Palm Springs — Friends of Frank Bogert recently submitted and completed a document request to the City of Palm Springs through the Public Records Act. This request revealed significant disturbing information about the Human Rights Commission’s report attacking the late Mayor Frank Bogert.
In addition to the many
errors, factual inaccuracies, opinions presented as facts, and other egregious
shenanigans in the HRC’s “report”, the Public Records Request revealed:
● A stunning Lack of Transparency, Accountability and Impartiality, including:
o The author of the report is still “unknown;”
o The contents and approval process were questioned by at least one Commissioner (see below);
o The process was politically motivated by leaders involved in the process
o There may have been violations of the open meeting rules, aka the “Brown Act”
o The report was not reviewed by City staff prior to its adoption by the HRC
● The Resolution’s integrity and the report’s contents were questioned by one of its own HRC Commissioners: HRC Commissioner Andrade refers to a highly unusual series of events regarding this matter and indicates that the HRC took action without the benefit of proper procedure and transparency. Additionally, Ms. Andrade highlights the unusual manner of the production and availability of the report, which violate the HRC’s internal procedures and goals. Ms. Andrade states that the report, “gave the appearance of character assassination tactics to achieve a political goal” and that it is “an embarrassing account of trial-by-media in spite of legal documentation to the contrary.” Additionally, in an email to HRC Chairman deHarte, she states that the Commission is “indicting one individual to appease another group.” A copy of her letter and emails are included.
● City Council Member Geoff Kors helped coordinate the production of the report. Correspondence between Council member Kors and Mr. deHarte clearly indicate that Mr. Kors was active in the research and production aspects of the report. He showed that he is pre-disposed in support of removing the Bogert statue.
Chairman Mr. deHarte was focused on vilifying Frank Bogert instead of providing
the community with an impartial, complete assessment of Section 14. In his own
words from email and text communications, coupled with public testimony at HRC
public meetings, Mr. deHarte made numerous damaging and false statements about
● A possible violation of the Brown Act. Friends of Frank Bogert are also concerned about the implications of the attached text message exchange between Mr. deHarte and Councilmember Kors where Mr. deHarte asks Councilmember Kors if he should poll councilmembers regarding the matter. Councilman Kors does not warn him not to. It appears all five councilmembers may have been involved sequentially through Mr. deHarte in the discussion regarding the Bogert statue. Further it appears that in mid-March, deHarte was sending emails to Councilmember Garner. This interaction was prior to the previously scheduled joint meeting of the HRC and City Council and is also prior to the now anticipated public hearing on September 29, 2021. Such involvement appears to violate the Brown Act.
Due to the issues outlined as well as associated public-record documents, and due to the fallacious nature of the report, Friends of Frank Bogert request the following:
A. The recusal of Councilmember Kors from any future council vote on the Bogert statue. The PRA request indicates that not only was Mr. Kors involved in the production of the report, but that he has already made a decision on statue prior to any public comments on the matter, both of which are grounds for recusal.
B. The immediate resignation of Mr. deHarte’s as HRC Chair. Mr. deHarte’s actions are unbecoming of his position and he should resign immediately so that the HRC can proceed in good faith with its important work in the future. In addition to overseeing the production of a defamatory, false report, Mr. deHarte used his position as HRC Chair for political purposes and has violated several of the Commission’s stated goals.
C. Further, any staff report forwarded to the City Council for consideration must include city staff review and complete analysis, including fact-checking of all of the information assembled by these unknown authors of the HRC Report, and further must correct or delete inaccuracies and misinformation. The final staff report accompanying this item to council must be factually correct as a basis for any decision-making and requires proper and extensive vetting and then validation by the City Attorney and City Manager.
It is apparent that the preparation of the HRC report and resolution were done in the dark, and in a rush to attack a former Mayor who dedicated himself to the City while in and out of office for close to 75 years. The commission claims its mission is ‘to promote and protect’ the community and ‘improve human relations through education and community awareness’ — but the recent actions show that the commission clearly violated its own principles.”
Friends of Frank Bogert has requested the following remedies: a correction, retraction, or a delay to the September 29th hearing until the public has adequate time to review the Commission’s erroneous findings.
This Public Records Act request is in addition to the recent rebuttal released by by Friends of Frank Bogert which revealed the City’s “Human Rights Commission” report was riddled with factual inaccuracies, items taken out of context, and opinion items presented as facts. A copy of that rebuttal can be read here: https://friendsoffrankbogert.org/rebuttal/
A copy of the Public Records Act request, as well as all supporting materials mentioned here are available upon Media request.