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« | Home | »

DCA’s illegal Saturday morning CSAC meeting

By Zach Arnold | June 29, 2012

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No matter how hard the media spins DCA talking points about the chaos surrounding their involvement in the financial affairs of the California State Athletic Commission, understand that we have been telling you the real insider story about what has been going down. The only combat sports writer who has showed any attempt to understand what is going on is Josh Gross of ESPN. That’s it. That’s it. We should also give a shout out to Mauro Ranallo for inviting us onto his radio platform to discuss what has been going on in California.

We’ve had readers ask me to create a digestible summary article about the civil war between the Department of Consumer Affairs and the CSAC. Because we’re agitated by the lazy & incompetent nature of the writers who have written pro-DCA articles about the dysfunction of the CSAC, we wrote an article just for beginners and those who are confused by the situation. Thanks to the help of Boxing Insider, we’ve produced the following:

LA Times, combat sports media whitewash DCA’s hand in California chaos

Consider this article your baseline as to why things have played out the way they have.

If you need any further proof that our reporting and the events that have recently transpired has Sacramento rattled, then I am about to provide proof that will answer any doubts you might have about our claims.

On Tuesday afternoon at the CSAC meeting in El Monte, California, the Department of Consumer Affairs had sent a dozen officials including top staffers to terminate George Dodd’s career as Executive Director of the CSAC. We’ve long exposed how Dodd has been marginalized by the boorish advice from the DCA in regards to what decisions should be made. We’ve outlined how they use their legal department to manipulate recommendations and pressure CSAC board members into doing what they want, as opposed to allowing CSAC to hire their own outside legal counsel.

At the Tuesday meeting, DCA failed to terminate Dodd’s career thanks to 82-year old CSAC Chairman John Frierson standing up to the Sacramento bullies and telling them NO to their termination request. As an end result, the DCA dozen went back home to Sacramento and had to tell their boss that they didn’t get the job done. Of course, they managed to spend over $7,500 taxpayer dollars in the process, but who’s counting?

Dodd’s survival floored everyone back at DCA. Frierson’s rejection of DCA’s strong-arming made them furious. As a result of this outcome, DCA is extremely paranoid and desperate. They know that the promoters, fighters, and referees on the ground understand the game that they are playing with the CSAC. The majority of the media won’t call it like it is, but the citizens & taxpayers are ahead of the curve. This has DCA ready to pull out all the stops. Remember, DCA illegally threatened George Dodd in their insolvency letter that he would be held personally liable for all CSAC debt. The fact they put this in print is beyond stupid.

So, no one should be surprised by what DCA pulled off on Friday… even though we still are. On Friday afternoon, a bulletin was posted on the CSAC web site of a June 30th hearing to go over the delegation of supervision regarding budget affairs at CSAC. At the Tuesday hearing, Dodd was censured and the CSAC board members said that he would work with Chairman John Frierson and Vice Chairman Eugene Hernandez to go over matters of supervision regarding the finances. Sounds fine, right?

Consider the following. June 30th is tomorrow. The Department of Consumer Affairs set up a meeting less than five days after the El Monte hearing. They announced a hearing to the public with less than 24 hours notice. This is entirely illegal. The only way DCA via CSAC can call a hearing on such a quick basis is to label it an emergency hearing. This hearing is not labeled as an emergency hearing.

It’s a violation of process on two levels. First, the law states that the commission must give 10 days notice to the public before a hearing takes place. DCA followed this protocol when they quietly announced George Dodd’s job hearing on June 16th. 10 days later, on June 26th, they tried to terminate his career. Now you have DCA, with less than 24 hours notice, violating the law considering that it’s a public hearing and it’s not declared an emergency hearing. Second, the hearing violates the Disabilities Act. At the bottom of every CSAC agenda document, it states the following:

NOTICE: The meeting is accessible to the physically disabled. A person who needs disability-related accommodation or modification in order to participate in the meeting may make a request by contacting George Dodd at (916) 263-2195 or email george.dodd@dca.ca.gov or sending a written request to George Dodd at the California State Athletic Commission, 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2010, Sacramento, CA 95815. Providing your request at least five (5) days before the meeting will help ensure availability of the requested accommodation. Requests for further information should be directed to George Dodd at the same address and telephone number.

Meetings of the California State Athletic Commission are open to the public except when specifically noticed otherwise in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. The audience will be given appropriate opportunities to comment on any issue presented.

By booking this last-minute, illegal hearing, the Department of Consumer Affairs is violating the rights of those who are disabled and would like to participate in a public hearing. The fact that DCA legal actually thinks they can get away with this is beyond arrogant. Then again, they’ve had most of the media carrying their water for so long that they always think they can get away with pulling these kinds of stunts.

Consider what Josh Gross wrote on Twitter tonight:

“DCA announced this morning it was going to audit CSAC. Not sure if this meeting is related. … A DCA rep informed me about it.”

