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Why would two Planning Commissioners vote against transparency?

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Santa Ana Planning Commissioner Phil Bacerra

Santa Ana Planning Commissioner Phil Bacerra

Why would two Santa Ana Planning Commissioners vote against transparency?  That is what happened at tonight’s Santa Ana Planning Commission meeting when Planning Commissioners Phil Bacerra and Bruce Bauer voted against disclosure of communications by Planning Commissioners regarding agendized projects with third parties such as business owners and residents

Now why in the world would Bacerra and Bauer opt to hide in the shadows?  This is particularly disturbing when you consider that Bacerra was appointed to the Santa Ana Planning Commission by Santa Ana Councilman David Benavides.  You may recall that when Benavides ran for Mayor in 2012 he made transparency the cornerstone of his campaign.  What happened?

Benavides also recently tried to engineer a 700% pay raise for himself and the other Council Members – and he tried to change the city’s campaign finance laws so he could rake in campaign contributions from businesses who are trying to get permits and licenses from the city.  That is just plain nuts!  Benavides essentially tried to make bribes of Council Members legal in Santa Ana.

As for Bacerra, we warned the community about this guy.  He was a paid consultant to the bars in Downtown Santa Ana before he was appointed by Benavides to the Planning Commission.  Bacerra and Benavides, in fact, tried to compel the City Council to allow downtown bars to stay open to 4 in the morning!  How much was Bacerra paid to lobby for that unsafe idea?

Reportedly Bacerra is ticked off that the rest of the Planning Commission has agreed to fill out written reports when they talk to third parties about agendized projects.  So why would Bacerra be opposed to this transparency measure?  You have to wonder if he has been actively trying to undermine or promote agendized projects.  And that begs the question – is Bacerra making money off these projects?

Why Bauer would join Bacerra in these shenanigans is a very good question.  He is an attorney and should know better.  Perhaps Bacerra has snowed him?  Bauer  was appointed by the accidental Council Member, Angie Amezcua.  Maybe he is as naive as she is?

Kudos to Planning Commissioners Eric Alderete and Sean Mill, in particular, for supporting transparency.  The vote tonight was 5-2 for transparency. Only Bauer and Bacerra were opposed.  Shame on them!

Phil Bacerra

The bad news for Bacerra is that tonight’s vote is retroactive.  He is going to have to fess up about what he has been up to since he was first appointed to the Planning Commission.  Ruh roh!  And if he doesn’t he faces censure by his fellow Planning Commissioners.  And perhaps removal from the Planning Commission as a majority of the City Council, from what I hear, is none too pleased by Bacerra’s anti-transparency actions.

Bauer should wise up as well.  Amezcua most likely won’t run for re-election in 2016.  Will any of the other Council Members retain him on the Planning Commission if he has a record of agreeing with Bacerra?  I don’t think so!

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39 Comments  comments 

39 Responses

  1. Seamus MacDuff

    As far as I am aware there has always been a communication disclosure requirement on the Planning Commission agenda. What is different about this one?

    Does the City Council have the same communication disclosure? If not, should they?

    Retroactive is BS.

  2. Seamus MacDuff

    I am saying that it is already a part of every agenda – why do they need another of the same thing?

    What is different about the new one?
    Does the City Council have the same disclosure requirement?
    I am just asking questions in order to have a basis to form an opinion.

    • Seamus MacDuff

      Hey Editor –
      Would you kindly answer my questions?
      You are so eager to call out people for lack of transparency but you won’t answer my questions – or do you not know the answers. Shouldn’t you know the answers before you call them out? So, which is it – you don’t want to answer or you don’t know?

      • This reporting procedure is specific to the Planning Commission. It is a reasonable request.

        • Seamus MacDuff

          If it is so reasonable then why doesn’t it also apply to the City Council? Wouldn’t that be reasonable as well? Everything that goes before the Planning Commission is subject to review and approval by the Council.

          • The City Council has their own reporting procedure.

            We need to know if the Planning Commissioners are meddling with agendized projects. Why wouldn’t you want to know that information?

  3. Vote Alex Padilla in Ward 4

    Transparency is only an issue when it suits Benavides and Becerra. When they can make political hay out of it to attack Pulido they do, but when it comes to their own actions they don’t. They are shady and disreputable.

  4. Seamus MacDuff

    Editor: “The City Council has their own reporting procedure. We need to know if the Planning Commissioners are meddling with agendized projects. Why wouldn’t you want to know that information?”

    Like I’ve asked you several times (and you haven’t answered) – there is already a communications disclosure required – why does the PC need another of the same thing?

  5. Seamus MacDuff

    Editor –

    Do you think that an appointed official of the City of Santa Ana using the logo of the City, names & images of City elected officials and names and images of other elected officials to further their personal business interests is a violation of the Santa Ana Code of Ethics and Conduct?

  6. Anonymous

    Bring in the light. Are these written disclosures?

  7. Anonymous

    I think any appointed or elected official in Santa Ana should be beyond reproach and aspire to the highest ethics possible, particularly in the era of Bell and Cudahy, to name a few. Disclosing who you met with, when, where and what was discussed isn’t too much to ask. Smh.

  8. Follow The $$$

    How sad it must be for supporters of Benavides and Bacerra. These two have put them in a position where they must defend the indefensible. So instead they choose to invent a fairy tale to attack others as a smoke screen.

    Who has Bacerra been talking to? Why do he and Benavides want to keep it secret? When Bacerra discloses compare the list of contacts to David’s campaign donations. Follow the money people, not the smoke screens.

  9. Anon


    Isn’t Mr. Patrick on the planning commission? By the way, I was told that Mr. Patrick is not the principal for Santa Ana Valley! Perhaps you should look into this and find out the scoop! Was he fired? If he was fired, we won’t see any walk-outs from the students!

    • Yes he is. And yes we understand that he was reassigned by the SAUSD. We know the details however suffice to say that the case was a sensitive HR issue. We hear he may go back to working as a school counselor.

  10. carpetbagger

    Wasn’t there a dust up when he was nominated by Benavides about a 701 form?

    Even mayor Pulido granted support because Phil agreed to submit the form, Michele was adamant. I guess that’s what they call in literature foreshadowing!

  11. Glass Half Full

    As someone who wants to look for the best in every situation, there is a bright side for Mr. Bacerra when he is removed from the planning commission in the coming weeks, he can once again “LEGALLY” mooch drinks downtown. As a Planning Commissioner it would be illegal for him to do that and I’m sure he would never think of doing that. WINK, WINK

  12. Seamus MacDuff

    Editor Art Pedroza says:
    “Two Planning Commissioners .. voted against disclosure of communications regarding agendized projects with third parties such as business owners and residents.”

    Disclosure is ALREADY required – it has been on the Planning Commission agenda since the f**king beginning of time. Here is a link to the disclosure form.

    • Why so angry?

      You are correct MacDoofus…It is required and yet Bacerra still refuses to complete the form. What say you a**hole???

  13. Seamus MacDuff

    Retro-activity in a matter like this is unconstitutional.

    Planning Commissioners, and all SA City appointed officials, are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. Those commission members who voted for retro-activity have broken their pledge to uphold The Constitution.

    • You’re nuts with all due respect. Why shouldn’t we know what Phil has been up to since he was sworn in? And you realize that this policy was crafted by the City Attorney? I think she knows what she is doing. Phil should just comply unless he has something to hide?

  14. carpetbagger

    Councilmember Benavides and commissioner Bacerra can thank “sheet metal Mike” for stiring up this mess. Pretty soon this is going to be IMPOSSIBLE for even the VOC to ignore.

    Good going Seamus. David could use all the help lime this he could get.

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