A Tale of Two Worlds

Councilman Hume's fine, fine, super fine dining omission!



     Apparently, at least one Elk Grove City Councilman lives in a different world than I do.  The Fair Political Practices Commission recently fined Councilman Pat Hume $1000 for failing to report brunches and dinners he received during a council members’ annual lobbying trip to Washington D.C. in 2009.  The nine brunches and dinners Hume received cost $728.  That’s just about $81 per meal!  Pretty good wining and dining if you ask me!

     That’s not my world.  Even though I’ve lived in California for over forty years, I’m still a Wisconsin boy at heart.  I feel lucky if, when out with the guys for a few brewskis, someone other than me buys the pitcher of Bud Light.

     Fair to say Councilman Hume and the other members of the lobbying trip didn’t dine at an Applebee’s, not that there would have been anything wrong with that.  I like Applebee’s.  Hey, a guy like me can go to the restaurant, order the most expensive item on the menu, add two or three glasses of fine wine, tip generously,  and still have a tab considerably less than $81.

     I can’t ever remember anyone picking up the tab for my $81 meal.  Heck, I can’t remember ever having a restaurant tab for an $81 meal.  If someone did, I’m pretty sure I’d remember it for quite some time.  And I’m positive, if someone picked up the tab for nine expensive meals, it would be indelibly seared into my long-term memory.  But, that’s my world.

