The following reader editorial was submitted by a local resident. Former Arcadia’s Best publisher and founder Scott Hettrick had no involvement with this commentary and has not managed this site since April 2016. His name initially attached here was a technical glitch that has been resolved.
Current city councilman Tom Beck is seeking a second term in the coming election this April. Beck has made several claims on his website beck4council.com regarding the “personal accomplishments” that he has made while on the council. However, Beck’s site and list of accomplishments are full of misinformation and raise some large concerns over his credibility as a candidate.
First, the frontpage of the site claims that “the City Council voted 3-2 to go to ‘district’ elections instead of ‘at-large’ elections,” and that Beck voted against the change, together with Councilwoman Verlato. His motive for naming Ms. Verlato was likely to gain the favor of her supporters. While Beck did vote in such a manner, he neglects to mention that multiple cities in California have already been treated with warning letters or lawsuits connected to the topic of at-large voting, as it potentially violates the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). According to the Arcadia City website: “To date, NO city that has been challenged with a CVRA lawsuit has successfully defended the right to maintain at-large electoral voting. Several cities have spent millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees; only to lose the case and be made to pay the Plaintiffs Legal Fees as well.” One such example of this was the city of Palmdale, which ultimately had to settle their suit and agree to district voting.
We must question why an experienced trial lawyer such as Mr. Beck would vote in such an insensible manner that could possibly waste our city millions of taxpayer dollars. Beck claims to have “lined up additional law firms to represent the city on an as-needed basis.” However, his actual reason for opposing district voting in the face of such resistance perhaps lies in the fact that with it, there would be more competitors for his position.
However, the matter with the district voting is just the beginning. Beck’s site also listed a few members of our community as having endorsed him, without their consent or knowledge. Former city council candidate Burton Brink and his wife Kim Brink were both initially listed as backing Beck. Their names were removed only after they protested their inclusion. This leaves us to wonder just how many others were placed on this list without their knowledge.
Finally, one of the “personal accomplishments” claimed by Beck is the “Ring Bell Program,” which he claims he “brought… to our city.” In actuality, it was Arcadia’s police chief who proposed this program. Tom Beck had no clue how the Ring Bell Program was actually run – he didn’t attend even a single one of the community meetings for the initiative. Yet despite this, he shamelessly claimed it as his own personal achievement, simply because he did not vote ‘no’ against the other four council members.
Tom Beck’s half-truths and misdirection are hurting Arcadia. In a time where it is so easy for people on both sides to shout “Fake news!” politicians have to be extra careful that what they say is true. To witness such deception on the national level is one thing, but for it to happen in our own backyards makes it much more personal. This is an embarrassment to the council and city of Arcadia. Tom Beck should never be back on our city Council again.