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Council could rescind crime-fighting allocation

An East Palo Alto councilman's alleged conflict could result in his wife's charity losing a $77,000 grant

A $77,000 grant to an East Palo Alto nonprofit group could be rescinded by the City Council tonight and reallocated to another organization after city officials learned that Council member Larry Moody did not disclose that his wife works for the nonprofit, Mayor Laura Martinez confirmed yesterday.

The council in November approved $163,333 in grants from Measure C funds, which are used to combat crime by developing services for at-risk youths and adults. But Moody did not refrain from voting to give $77,000 to Able Works and New Creation Home Ministries, a Christian group providing services to young mothers ages 13 to 22. Moody's wife, Lisa, is a class coordinator at New Creation, Martinez said.

The council will decide at its meeting Tuesday night if it should start from scratch and pull back the entire $163,333 grant. New grant recipients would be chosen, Martinez said.

The conflict was recently brought to the attention of City Attorney John Nagel and the matter was brought up at the Jan. 7 council meeting. Moody made a statement that indicated his wife's relationship with the ministry, Martinez said.

"We were not aware of this relationship. He really should have removed himself from the process and he should have known better. I hope that we can start the process again so that it is clear and get funding to the nonprofits. The funding has already been held up for months, and hopefully tomorrow night we can move things forward," she said.

Moody did not return requests for comment.

At Tuesday's meeting, council will also provide direction to city staff regarding whether they should study possible outsourcing of police services. Martinez said she doesn't have a position on outsourcing law enforcement, which is already publicly opposed by Council member Ruben Abrica. But the departure of longtime chief Ronald Davis has left the possibility open to consideration.

"If the council does want to look at outside jurisdiction, this is the opportunity to do it," she said. "I respect our police force and I would never want to speak one way or the other until we have heard from the community and our police officers," she said.

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