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!
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!