Yesterday we looked at the appointment of Jolene Fuentes to the Planning Commission (PC), and the possible collusion between the Brookfield Boys (Voigts Robinson, and Nick) that put an inexperienced and unqualified applicant on a seat when better qualified, educated, and trained people were available.
Putting aside the abuse of power and the possible violation of the Brown Act, the bottom line in all of this should be “what’s good for the City?” As a result of their “group think” voting patterns, the Brookfield Boys already dealt the Planning Commission a crippling vote when they appointed two relative newcomers with ideological beliefs that could be described as "pro business" to say the least. Although there is nothing wrong with a pro business orientation, surely it should be secondary to a pro City bias, as the more seasoned Commissioners have had to point out at just about every meeting.
In the succeeding months, the PC decisions have been appealed and overturned more times than in the prior 20 years. The Planning Commission has lost years of hard earned credibility, and with the appointment of Fuentes, it sinks to a new low.
Fuentes, on the other hand, appears to be a perfectly nice person and from what people say about her, she is competent within her own sphere and has helped her HOA which everyone knows, is a thankless job. Perhaps she will rise to the occasion. Everyone wishes her well and hopes she’s able to master the complexities of land planning in the next few days. But why on Earth would the Brookfield Boys take a risk of such an enormous magnitude with the future of the city, and at a time when a knowledgeable experienced hand at the helm was sorely needed?
The same rumors that suggested the Brookfield Boys would elect Fuentes 3-2 as they did also claimed that Republican bosses were putting pressure on the newbie city council members, one of whom in fact is employed by Republican Don Wagner. The favors dispensed by Tom Fuentes when he was in charge of Republican politics in OC fell to the tables of Republican heavy weights, especially Party Chairman Scott Baugh who has been a big supporter of The Brookfield Boys.
When Tom Fuentes died last year, his widow contested his seat on the OC Community College District, but lost to a more qualified candidate. It was rumored then that she would seek another public office, and in fact she has. Whether or not this is part of a grand Republican scheme to use our Planning Commission as a launching pad for Fuentes’ political career seems apparent. Unfortunately, the role of the Planning Commission is far too important to be used as anyone’s launching pad, and the harm that can be done while preparing for launch is immeasurable. Think about those space rockets that get launched into space and then think about the pad, which gets disintegrated. Will Fuentes’ appointment wipe out what’s left of our Planning Commission while she moves on to bigger and better things? Stay tuned.
I for one wish her all the best. But I deplore the process that puts her here and I worry for the future of our City. If the Brookfield Boys will sell out the interests of the city to developers for campaign contributions, and bow to their Republican masters to destroy our Planning Commission, what new tricks do they have up their sleeves for the future? Stay tuned.
BTW - am I the only one who worries that our Mayor works for Assemblyman Don Wagner? Are Don Wagner's interests the same as Lake Forest's interests? Imagine if the Offensive Coach for The Lakers also worked as an Assistant to the General Manager of the Sacramento Kings. Here's a topic for another time, but surely worth examining, especially when the Fuentes appointment shows that Republican forces are at work trying to shape the future of our city.