Virginia Chang Kiraly wastes time playing petty politics at Harbor Commission meetings
Virginia Chang Kiraly serves as a San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner & Menlo Park Fire Protection District Director
On January 19, 2016 members of the public requested that Menlo Park Fire Protection District board members ask Ms. Kiraly to resign, citing the Doctrine of Incompatible Office. Ms. Kiraly chose to ignore public concern and has retained her seat on the Fire District Board. She is currently serving simultaneously on two elected special district boards in San Mateo County.
On February 3, 2016 an elected special district board member stated that Ms. Kiraly is violating state law by serving simultaneously on two special district boards with overlapping and conflicting public duties. It appears that Ms. Kiraly is working in the shadows to have the Harbor District dissolved. Ms. Kiraly is retaining a seat on the Fire District and serving on the Harbor District while simultaneously lobbying County Supervisors, LAFCo Commissioners, and Grand Jurors to dissolve the Harbor District. Ms. Kiraly expects her lobbying effort will be met with success and wishes to retain her seat on the Fire District to maintain her elected status.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. —Matthew 6:24
Concerns among fishermen are growing. Ms. Kiraly comes across as a political tool for South San Francisco city council members. Ms. Kiraly and her friend Karyl Matsumoto, South San Francisco city council member, support a scheme to extend funding a City owned marina with countywide property tax revenue designated to the countywide Harbor District. A contentious JPA agreement between South City and the Harbor District is set to expire in 10 years. After the JPA agreement expires property tax revenue will no longer subsidize the City owned marina. Matsumoto would like to continue the funding indefinitely. Matsumoto stated during a September 16, 2015 special meeting that she’s lobbied votes from County Supervisor Pine, Groom and Slocum to dissolve the Harbor District and she wants the Supervisors to give the City the property tax revenue currently designated to the Harbor District. The City owned marina (Oyster Point) is built on a San Francisco Bay superfund site with a number of costly problems including landfill subsidence, methane gas, and sea level rise.
It appears that Ms. Kiraly is using her elected position, close ties with Karyl Matsumoto, and experience as a past Grand Juror to game the system, break the law, and influence a current Grand Jury investigation into the Harbor District. It should be noted that Ms. Kiraly served on the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury for two years from 2007-2009 and as Foreperson from 2008-2009. In 1999 the San Mateo County Grand Jury recommended that all candidates be made aware that individuals cannot hold incompatible offices. If a candidate is appointed or elected to an office that is incompatible with the first office, the first office becomes vacant upon the taking of the second office.
Doctrine of Incompatible Offices
The 1999 San Mateo County Grand Jury recommended that all candidates be made aware that individuals cannot hold incompatible offices. If a candidate is elected to an office that is incompatible with the first office, the first office becomes vacant upon the taking of the second office.
This doctrine of incompatible offices precludes public officials from holding two different public offices simultaneously if the offices have overlapping and conflicting public duties. Courts have summarized the doctrine as follows: “One individual may not simultaneously hold two public offices where the functions of the offices concerned are inherently inconsistent, as where there are conflicting interests, or where the nature of the duties of the two offices is such as to render it improper due to considerations of public policy for one person to retain both.” (Mott v. Horstmann (1950) 36 Cal.2d 388; see also, Chapman v. Rapsey (1940) 16 Cal.2d 636.) California Government Code Section 1099 provides detailed guidance on incompatible offices and specifies the defining characteristics:
Offices are incompatible when any of the following circumstances are present, unless simultaneous holding of the particular offices is compelled or expressly authorized by law:
Public policy considerations make it improper for one person to hold both offices.
Based on the powers and jurisdictions of the offices, there is a possibility of a significant clash of duties or loyalties between the offices.
Either of the offices may audit, overrule, remove members of, dismiss employees of, or exercise supervisory powers over the other office or body.