move. If it weren't for the import of the danger this ridiculous move presents to so many, I too might have chalked it up to yet another piece of evidence worthy of another amazed and cynical shake of the head, logging the facts, and "wishing the man luck" as he leaves.

Ohio's Secretary of State Brunner in her first 3 months in office, and hard work and many accomplishments, has clearly displayed that she will not only not tolerate it, but also that she is willing to work hard to vastly upgrade the knowledge and guidelines that are to guide the everyday actions of elections workers throughout, so that Ohio's elections can reach her goal of being among the nation's best - in accuracy, transparency, verifiability, opportunities for citizen participation and oversight and thus, non-self-serving internal motivations running them. (A copy of the attached letter has also been copied FYI, to her office.)

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has also demonstrated herself as one of this country's first-class fair election advocates, working hard and long toward elections integrity goals. She even selected as her elections assistant, well-known elections integrity lawyer, Lowell Finley, who had represented cases for citizen advocates of fair elections, before he took that position.

I only hope that she will research the facts about Michael Vu, and for all of our sakes, do what she can about this new appointment - one which by the way, he sought while collecting approximately $11,000/month from Cuyahoga taxpayers for his "transitional consultancy" ( through June 30, in an agreement approved by Bennett and the other past board members that states Vu could "travel" while "serving" Cuyahoga) and an appointment that now would even pay him $10,000 more per year than he was making while doing his Cuyahoga damage - now $130,000.

As stated in the letter, more supporting documents can be made available, even ones surrounding Vu's prior knowledge of the deceptive recount rigging.

1 comment:

Steven Hertzberg said...

It was certainly a responsible step toward transparency to make the current California SoS, Debra Bowen (Dem), aware of Cuyahoga's experience with election director Vu. It will be interesting to see what Bowen does with this information, especially given that she campaigned heavily on election reform and transparency.