Anyone out there thinking about buying a Seal Beach elected official a lifetime pass to Disneyland, you may want to listen up.
Local rules governing when City Council members can and can’t accept tickets to events such as concerts, sporting events, movies, etc. will be up for a vote Monday night at City Hall.
The item will be voted on without discussion unless an elected official or member of the public pulls the item for discussion.
Under the California Political Reform Act, public officials must report any gifts that exceed $50 in value on their annual statement of economic interests. And officials may not accept gifts greater than $420 in value from a single source in a calendar year.
That includes tickets and passes.
However, the California Fair and Political Practices Commission requires cities to set up, in writing, how they plan to deal with gifts like tickets and passes.
And at 7 p.m. at Sept. 24 at 211 Eight Street, the City Council is scheduled to do just that.
According to the staff report, the new policy would include some provisions that would “make the policy clearer to both officials affected by the policy and members of the public.”
Under the proposed policy, the city manager would act as a “ticket administrator” for Seal Beach.
In other words, if the city receives tickets, it’s up to the city manager to decide who receives the tickets and passes and if the ticket doesn't serve a “public purpose.”
According to the staff report, a public purpose includes “promoting the city, encouraging retention of business and promoting city-run, sponsored or supported community events, activities or programs, among others."
So a $500,000 ticket to the Moon and back would probably not be considered "for a public purpose."
Here are some other restriction, according to the proposed policy:
- The policy limits the number of tickets an official can accept to one ticket or pass for the official, a ticket or pass for the officials’ immediate family and one guest.
- The Seal Beach rules would apply not only to council members but city staff and any other officer of the city who has to file an annual statement of economic interests.
- After the ticket is given out, the city manager would be required to fill out disclosure forms and transmit the forms to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.
- There is an exception: A ticket provided to an official to an event where he performs a ceremonial role, (like judging a contest or giving the opening speech to festivities); this is not a gift, as long as the official reports the receipt of the ticket on the FPCC form. And even then, the official is only allowed a ticket for one official and one guest.
To download the staff report on the Seal Beach City Council’s proposed ticket policy, click here.