The Kings County grand jury issued a report this week critical of a Hanford City Council member, but the report didn’t bother to name that politician.
Not to worry. Francisco Ramirez, elected in 2014, said it’s about him.
The report said he failed to file the correct Fair Political Practices Commission form and knew it, failed to open a bank account for his campaign as required, and misled voters about his academic credentials.
Ramirez said he accepts the first two grand jury findings and is getting the matter straightened out with the state.
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Ramirez said he filed the correct form when he ran for council that said he wasn’t going to raise more than $1,000.
But the grand jury said he collected $1,024 in cash and “in direct contradiction to the councilman’s testimony, donations and gifts-in-kind raised for his campaign were in excess of $3,000.”
Ramirez said the in-kind gifts involved printing but he found out later he had to report it.
“If I had known, I would have reported it at the time,” he said. “We all make mistakes. I take full responsibility.”
The grand jury also said he “misled voters” to believe he had a valid bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Columbia Pacific University.
Ramirez said he received the degrees from the online and correspondence college in 1999 and 2000.
But the grand jury said the college was closed by the courts and degrees earned after 1997 are “not legally valid” in California, and recommended he no longer cite the degrees.
Ramirez said he will drop mention of them from his website and any future campaign materials.
The grand jury said it wants a response from the Hanford City Council. The city clerk said a response will be prepared and put on the council agenda.