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Tom Waltman February 01, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Every one of our City Council members has been on Cap-to-Cap over the past few years. Do you really think this is not the norm for our elected class? It is a very different world, with everyone courting you. But it is the same for Gary Davis, Jim Cooper, and Steve Detrick. As well as every other City Councilperson, County Supervisor, etc in our region and every other municipality in the US. Pat Hume attended the same dinners as every one else at Cap-to-Cap. Welcome to America.
Dan Schmitt February 02, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Tom, So, what's your point? Are you saying that, if all councilpeople fail to claim meals bought by organizations trying to gain influence, it's just "the system?" Sorry, but I choose to believe we (the public) still have an opportunity to change the system.
patchreader February 02, 2013 at 04:07 AM
No, the point is that $81 meals are not abnormal in the world of politics. They aren't even abnormal in non-political world. Are you chastising the man for the cost of the meals that were served to him, or for the fact that he forgot to report them? Because from here, it sounds like you are jealous that he's eating at a level above Applebee's. $81 for a meal that most likely included a salad, main course, a desert and some wine and a tip sounds pretty reasonable to me, especially considering that D.C. is not exactly known for being an affordable dining destination.
Dan Schmitt February 02, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Patchreader, As I said in my commentary, seems to me that if someone or some organization picked up the tab for nine meals totalling $728, I'd remember. But, hey, that's my world!
Tom Waltman February 02, 2013 at 06:02 PM
If you attended Cap-to-Cap I doubt you could remember half of what happened. So much is pressed into a very short time that you would need an assistant to keep track for you. I find it interesting that someone would know enough to be aware of the potential missed filings... And then file a complaint. I wonder if ANY of the folks there would withstand a complaint filed with the FPPC over missed filings at Cap-to-Cap. I guess it might be worth testing out some day. Who do you thin I should research?
M.Legison February 02, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Look at the names at the top left of the filing document. If you have been in Elk Grove long enough, there's your answer. It's unknown if the opinion writer was prompted by someone to post this "opinion", or if he is just being his normal, partisan-hack and uninformed self. There are two truths to the matter: 1) the selection of Mr. Hume for investigation was not random, and 2) if Mr. Hume was an active Democrat, like two on the council, there probably would never have been an investigation, and *certainly* this post would not have appeared.
Dan Schmitt February 02, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Hey, M. Legison, No one prompted me to post my opinion. I'm just being my normal, partisan-hack and uninformed self!
Mark Paxson February 02, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Dan, I wouldn't waste your time. M. has a narrative that he/she/it is relentless on. It's all a vast liberal conspiracy to drive out Republicans everywhere. Apparently, the FPPC, which by law is the entity responsible for enforcing the Political Reform Act is all a part of the conspiracy. Never mind that any review of their agendas would suggest otherwise. What's particularly funny, is it's clear you challenge any city council member's receipt of these types of "gifts." There are plenty of other details that are lacking but M. has clearly made up his/her/its mind ... for instance, many officials who are required to report, don't accept such free meals, choosing instead to reimburse the donor to avoid the need to report. As well, M. probably didn't bother to check Elk Grove's website, where he/she/it could have discovered that other council members didn't have a problem putting the meals from that trip on their Form 700 as required to do so. None of that matters, however -- it doesn't fit M.'s narrative.
Mark Paxson February 02, 2013 at 10:39 PM
I should add that I have always had a suspect view of the ethics of a number of the city council members, including some of the most longstanding members who happen to be Democrats.
Tom Waltman February 02, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Mark, it is funny that we often agree while doing it from vastly different perspectives. Councilman Hume should have reported those meals, and I am sure he feels pretty dopey for not doing so. Given that several other Elk Grove Councilpersons attended the same dinners, it is highly unlikely that he was attempting to hide his nefarious activities from the public. I personally suspect the ethics of anyone who runs for any elected office in our nation, but I don't necessarily think the ethical sacrifices those who run make are really of the variety that would make most of us jump off the cliff for shame. Campaign finance in our state drives many to do things that are ethically suspect, but given the choices, are not all that dire. You probably wouldn't have some members of the City Council seated right now if the letter and spirit of CA campaign law was followed to the word. Does that make them all criminals? You make that choice. I happen to view those who are elected from the standpoint of their vision and their ACTIONS. Sure it is sujective, but so are our voting choices. We talk about holding our elected officials to unattainable standards of ethics and actions, and then wonder why we are constantly disappointed. Silly us.
Mark Paxson February 02, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Tom ... I question the necessity and wisdom of fining Humes for what was essentially a slip. That said, the rules are there for a reason ... how do we know if failure to disclose is a slip or something else? I mean that generally not with respect to this specific incident? I want to know who is paying for things our elected officials receive. Whether it is free tickets, free meals, or additional income. Full disclosure. Problem is that if there aren't penalties for failure to disclose where's the incentive to do so? Can't disagree with the comment regarding holding officials to unattainable standards.
Tom Waltman February 05, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Mark - No doubt. The fine was both appropriate and necessary. If you fail to disclose, you do so at your own risk. I feel bad for Councilman Hume, as I don't think he had any intention to obfuscate. He knows the rules, and he isn't squawking from anything I have seen. I do wish that some folks who scream the loudest in our town would look around and get worked up about ALL of the silliness that occurs, rather than focusing on a select few. Hypocracy is one of the brightest stars that shine in our universe. It rarely fails to be seen for what it is. Thanks.
Mark Paxson February 06, 2013 at 02:53 AM
"I do wish that some folks who scream the loudest in our town would look around and get worked up about ALL of the silliness that occurs, rather than focusing on a select few. Hypocracy is one of the brightest stars that shine in our universe. It rarely fails to be seen for what it is. " Agreed.
desertpatriot February 07, 2013 at 01:32 AM
a vote goes out as to who is the most obnoxious busybody commenter here on the patch... i nominate mark paxson
Dan Schmitt February 07, 2013 at 05:04 AM
desertpatriot, You, of course, are in jest, right! Paxson is anything but an obnoxious busybody commentator (check your spelling). Me think you must be referring to M. Legison. Partisan-hack, and uninformed self The partis
Mark Paxson February 07, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Yes, Dan, desert patriot behind his wall of anonymity is apparently offended that I have thoughts on more subjects than gays and guns, which truth be told he doesn't think I should have thoughts on those subjects as well. Equally fascinating is his criticism of my comments on an Elk Grove matter when he resides nowhere near the city of Elk Grove. Desertpatriot ... your putridness grows.
desertpatriot February 08, 2013 at 04:13 PM
smitty, what party have i claimed support? me thinks the two of you are sharing the same bed
Dan Schmitt February 09, 2013 at 03:37 AM
desertpatriot, As far as I can ascertain, you're new to the Patch dialogue. But, new or not, you've done an incredibly thorough job of making yourself look like the "south end of a horse heading north!"
desertpatriot February 09, 2013 at 10:23 AM
smitty, you're avoiding my question
Dan Schmitt February 09, 2013 at 03:54 PM
desertpatriot, I'm confused. If your question is, "Smitty, what party have I claimed support?", well, as I said, I'm confused. What the heck is the question? It makes no sense.


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