We’ve been tracking the doings of Fullerton City Council member Pam Keller lately, with particular interest in her job as Executive Director of something called the Fullerton Collaborative, an outfit with fairly fuzzy goals whose biggest expense in 2007 was Pam Keller herself.
We’ve gotten a little bit of blow back from some Keller supporters who just don’t seem to understand the problem we’re having with a City Council member who might just be voting on projects whose applicants are also contributors to her Collaborative, and hence, pay for her services.
To help illustrate our point we helpfully provide an example. On their website, the Collaborative lists St. Jude’s Medical Center as a member here . Well, members pay dues, and those dues go to the revenue that pays for an Executive Director. Now let’s say (for the sake of argument) that St. Jude’s had some important business before the City of Fullerton. Oh. Wait. No need to suppose.
In December of 2007 the Fullerton City Council voted to approve a general plan amendment, a zone change, permits, and associated CEQA documents that permitted St. Jude’s to expand on the west side of Harbor Blvd – adding a massive new medical building and a gargantuan parking structure here . The vote was 5-0 (check out pages 5 & 6) – meaning that Keller voted to approve a huge project in an already heavily congested area proposed by a key member of her Collaborative, a member whose contributions that year went into the kitty that paid Keller’s salary. We see that as a huge conflict of interest – even if her relationship might somehow be legalized by the fact that she was really an FSD employee in disguise. The fact that the approval didn’t hang upon Keller’s vote offers us little comfort. What if it had – as in the case of the recent Redevelopment expansion?
If this same type of behavior had taken place with private developers, well, you can see the problems that would arise. Oh. Wait. St. Jude’s is a private developer.