HERCULES -- City Attorney Patrick Tang has rejected calls by two residents to investigate a City Council member's efforts to silence a critic or ask the state to intervene.

Bill Kelly, who won election to the council Nov. 6 pending a final count, had requested in a Sept. 25 letter to Tang that the council ask state Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate Councilwoman Myrna de Vera's complaint to a Pinole official about the blogging of resident Kent Von Aspern on Hercules Patch. Von Aspern works for HDR Engineering, which holds an $800,000 design contract at the joint Pinole-Hercules wastewater treatment plant. A second phase of the contract is expected to go out to bid within a year.

Pinole City Engineer Dean Allison contacted Von Aspern's boss at HDR, and the blogging eventually stopped.

Hercules resident Chris Tallerico, in a Sept. 26 letter to city officials, asked that Tang investigate whether any criminal act was committed. Tallerico also asked the council to censure de Vera.

Tang, in an Oct. 30 letter to Tallerico, said he has no independent authority to conduct a criminal investigation and that the council thus declined to direct him to pursue one. And in a Nov. 8 letter to Kelly, confirming a telephone conversation in late October, Tang said the council had voted in closed session not to act on Kelly's request. Any member of the public can ask the state to investigate, Tang added. Kelly did so on Oct. 27, in a letter to Harris and the Contra Costa County civil grand jury.


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Meanwhile, the council is supposed to discuss a draft resolution Tuesday to censure de Vera.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner