Renaissance Blob Didn't Always Exist

Earlier today, we wrote about the Renaissance Blob, the strange drawing of boundaries in SanTana's Renaissance redevelopment plan that weaved around properties operated by the families of Mayor Miguel Pulido and councilmember Vince Sarmiento. In a comment, Liberal OC blogger/SanTana planning commissioner Sean Mill wrote he was told by city staffers "that the reason that those properties were left out was so that Vince and Miguel would be able to vote on the plan. If they were included they would have to recuse themselves."

Pulido didn't always have such concerns.

On July 20, 2006, SanTana's Planning and Building Agency published a Notice of Preparation for an Environmental Impact Report for the Renaissance Plan. Included in the packet was the following image of the Renaissance Plan boundaries:

Renaissance Blob Didn't Always Exist

These are the same boundaries still promoted on the website of Moule and Polyzoides, the Pasadena firm contracted by SanTana officials to reimagine its vibrant downtown:

Renaissance Blob Didn't Always Exist

Now, compare the above maps with the current boundaries:

Renaissance Blob Didn't Always Exist

What do the varying plans show? Pulido and Sarmiento's properties were originally part of the Renaissance Plan--and now they're not. If what Mill's source told him is true, and SanTana workers rejiggered the boundaries to eliminate any conflict of interest for Pulido and Sarmiento so they can vote on the Plan, then this is politics at its vilest: politicians working the system to meet their needs. What's worse is that the conflict of interest charge is eliminated by a mere technicality considering Festival Hall (which Sarmiento's family runs) is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from the Renaissance Plan boundaries, while Pulido's muffler shop ain't that far away. ¿Comprende cronyism? Apparently, SanTana politicians do.

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