Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A hypothetical exercise

You are a City Council member and have received the following applications for Planning Commission:

Planning Commission Apps

Who would you select and why?


John Clifford said...


Thanks Cal. So did the reason that Jason Rothman's application jumped out at Stephen Atcheley because it was the boldest scrawl? Hard to imagine that this application would pass muster with ANY HR person when presented with the others, especially the one that was actually IN his district.

Anonymous said...

I guess it depends on what I would want from the person that is chosen.
I would assume that Jason Rothman is a rubber stamp of approval of what ever Daddy wants. It is a clear conflict of interest that he was selected. People should be going out of thier minds about this.
If it were me... I would have chosen the holistic Dr. Gupta just for the reason that he might be able to send healing vibes through city hall. What the hell, it couldn't hurt.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

Hands down, my nomination would go to Sergio Palomo. In addition to word processing his application (appearances to matter), he's an architect with impressive experience/expertise on the environmental impact front. Of course, all that expertise -- and presumably the informed perspectives such expertise affords -- could get in the way of politics as usual in our fair city.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

Speaking of appearances... they do matter, not to matter. Sorry!

John Clifford said...

How about Douglass Dorado? He not only has qualifications, but also lives in Atcheley's district. Maybe the Mayor will help out District 6 and appoint him since Councilman Atcheley appointed someone from the Mayor's old district.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see so many applicants interested in improving the city of Pomona.

Hypothetically speaking, unless a highly qualified individual from another district was available, I'd probably first steer toward the applicants from my district, but I'm not a Council member.

I must be a little old school since I don't know that I would consider myself a chemist when I haven't finished my undergraduate studies and my department affiliation is the Biology department.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

Can someone explain committee structure and the role of individual districts in the processes of selection and representation? I'm curious to know more about why districts matter.

Anonymous said...

The "qualifications" of applicants have little, actually nothing, to do with being selected. This is not unique to Pomona....commissioners are selected to further the agenda/vision of the elected official.
Commissioners generally serve at the pleasure of the Council that selects them....and in those cases where a commissioner serves up an opinion which is at odds with the council, well they are often removed.
Conflict of interest as defined under the law simply doesn't apply here....instead, it appears the newly elected officials are simply picking a commissioner that they know will further their views, opinions and agenda.

Anduhrew said...

god, i wish i hadn't looked at that.

calwatch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Clifford said...

POiG, Commissioners are appointed by each of the council people, with each councilperson and the mayor getting one pick. Their terms coincide with the terms of the person who appointed them, so as council changes, so do commissioners. A councilperson is not limited to picking someone from their district, but since it is that councilperson's choice, there is a presumption that they are representing that district on whatever commission they serve.

While anonymous has most of the "facts" right, I believe that most councilmembers try to pick good commissioners. Usually, there are few to choose from since the jobs are a lot of work and there is no pay to go with it. That we've seen some very good, highly qualified, commissioners in the past is testament to the willingness of some members of the community to volunteer and the specific councilperson who is making the choice.

While I completely understand that a councilperson would choose a commissioner who is like-minded, that doesn't mean that they would chose someone who will just "do their bidding." I've not seen much of that in the past at either Planning or the HPC. I HAVE seen some pressure put on commissioners, but, since they're working for free, I don't see them knuckling under.

In all of this, let's at least take this as an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and service that our commissioners provide to the community.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous.... lets say that the Mayor wants to get a kick back payment from a developer.... what better way to get this developers "paid for" project through than your kids vote to add to the majority?
If you read about other greedy and now in jail, mayors & council people (Carson, Compton etc..) this is how they did, what they did, before being caught. It's called graft and Pomona and it's current administration is setting up it's "for sale" sign right before our eyes.

Anonymous said...

I'd think that the meeting with the appointing council-person would mean quite a bit more than the application, just like in a real job.

Anonymous said...

Actually the various commissioners are expected to "do their bidding" - that is simply the way the system is set up. If a commissioner fails to fall in line with the Council, they can and often do, simply appeal the decision and decide for themselves.
In addition, these commissioners are often met with by Council Members prior to decisions to discuss the Council member's wishes.

For example, I believe it was last year in Glendora where a commissioner went public with his opposition to a particular land use position.....the result, he was promptly removed from office.

While it would be great if the most qualified applicants were selected, that is simply not how our system of local government works. I would love to see members of the more important commissions, such as planning, actually be elected officials, but I don't think it will be happening anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way, corruption is nothing new in Pomona. However, it has become much more sophisticated and complex - code for more difficult to prove.

I appreciate the comments about the potential for graft, however it already exists and has for years.

calwatch said...

But with the Jason Rothman appointment, it is more brazen in the past. We all know about the backroom deals, and the council "slush fund" where items just get slapped on the agenda because they have some benefit, however minor, to the public. No attempt was even made to be transparent.

And when for interviews for open council seats, people ask "what have you done for your community", I hope people point to these appointments and note how hard it is to break in. For example, Richard Ceballos, a deputy DA who actually had a Supreme Court case (Garcetti vs. Ceballos) named after him because he did the honorable thing and spoke up about a warrant that had serious misrepresentations, should have been the representative from District 5. He was the most qualified candidate there, yet he was criticized for not contributing to his community (despite putting drug dealers in jail). As far as I know, he has not been appointed to any commission. How can you contribute if you don't get the opportunity to do so?