Because this hearing is illegal and it violates multiple laws, the outcome of this hearing should be totally null and void. DCA believes they can get away with their tactics, but they can’t if someone calls their bluff — especially in court. It’s also giving George Dodd more ammunition should he ever end up filing a retaliation lawsuit against DCA. DCA is already facing one retaliation lawsuit over CSAC matters. They should know better.

In addition to holding an illegal hearing, there are multiple details about this process that are crazy. First, the hearing is set for 9 AM. 9 AM on a Saturday morning. They sure didn’t want anyone to know about this, did they? Second, on the listing of teleconference locations, they listed John Frierson’s home address. This has to do with a provision of The Brown Act. More on this later in the post.

Second, Linda Forster’s name is no longer listed as being a member of the CSAC board. She did, in fact, resign from the commission on Wednesday. She did her best Captain Louis Renault act as to stating her reasons for why she left the commission. She was appointed to the CSAC one year ago, just like Brian Edwards was. Both quit the board.

Which leads us back to last Tuesday’s hearing in El Monte. Governor Jerry Brown appointed a former SEIU representative, Dean Grafilo, to take over the Edwards seat on the board. He participated at the El Monte hearing despite the fact that he has not been approved by the state Senate nor has he been sworn in as a member of the commission. This means that until both things happen, his vote should be voided at these hearings. How this is even being allowed is only of benefit to DCA.

As a result of this ambush hearing on Saturday morning, the agenda (published late Friday afternoon) states the following:

Consideration of Delegation Authority to the Chair and Vice-Chair to act on behalf of the Commission with regard to budget issues.

There’s one of two ways to look at this. Either DCA plays it straight & narrow… or they continue playing their games and suddenly start thinking about grabbing more power. The Brown Act comes to mind. If you want to read the full text of The Brown Act, click here. Why bring up The Brown Act? It has to do with rules & procedures for open meetings in California, which can be manipulated. Kind of like this ambush hearing tomorrow at 9 AM. If you want an example of how The Brown Act can be violated, read this story about residents in Chula Vista alleging a city meeting violated the Act. It puts everything into an easy-to-understand context for you.

Whether John Frierson gave the OK for the Saturday meeting or if DCA legal… assisted… in setting up the matter, the truth is that this is a perfect example on display of how they have been pulling the strings for so long. Anyone in the media who continues to push the spin that the financial problems of the CSAC are entirely the fault of George Dodd just is either lying, ignorant, or misinformed. It’s not our job to defend George Dodd, but it is our job to expose exactly what is going on behind the scenes and why the state of affairs for California combat sports is such a mess.

Topics: Boxing, CSAC, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 29 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

29 Responses to “DCA’s illegal Saturday morning CSAC meeting”

  1. dustin says:

    Do you know where these meetings are held?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Tomorrow’s 9 AM meeting, which was only announced yesterday late afternoon, will be held at DCA HQ in Sacramento with members on teleconference from various locations.

  2. fd2 says:

    “We’ve long exposed how Dodd has been marginalized by the boorish advice from the DCA in regards to what decisions should be made.”

    REally? Because I could have sworn the first time you mentioned Dodd was two weeks ago, and to the extent that you were talking about the California scene at all before that you were talking about all the connections John Frierson had to the “CADEM Machine”.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Nothing I’ve stated about any of the individuals in the past or in the now is inaccurate.

      I’m not taking sides as far as overall job performance for anyone here. Not for Frierson, not for Dodd, not for DCA.

      However, if you’re asking me who has the most power, this is all about DCA in the long-run. Dodd was their hand-picked candidate. He walked into the job cold. Frierson’s a political lifer who is certainly a beneficiary of the CADEM political machine.

      When I first started covering the mess going on in California, I started with the commission members, then went into the budgeting process (and who benefited), and then moved into DCA territory. It had to be done this way to explain how it works and the political realities/relationships.

      My advice is to re-read the piece I did talking about DCA’s motives — http://www.fightopinion.com/2012/06/26/motives-dca-csac/ — as it explains a lot about the strings they are pulling and why. Nobody, including us, is covering up for mistakes Frierson & Dodd have made. On the contrary, in fact. However, the real game & the tactical shenanigans are being called by DCA. Saturday’s hearing is in violation of at least three different laws. It’s ridiculous.

      • fd2 says:

        “Nothing I’ve stated about any of the individuals in the past or in the now is inaccurate.”

        Nor did I say it was. However, saying “We’ve long exposed how Dodd has been marginalized by the boorish advice from the DCA in regards to what decisions should be made.” is inaccurate, unless you consider like eight days “long”. When you first started writing about this it was all about how Frierson was a corrupt political lifer, then you shifted to the business practices of CSAC, then DCA. You certainly haven’t “long exposed” anything about Dodd, because you didn’t even mention him until last week.

