Madam Mayor and Council members
My name is Michael Gray and I am here today on behalf of Citizens Planning Association of Santa Barbara County.
As you are aware the California Fair Political Practices Commission, a state agency, recently fined a former member of the City’s Architectural Board of Review $3,500.00 for violating the Political Reform Act due to conflict of interest in a project in which he had a financial interest.
Even more recently several members of the ABR abstained from voting on the Chic-Fil-A project because of their personal and political views.
We are aware you have asked the City Attorney to address the members of the ABR with regard to potential conflicts of interest so they will be better informed of their responsibilities. We applaud those efforts you have initiated. However, we think more needs to be done. We believe all members of City Boards and Commissions and city staff should be better trained on a regular basis of their responsibilities to the public which they serve. Historically many board and commission members and city staff have done a good job of ethical practices, but lapses have occurred.
We ask the city to take a serious look at the ABR members’ actions and procedures to ensure unbiased and fair design review process for all those who come before them. This should apply to all Boards and Commissions. There must be a way to assure compliance with the existing Code of Conduct and State and Federal law. We believe Santa Barbara is a very special place and to keep it special we believe there needs to be heightened awareness of ethical practices so the public can continue to have confidence in the way business is done in Santa Barbara.
Thank you for your time and attention.