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Danville Council Candidate Renee Morgan falsely calls herself an architectural designer on the ballot

Original post made by Truthful Ballots for Danville, Danville, on Oct 18, 2012

The following article was in the Contra Costa Times today:

"The Danville town council race has gotten red hot, with opponents of candidate Renee Morgan writing letters, filing online comments and complaining that she misrepresented herself to voters on the ballot.

The ballot describes her job as "Businesswoman/Architectural Designer." Her opponents point out that she is not a licensed architect, and that it is a misdemeanor to describe oneself as an architect or an architectural designer without a license.

Morgan says it is a distraction by her opponents from the real issues.

"This is merely an attempt to create controversy in an election that should stick to the issues," Morgan said. "It is a job description, clearly described by my degree. I never intended to convey that I was an architect nor render services for which that license is required."

Morgan received an "architectural design drafter" diploma from the former Silicon Valley College -- a private career college in Walnut Creek that has had two name changes since Morgan attended in 1999.

Councilman Mike Doyle, who is seeking re-election, said he is concentrating on his own campaign and had no comment on Morgan. but said "I've been in a lot of elections nationally and locally, and this is one of the nastiest I've been involved in."

Maryann Cella, a steering committee member for Save Open Space-Danville, which has been spreading the word that Morgan is not a licensed architect, said Morgan's ballot designation




is "misleading, if not outright defrauding the public."

Save Open Space is a grassroots organization of about 700 people that has thrown its support behind candidates Bob Nealis and Jim Jelincic,

"It's a violation of Business and Professions Code Section 5536 (a) for unlicensed people to call themselves an architect or any derivative of that word," said Hattie Johnson, an enforcement officer for the state Board of Architects.

She said Morgan's diploma doesn't allow her to represent herself as an architectural designer.

According to the Business and Professions Code, unlicensed people who represent themselves as architectural designers can be fined up to $5,000, and/or be sent to county jail. However, Johnson said when her organization receives such a complaint, the violator is asked to stop using the word architect in any job description, and that usually does the trick.

Johnson wouldn't say if complaints have been filed against Morgan.

Morgan has been a town planning commissioner for the past eight years and has been endorsed by incumbent candidates Mayor Newell Arnerich and Doyle in the seven-person race for three seats on the town council in the November election.

Morgan, Arnerich and Doyle have taken similar positions on the SummerHill project, which has become the main issue of the campaign. Project opponents want the people to vote on it under provisions of Measure S -- an open space protection measure passed by Danville voters in 2000.

However, Morgan, Arnerich and Doyle have said that if the developer does not request amendments to the general plan, Measure S is not triggered and no vote of the people is required. Currently, no decision has been made on the project while an environmental impact report is being prepared.

Meanwhile, Morgan's opponents are hammering on the ballot issue.

"It is imperative that ballot designations are true, accurate and not misleading. It's the first line for a fair election." Jelincic said.

"Clearly, (Morgan is) trying to perpetuate a deceit on the voters of Danville, said Nealis. "You can't tell me it's an oversight or an error to call yourself an architectural designer when in fact you're not."

Nealis also took issue with Arnerich's endorsement of Morgan. Arnerich is a licensed architect. "It's particularly ironic that he's endorsing someone who is claiming to be a licensed professional in a field that he's in."

"What I see is she put down a job description," Arnerich said. "If they didn't think that Renee didn't have a chance of winning, they wouldn't be doing this."

The two other candidates in the race, Lori Hock and Deanna Sullivan, did not return phone calls on the matter."

Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at

Copyright 2012 Contra Costa Times. All rights reserved.

Comments (28)

Posted by No on Election Fraud
a resident of Danville
on Oct 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

A drafter is not an architect, Renee. Own up to your dishonesty. You left off the word "drafter" from the ballot because you wanted to impress the voters with false claims.

Moreover, you are still misleading! You don't even mention being a drafter on your own campaign website. Your recent (August) LinkIn account said you were a realtor at Keller-Williams realty in Danville, and a former developer employee. Now you have deleted that account. Why are you continuing to try to mislead the public? Say who you are!

Posted by Voter
a resident of Danville
on Oct 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm

She needs to immediately announce she is dropping out of this election. This is Danville, where the voters are college educated(real colleges, not the alleged college she attended that has already changed names twice since she attended) and intelligent enough not to be fooled by her misrepresentations, and her blatant attempt to lie about her license reflects badly on our community, and reflects badly on the incumbents who endorsed her. If she actually has integrity, as she claims in all those tacky signs she has put up all over town, she needs to do the right thing and drop out of the race now.

Posted by Honesty is #1
a resident of Danville
on Oct 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm

[Portion removed due to repetitive post by same poster]

Voters, please save us from the likes of Renee Morgan---if she is dishonest now, imagine what she will be like when she gets the reins of power...

Posted by Where is the passion?
a resident of Danville
on Oct 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I regret signing the petition. The focus of save the frogs became more about a personal agenda for a few at the top that use the misguided petition to show power. I know these people from the schools we attend. They have changed so much. They are now very aggressive representing Summerhill. I wish it was driven by passion. This entire election game of calling the papers to get a rise is so obvious. I guess my commenting buys into the game.