        Seriously, Zach, if you’d lay off the self-aggrandizing exaggeration and bullshit speculation, reading through your stuff to get the useful information would be a lot less of a pain in the ass.

        • Zippy says:

          “Seriously, Zach, if you’d lay off the self-aggrandizing exaggeration and bullshit speculation, reading through your stuff to get the useful information would be a lot less of a pain in the ass.”

          Ding ding ding. We have a winner.

          Ed. — Of the multiple pages of documentation I’ve laid over the last couple of months, display examples of a heavy amount of self-aggrandizing in the documentation. You can’t.

      • fd2 says:

        “Ed. — Of the multiple pages of documentation I’ve laid over the last couple of months, display examples of a heavy amount of self-aggrandizing in the documentation. You can’t”.

        “We’ve long exposed how Dodd has been marginalized by the boorish advice from the DCA in regards to what decisions should be made.” is</b inaccurate, unless you consider like eight days “long”.

        Once again – lay off the self-aggrandizing exaggeration and bullshit speculation.

        • Jay Bell says:

          ouch, alot of criticism of the way this story is written and how its played out. Alot of the regular readers are not even interested in commenting on it, which is surprising.

  3. Jason Harris says:

    Should we really be rooting for Dodd to stay? All signs point to the CSAC being a fucking trainwreck.

    Is it really a bad thing if the DCA wants to take him out? Can anyone explain to me why we wouldn’t want this?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      DCA > Dodd > Frierson/CSAC.

      DCA controls/influences the appointments to the board via the state Senate rubber stamp. DCA, through their use of ‘legal’ has hand-picked Executive Directors.

      There are no winners in this civil war. So, the question becomes the following:

      Should CSAC exist in hopes of glimmers of transparency and potential independence to fight off DCA… or should there be no combat sports allowed in the state… or should DCA be allowed to absorb everything privately which means 100% centralized power that would basically lead to the end of combat sports in California through extremely nasty politicization.

      How the promoters feel was made evident on Tuesday in El Monte when they showed up out of the blue to support Dodd. They see DCA as the big threat here to their business and ability to run in California. It’s a proxy war.

      • Jason Harris says:

        That seems really drastic. Why have we gotten the indication that DCA wants to shut down combat sports in the state? I admit I skimmed your articles some but the problems you highlighted seem personnel related.

        Is this political infighting like you’re describing, or do you have some reasoning behind the notion that firing this Dodd character will somehow eliminate combat sports in CA? That sounds incredibly sensationalist. Wasn’t Dodd just appointed a year or two ago because the previous boss was a complete failure?

        Ed. — Re-read the article about DCA’s motives in interefering with the AC. It’s their dumping ground & transfer station for other employees from other bureaus they control so that they can keep their most favored employees on the taxpayer payroll. It’s all about control. This is why DCA is so involved in screwing around with the AC given their budget troubles.

        Dodd was appointed as their hand-picked guy in 2010. However, between decisions he made and “advice” DCA told him regarding who to use, the budget went into red ink and now DCA’s turned on him and trying to blame everyone else for a mess they have involvement with.

        I am not portraying anyone involved in this mess – Dodd, DCA, or Frierson as some knight in shining armor. The whole cast of characters has some implication in the mess. The question becomes what is best for the promoters on the ground. They clearly believe that DCA not sunsetting the commission as opposed to making everything secret is the right approach.

        Should DCA end up disbanding the CSAC and running everything in private, there will be no accountability or transparency. Nothing regarding budgets, licensing, drug testing, or meetings. It will lead to the destruction of the small & mid-sized shows because of how hot & heavy the politics will be.

      • Jason Harris says:

        To further my point, as of a couple of weeks ago you were incredulous at the horrible inefficiencies within the CSAC, and now it feels like you’re framing the argument that they are the knights in shining armor fighting off the evil DCA. What have they done that they should keep their jobs? Why is the DCA wrong in not wanting Dodd and whoever else to keep their jobs?

  4. Weezy02 says:

    I’m reading from the text of the Brown act and it says regarding “special meetings” (which I’m assuming they’d classify this as:

    “Written notice must be delivered and posted at least 24 hours prior the the special meeting in a site freely accessible to the public.”

    There is another section of the Act that allows for teleconferencing. Have you gotten comment from anyone at DCA attempting to get response to the accusation that the meeting is illegal? I’m not defending the late notice meeting. I don’t have a dog in any of this fight. Just mentioning for discussion.

  5. Jonathan Snowden says:

    There is the heart of an interesting story here. I wish you would try to edit yourself, focus on the relevant points, provide substantiation and on the record comments from the principals, and really do what you want to do—break a big story.

    Can you document why this meeting is illegal? You didn’t link to any supporting documentation or statutes. Who told you this? It seems to be just fine from a brief reading of California law.

