The City of Beaumont, under the direction of City Manager Alan Kapanicas and Urban Logic (the City’s contracted consultants for Planning, Public Works and Economic Development), has consistently belittled, threatened and intimidated citizens who speak out against City actions, policies and contracting practices. Instead of remembering that they are there to serve the residents of Beaumont, the consultants who run City Hall (and have made millions doing so) appear to be more interested in padding their own pockets than protecting the rights of citizens.

Alan Kapanicas and Urban Logic maintain their ability to extract money from the taxpayers of Beaumont by restricting public access, intimidating detractors and threatening those who dare speak out against them. Urban Logic principals have repeatedly belittled and humiliated members of the public who have spoken in opposition to projects supported by Urban Logic (and which Urban Logic principals would personally profit from if approved). Citizens who have questioned the legality of Urban Logic’s contract with the City have been yelled at in public meetings, been sent threatening letters, and have been sued. Urban Logic has clearly forgotten that, although they are a private company, they are working in a public capacity and are there to serve the residents.

 Definition of a SLAPP suit:
SLAPP is an acronym for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” This refers to lawsuits filed without merit against an activist or group to chill their actions and draw effort away from their cause by forcing them to defend themselves against the suit. The suits are filed to retaliate against critics (claiming libel or slander or restraint of business for example) or to intimidate the person(s) into silence.

Slapp-backs are lawsuits filed by a defendant against the person(s) who filed the original SLAPP suit. Many states, including California, have passed anti-slapp statutes providing for speedy hearings and the possibility of recovering legal fees and punitive damages. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §425.16.

In late 2006 the local citizen group Cherry Valley Acres and Neighbors (CVAN), which had been voicing concern over the operation of the Beaumont Wastewater Treatment Plant and Urban Logic’s contract to operate the plant, received a letter from Urban Logic which threatened legal action against CVAN if they continued to question and criticize Urban Logic. The letter characterized the questioning by members of the public as “harassment” and claimed that Urban Logic may incur monetary damages as a result of the public scrutiny. In the letter Urban Logic threatens CVAN members by saying, “Please rest assured that we will take any and all necessary actions to hold such individuals and groups personally responsible, including seeking compensation for monetary damages if these efforts are not curtailed immediately.”

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, Urban Logic served Beaumont Citizens for Responsible Growth with a lawsuit which sounds almost identical to the complaints contained in the letter to CVAN.