A Monterey Bay politician is inserting himself into San Juan Capistrano city politics by asking the state Attorney General’s office to render on an opinion on whether a councilman, who is also an attorney, can represent clients "adverse" to the city.
The move comes months after San Juan Capistrano’s three-person majority decided it wanted to look into whether Derek Reeve could simultaneously wear his councilman’s hat while representing clients with a beef against the city.
Initially, the council was willing to hire a retired judge to render an opinion. But after learning it would cost $25,000, the majority decided it would try to get the Attorney General’s office to examine the issue.
Enter Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay, who approached the A.G.’s office after local Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point, asked colleagues for assistance in the matter, according to the Orange County Register.
Last week, the A.G.’s office assigned Asst. Attorney General Bruce Slavin to the task, according to its website.
The official question he’ll be answering: May an attorney who sits on a city council represent clients with interests adverse to that city?
The inquiry was raised after a particularly polarizing time in city politics, when a now-unsuccessful attempt to recall Mayor Sam Allevato was underway and a newspaper critical of the city was upset the city had banned news racks at City Hall. Initially, Reeve served as the attorney for that paper.
Reeve had previously published in Patch that he believes the council inappropriately voted on the investigation, and that the city attorney's office had a conflict of interest in guiding the council.
Stone told the Register it’s not so much that cares about politics 400 miles from his home town, but that the question interests him. He said he’s just “a little wonky” that way.
"He is not involved in any controversy but is interested in the legal question as presented," Stone's spokeswoman Arianna Smith told Patch.