    You also repeatedly claim that a insolvency letter sent to Commission officials like Dodd was “illegal.” Again, there is no documentation to support this viewpoint.

    I’d like to see some transparency here. I recall this a few days ago…..

    “Update (Friday night): Multiple sources have told us that George Dodd has resigned from the commission. We’ve had one source claim that the DCA has no legal ground to stand on right now to threaten Dodd with personal liability for CSAC debt, even though that threat was made in the insolvency letter.”

    If these sources were so wrong then, why are you still repeating their information as gospel, allowing them to make these continued outrageous claims with complete freedom from accountability or consequence?

    You make a lot of bold statements with no substantiation. Is the use of inspectors and other officials who are on the government pay roll really the heart of California’s fiscal issues? Were state employees not used in these roles under Garcia and previous regimes? We have no idea based on your “expose.” Instead, you’ve just presented some contextless information.

    We’ve seen John Frierson, in your narrative, go from evil mastermind using CADEM to rule with an iron fist, to a DCA patsy, to the guy heroically standing up to the DCA, who themselves have gone from an afterthought acronym in your May stories to the lead villains in late June.

    The way the narrative shifts constantly in these posts is so transparently based on the off the record source du jour (seemingly Maysey or proxy, the attorney for the disgruntled inspector or proxy, now Dodd or his proxy) that it’s hard even for you to remember how you’ve presented this information in past posts.

    • bundt says:

      http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/bagleykeene_meetingact.pdf

      There you go dumbass

      That was literally the first google search I did and first result. You are a lazy, lazy man

      • Zach Arnold says:

        They did not declare this to be a ‘special’ meeting on their web site or in agenda documentation. They are going around offline claiming they called it a ‘special’ meeting but they did not do so in public notice. So, that gets shot down because it’s a violation of the 10 day notification rule.

        “The normal 10-day advance notice is not required for special meetings. However, notice of the special meeting is required to be provided to each member of the state agency and to persons who have requested notice of the agency?s meetings as soon as practicable after the decision to hold the meeting is made. Notice to members, newspapers of general circulation, and radio or television stations must be received at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting. Notice to newspapers, radio and television stations is satisfied by providing notice to all national press wire services. Notices to the general public may be given via appropriate electronic bulletin boards or other appropriate mechanisms. (§11125.4(b)) The notice must also be posted on the Internet at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.”

        They put up their notification late Friday afternoon on their web site. It’s in violation of the 48-hour notification rule for ‘special’ meetings… and this was not labeled as a ‘special’ meeting.

        So, not only did they violate the Bagley-Keene Act for public notification, they violated the Disabilities Act and there’s a good chance they violated the state’s Brown Act.

        DCA is turning this into an even bigger mess than it already is. They just never got called out for it before.

        • Weezy02 says:

          “Why bring up The Brown Act? It has to do with rules & procedures for open meetings in California, which can be manipulated. Kind of like this ambush hearing tomorrow at 9 AM.”

          Actually, you’re wrong. The Brown Act pertains to meetings at the local (city, county, etc..) level. Bagley-Keene pertains to meetings at the state level of government. Were you aware of this when you wrote this piece?

          “and this was not labeled as a ’special’ meeting.”

          I just read the “Bagley-Keene” act and I saw nowhere in the section regarding “Special Meetings” that they include the exact terminology “Special Meeting” in the Agenda. Please show me the text that details this requirement.

          “They put up their notification late Friday afternoon on their web site. It’s in violation of the 48-hour notification rule for ’special’ meetings”

          If true (I stress “if”), then you’re correct that they’re in violation if they’re asserting this to be a special meeting. However, I see no attempt by you to fact check the posting time with the DCA (maybe you did, I just don’t see it chronicled here). What time/day to they say it was posted on their site?

  6. Weezy02 says:

    Just corresponded wtih Melissa Figueroa (Deputy Secretary, Communications State and Consumer Services Agency). She said, and I quote: “It was an emergency meeting, and the notice was posted Friday Afternoon.” I can forward her email if you’d like. Now, one can argue that their department is wrong and that it was not an emergency meeting (which by my understanding of the Act means there was a need for immediacy due to a concern for the public well being), but they insist it was. This would nullify the time requirement for notification online. Furthermore, there is no language in the Bagley-Keene Act which mandates that the term “Emergency Meeting” appear as a proper name or wording in a notice or agenda. Rather, it’s listed as an adjective for the type of meeting being conducted. What will be interesting is to review the minutes of the meeting (assuming it was open). That might answer some questions. Until then I see no evidence that any law was violated and I suspect neither would a judge (though I look forward to the opportunity to review the meeting minutes to make sure all protocol was followed).

  7. […] One of our readers contacted DCA and got the following response: “It was an emergency meeting, and the notice was posted Friday Afternoon.” […]

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