meyers | nave
riback silver & wilson
professional law corporation
Attorney at Law
February 12, 2002
Stephen Butler, Esq.
Clement Fitzpatrick & Kenworthy
333 Mendocino Avenue
Post Office Box 1494
Santa Rosa, California 95402
Re: Lafferty Ranch
Dear Mr. Butler:
I am in receipt of your letter of January 28, 2002. Although I do not intend by this letter to respond to all of the erroneous allegations or inaccurate representations and statements you have made nor respond with the same tone you have chosen to take in your letter, I do wish to address a few points.
First, neither the City of Petaluma, the City Council nor City staff sponsored, promoted, authorized, or have ratified the actions of the Friends of Lafferty Park in general, and specifically, with respect to the event of January 13, 2002. If you review all the materials you provided in your letter, you will note that there is no indication whatsoever of any involvement of the City Council or staff with respect to that event. Friends of Lafferty Park is a citizen organization. It has not been established by and does not have any affiliation with City Council or the City. Should the Friends of Lafferty Park stage events in the future, it does so as a private citizen organization unaffiliated with the City of Petaluma or the City Council.
Secondly, althought there may have been individuals who are public officials who participated in the Friends of Lafferty Park event, they did so as private citizens and were not acting in their capacity as public officials or under the authorization or direction of the City Council. Likewise should they participate in any future Friends of Lafferty Park events, they do so in their capacity as private citizens rather than in their capacity a public officials.
Third, it is clear that the City of Petaluma and your clients have different opinions and positions regarding the ownership interest in the area where the Bettman property, the Pfendler property, City property and the County right of way converge. Your characterization of the nature and outcome of the 1998 litigation is inaccurate. The count's ruling was on a very narrow issue pertaining to a particular California statute regarding access to property for investigations during the CEQA process. The City in that matter never conceded the issue of ownership of the "disputed triange" nor did the count's ruling decide the issue of the ownership interests.
In fact, the so-called "good neighbor agreement" referred to in your letter, was an accommodation to the property owners when the Lafferty Committee (which was established by the City Council as opposed to the Friends of Lafferty Park which is not a committee of the City) performed studies on Lafferty Ranch. As indicated in that arrangment, and expressed in your letter of December 3, 1998: "This letter also constitutes a written assurance that the arrangement is not intended nor shall it constitute permission for entry onto the Lafferty Ranch, and is not deemed to be an admission or concession, of any nature whatsoever, by either the City or the Bettmans with respect to any rights that either may have in connection with access to Lafferty Ranch or the use of the area upon which vehicles will be parked."
Very truly yours,
Richard R. Rudnansky
Richard R. Rudnansky
Mayor and Petaluma City Council Members
North Bay | 401 Mendocino Avenue, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 - Telephone 707.545.8009 - www.meyersnave.com