Has Councilmember Fergusson violated the law?
Original post made by Whistleblower, Atherton: other, on Aug 1, 2011
Will the Almanac, dedicated to local journalism, please investigate this matter?
In March 2011, Councilmember Fergusson apparently misled the FPPC, that her employer, Siemens Corporations' interest in High Speed Rail was remote, when she led them to believe that her employer, Siemens was just one of 1,100 companies listed on the rail authority's website as expressing "potential" interest in the high-speed rail project.
Based on those facts, the ethics commission responded on April 1 that Ms. Fergusson's "decision making could potentially financially effect (sic) Siemens, but it's not foreseeable yet. She should probably request further advice (maybe written advice) if Siemens becomes more involved in the actual CHSRA (request for proposals) down the road."
What Councilmember Fergusson did not inform the commission, was that in February of 2010, Siemens Corporation moved their mobility headquarters to Sacramento and expanded their production facilities in Sacramento to accommodate the manufacturing of trains for the California High Speed Rail system. This required an investment of millions of dollars, creating a financial stake for Siemens in California High Speed Rail's future in California.
Mrs. Fergusson also didn't inform the FPPC that Siemens was spending money, sponsoring events for the California High Speed Rail Authority to speak at, to sell and promote the positive effects High Speed Rail could have on California's economy.
Mrs. Fergusson also failed to inform that FPPC that Siemens was actively working with the state of California on the High Speed Rail project. These communications were admitted to as recently as June 7, 2011, when as reported by multiple sources, in Ohio, the CEO of Siemens admitted that Siemens Corporation was working with Sacramento as California explores building a high speed rail network.
At Menlo Park City Council meetings in June and July 2011, Mrs. Fergusson advocated and voted for the City adopting an official policy supporting High Speed Rail on the Peninsula, in a blended system with Cal Train. It has come out that Mrs. Fergusson has even delayed the letter that the City Council voted to send to the High Speed Rail Authority, so she can fine tune it with City Staff. There are many residents of Menlo Park who are opposed to High Speed Rail in any form. Mrs. Fergusons's employer Siemens, clearly stands to financially gain from High Speed Rail proceeding in California. Menlo Park's new position on High Speed Rail, that Mrs. Fergusson helped create, eliminates another hurdle on the Peninsula against High Speed Rail, and made it more feasible for her employer to profit from the system.
This information certainly at a minimum deserves investigation. Has Councilmember Fergusson broken the law?
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