When they don't involve elected officials going apeshit at local gadflies, news headlines coming out of Huntington Beach's City Hall usually involve corruption. It's just something in the air, or maybe the water they drink over there.
The trend first asserted itself with mayor Dave Garofalo, who pleaded guilty back in 2002 to a felony conflict-of-interest charge for voting on matters that benefited him financially. Even after that conviction, Garofalo continued to act shady, as Anthony Pignataro reported here. Then it was mayor Pamela Houchen, who, as the Weekly was the first to report, used her real-estate business to illegally convert apartments into condominiums, which eventually landed her in federal prison. Even current Surf City Mayor Joe Carchio graciously continued this grand tradition.
Now comes word that Barbara Delgleize, who, like Houchen, is in the real-estate industry and is serving as chairwoman of Huntington Beach's planning commission, is being investigated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for voting to approve a project being proposed by a political donor. State law, of course, says that elected officials can't do that kind of thing. Instead, they have to recuse themselves from any vote in which they or their campaign contributors could benefit financially.
The vote in question occurred on Feb. 8, when the City Council unanimously green-lit 487 apartments and 14,500 square feet of commercial space to be built at the intersection of Edinger and Gothard Streets, as first reported yesterday in the Huntington Beach Independent. Problem was, Delgleize had accepted $520 from the project's developer, the Sares-Regis Group, during her unsuccessful run for a council seat last year.
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Delgleize told the Independent that she didn't know she had done anything wrong and would return the cash if the FPPC tells her to. The FPPC isn't exactly known for speedy investigations, so don't hold your breath waiting to see if that happens.