Tulare City Councilman Greg Nunley should be positively crimson with shame after suing the city for $16.5 million.
But he’s not.
This is a breach of Nunley’s fiduciary duty not to Tulare itself, but to its taxpaying residents–especially those in the area he represents, District 5.
What’s particularly galling is that this suit represents a betrayal of his supporters, the people who elected him. I can only imagine they feel as if they’ve stumbled into a Kafkaesque judiciary proceeding where some erstwhile friend or family member is suing them for a preposterous, crushing sum of cash.
I’m not going to validate Nunley’s lawsuit by listing its particulars. These can be found elsewhere in this paper and on our website. And I’m baffled by the amount he is seeking. Suffice it to say, though, that a suit of this size against a city the size of Tulare would be more than onerous if he were to prevail in full.
What Nunley is saying with his lawsuit is that his interests are more important than those of his constituents. He’s saying that his interests are entitlements while their interests are concerns. Fair enough, I suppose–if you’re Nunley–but you can’t adequately represent people you feel vastly superior to.
So he should immediately resign his seat. Or drop his suit. Because it seems to me he can’t have both. He can step down and legitimize his suit or, conversely, he can drop his suit and legitimize his seat.
To be clear, there could be many valid reasons for a sitting councilmember to seek legal redress against the city he represents. In the Holly Blair case, for instance, in Lemoore, an anti-SLAPP suit was brought by the city councilmember against her city to quash a temporary restraining order it had filed against her.
But can a councilmember simultaneously represent and intentionally financially harm constituents for his own gain?
This might technically be legal, but it remains far from right. If this is the case then something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and Tulare is Copenhagen.
Nunley, though, is no Hamlet–by which I mean he’s no prince.
It must be difficult to trust a city councilman willing to sue his city for his own motives. His every action, viewed through a lens of revenge or personal gain, would be suspect. And that’s when he hasn’t recused himself.
This is something Nunley has done a good job of in the past, especially regarding Tulare’s hospital. But the ramifications of his current suit must, at $16.5 million, be vast. Who can say how much future city business he’ll have to recuse himself from? That’s why it’s better he resign his seat. Nunley can’t possibly operate at peak effectivity in the present manufactured environment.
I encourage all Tulareans, especially those residing in District 5, to answer this question: Do you trust Greg Nunley? I’m asking you to respond publically, online, as a bellwether.
We recently bought a house in a peaceful Visalia neighborhood. Immediately, I noticed there was not a deadbolt on the premises. Neither was there any kind of alarm. We’re now the second owners of a 30-year old house–and in all that time it has never been burgled. That is telling. We haven’t even moved in yet and already I can feel a trustworthiness about the neighborhood.
Lock your doors, Tulare.
Failing that, you could always avail yourself of a recall. But that would be expensive, and demonstrative of impatience. Why not wait until next year when you can vote him out of office properly and on the cheap?