Posted by Nancy
a resident of Danville
on Oct 20, 2012 at 9:47 am

I do not know Ms Morgan but what she did IS a big deal. We all take great care in preparing our resumes and passing this off as a job description is insulting, and fodder for her tree hugging detractors.
This is how Joe Biden started his political career.

Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Oct 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Keep in mind that Renee has "fellow travelers" and they should be booted from office too.

Posted by Voter
a resident of Danville
on Oct 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Contra Costa Times today endorsed Bob Nealis, not the fake architect Rene Morgan.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 7:57 am

I just don't understand in this day and age how someone could not properly vet their own campaign ads. In this day and age with access to the internet there will always be someone smart enough to actually look something up and check it out. If you are not 100% honest and accurate you will be exposed. To do what she did shows character flaw and playing recklessly with the truth. I for one don't want this type of my Town Council.

Posted by Wake-up Danville
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 9:05 am

It is a shame how faceless people post comments.I,for one,did not want to comment on this article but felt compelled to after reading the 'obvious' comments from candidates that USED the media to get such junk published!
These people are trying to take credibility away from the real candidates who made this Town what it is today!
And Who is this Cella Person?Save our Creeks or Save our Creeps?
A Political Organization endorsing Nealis and Jelencic?
Wake up Danville!!
I would NEVER Vote for NEALIS or JELENCIC!They are the nameless,faceless who have done NOTHING for Danville but create Trouble!

Posted by Voter
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 9:36 am

To "Wake up Danville", by "creating trouble", you mean "trouble" for the incumbents who took political donations from developers and refuse to follow the law that requires us residents to vote on this development, and "trouble" for Ms. Morgan by falsely claiming a title she does not have? "The trouble" Mr. Nealis has created is demanding that the law be followed and that us residents vote on this huge development that is next to several schools, a fire department, and two senior citizen retirement homes. Yes, following the law and having us residents vote is the exact "type of trouble" we need!

Posted by Embarrassed
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 9:37 am

The comments I'm reading all seem to be coming from people passionate about ruining people instead of focussing on real issues and differences between candidates that will affect the quality of our town. Miss Morgan may, or may not have intentionally misrepresented herself...and the comment above about getting a degree from a "real" college is demeaning and plain mean. I dislike being from a town that appears to outsiders and insiders as pompous, righteous, and snobbish. Most of the comments above are perpetuating that ugly persona. To say that Miss Morgan's signs are "tacky" is tacky in itself. I personally like her signs and all of the other candidates for that matter. I also know that one candidate (or their representative) illegally put their sign up on my lawn, and another (possibly that same candidate) removed the sign of the person I am supporting. It's just becoming a plain ugly town full of people that are good at hurting others for their own gain.

Posted by Rocky
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 9:49 am

I have lived in Danville for 33 years and I feel very fortunate to have hard working and knowledgeable people representing our community. This election is about the issues, and not about the mud slinging that is coming out of supporters of certain candidates. Renee Morgan is a very intelligent and devoted public servant, her time on the Planning Commission shows her commitment to our community. I support Renee Morgan for Council.

Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

I love it...

That's why we are NOT a City...The folks in beautiful Alamo can the writing on the wall.

Keep all those ego's in Danville...

Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini from beautiful Alamo.

Posted by tom
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

Just what we need, the bitter divisive national politics coming to our hometown election. Neallis, Jelencic and Morgan have all lost my votes. They only have themselves to blame

Posted by JRM
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Oct 22, 2012 at 11:31 am

Can someone educate me as to the Planning Comission's role in approving the "improvement" of the Northeast corner of Railroad and Linda Mesa? Wow, that new modern 2 story structure tucked in behind the historic renovated home is simply awful. Is this type of development the sort that we have to look forward to in the future?

Posted by Mike J
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 11:48 am

The first thing I noticed about this "story" was the headline. I immediately realized that it was posted not by an authentic news source but by another candidate, i.e. an opponent of Ms. Morgan's. So immediately its credibility should be questioned.

To me, this smacks of what's wrong with American politics today: the tendency to focus on "gotcha" themes instead of genuine issues. If you want to debate Ms. Morgan's positions on the issues important to Danville residents, or if you want to discuss her approach to problem-solving, then I'm all for it. But please, fellow Danville residents, do not allow yourselves to be dragged into pettiness.

Posted by Dan R
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm

What the article fails to point out is that it is only a misdemeanor if you use the title to directly obtain work in that field.


The ballot questionaire did not ask for her job title - it asked for her job description, which she accurately provided. "Draftsmen" is not a term generally used anymore, and that would not fit her job description anyways, as she is probably someone who legally does smaller jobs or works for licensed architects.

I don't know Renee Morgan at all, but I do know the stupid Save our Creeks people should be ashamed. Stop trying to force your agenda on the rest of us. There are other issues important to the town that your candidates are not prepared for.

