Viewpoint - June 29, 2011

Letter: 'Undue influence' in Cargill decision-making process?

It is no surprise that the Redwood City Chamber of Commerce was fined by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to disclose that it spent $25,000 to oppose a 2008 local ballot measure that would have restricted development on open space in Redwood City, including the controversial DMB/Cargill salt ponds development. However the real news in that story (DailyNews 6-20-11) was missed.

It turns out that current and former Redwood City Council members Jeff Ira, Jeff Gee, Jim Hartnett and Rosanne Foust are or were Chamber of Commerce board members. Nancy Radcliff, Redwood City Planning Commission member, and John Bruno, a principal of DMB Associates, also serve on the Chamber's board. I doubt it is no coincidence that the Chamber failed to disclose their $25,000 to defeat a measure directly opposed to DMB's interests.

This is now the second time that Redwood City public officials have been either directly or indirectly found in violation of California State Law (the first violation was in 2010 and involved Rosanne Foust). The decision to approve or reject DMB/Cargill's massive development plan for the salt ponds is still pending before the Redwood City Council and Planning Commission. However, the public can no longer trust that they will make a fair and impartial decision free of undue influence.

Marsha Cohen, 7th Avenue, Redwood City


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