Posted by Betsy K.
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Yeah Julia, you just stay where you are in Alamo. Maybe one of your neighbors in your "beautiful" Alamo will murder you too in your driveway! Or, if it doesn't go that far, they'll just tell everyone what an awful person you were after you died and how you deserved it.

And by the way, we're a town, not a city. And what does that have to with anything? At least we control our own destiny. You have to rely on Martinez - ha, ha. And what is that sorry excuse you have for a downtown? Please do not come to our 4th of July Parade, use our town activities, our library, or our parks. Just stay on your side of Stone Valley, and we'll just cross Alamo while happily driving by at 70 on 680.

Posted by concerned voter
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

To Dan R-
Please get the facts straight. I have two items for you to consider.

First, the ballot designation form that each candidate must complete says "To the best of my knowledge and belief, the above-requested ballot designation(s) represent my true principal profession(s), vocation(s), and/or occupation(s) and that I am entitled to use as my ballot designations pursuant to (SEC)13107 of the California Elections Code." That doesn't sound like it is asking for a job description as you claim.

Second, the California Practice Act (under the Business and Professions Code) states it is a misdemeanor " advertise or put our any sign, card or other device that might indicate to the public that he or she is an architect, that he or she is qualified to engage in the proctice of architecture, or that he or she is an architectural designer."

Do you still claim she is not being honest according to those standards? If so, tell me where I am wrong.

Posted by CM
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Betsy K, you are the type of person that "Embarrassed" is talking about. Please leave your negativity out of a public forum. It is not the type of response I want any prospective buyers, our children, or any other person to associate me with. Since you live in my town, I'm associated with you and your opinion. Please, anyone interested in showing juvenile tendencies by mudslinging, verbally attacking, or being demeaning... keep your opinions to yourself. If we want Danville to be all it can be, we should be uplifting and come together as a community. Tearing each other apart tears us all apart.

Posted by Jane
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Ever wonder why "good" people don't run for office? Just read the earlier comments. I'm tired of the local hidden agendas, personal attacks, etc., for those who DO toss their hat in the ring. If you critics are all so perfect, why aren't your names on the ballot? What have you done to further the advancement of Danville? Did you attend the Chamber lunch to listen to all of the candidates? If you did, you'll probably be able to make an informed decision, based on a candidate's competence & skill set (or not), vs. tearing down a candidate to further your own agenda. Sorry to burst your bubble, but your focus is not the same as that of the majority of the voting Danville public - who could care less about Magee Ranch, the creek, etc. I don't know Renee Morgan, but she has spent 8 years (that's EIGHT) on the Danville planning commission, which gives her more insight into the workings of the town than the other "newbies." Dedicating that amount of time to the town - for what gain? - is worth something (unless, of course, she has voted against your agenda). Stop complaining & make a positive contribution.

Posted by danvillerules
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm

CM, you're an idiot. I thought Betsy was funny, and she sure didnt' start the negativity. That would be Julia. And what is this "come together and be uplifting" crap. Are you for real? Do you know the whole reason for this thread is for a bunch of yahoos from save our creek to tear down a qualified candidate for no valid reason. She should withdraw because they THINK she overstated her career (which she didn't). And you can all say there is a valid reason, but there isn't. So don't bother.

Posted by Wally
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm

"concerned voter" (or save our creek spokesman, whoever you are) -

Dan R's facts are straight. It is you who is trying to make an issue out of nothing. She's not advertising. It's her accurate job description.

If you're so sure of her guilt, then complain to the board and let them decide. But you won't because you'll just take the easy way out by anonymously trying to take her down. Pathetic.

Posted by Save our sanity
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm

How many pseudo names does Maryann Cella have on this thread. She doesn't even live in Danville. Stop telling us what to do. There are more important issues.

Posted by CM
a resident of Danville
on Oct 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Dear Danvillerules,
I am for real. And Julia and Betsy aren't funny. And I investigated Renee Morgan's credentials and I think she's great... and I'M voting for her! I think you misread or misunderstood my intention. It's ugly to see all of this political mudslinging and I don't like to be associated with people who participate, but since I live in Danville, I don't have a choice. I'm just trying to persuade people to increase our town's reputation by using intelligent means of enlightening the public. So for anyone not sure of who Renee Morgan is or what she claims, please read all of her campaign material. She doesn't claim that she's a Design Architect in any of her previous public statements. She's forthright and operating above the rest.

Posted by resident
a resident of Danville
on Oct 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

To CM,

You will not find her claiming to be an "architectural designer" on any of her campaign material because she realized her false claim was being uncovered. However, chaeck out the ballot when you recevie one. That is where she claerly says she is one and that is the deception. Apparently there are many people on this site who will chose to ignore that her blatant attempt to mislead voters. So much for her integrity and your willingness to support someone who will do whatever it takes to get the vote. Certainly you must question her character and what this type of person might do once in office.

Posted by concerned voter
a resident of Danville
on Oct 23, 2012 at 7:51 am


I don't know what language you are using, but a "profession, vocation and/or occupation" is not a job description. Any one of those three is a statement of what your job is and a job description lays out what you specifically do in the job.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Diablo Vista Middle School

on Jun 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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