The Empty Seat

In military air forces they have what’s known as the Missing Man Formation – an aerial salute to reflect the loss of one of their members.

Which way did he go?
Which way did he go?

The Fullerton redevelopment Agency now has it’s own Missing Man, Shawn Nelson, who has had to recuse himself many times because of a financial interest in a downtown bar.  Now, it seems, his financial stake in the building that the bar is located in, is preventing him from participating in any Redevelopment activity at all. At least that’s the appearance. He recused himself at last night’s meeting twice. The second time was on the disastrous Richman housing project in which a critical voice of reason was much needed.

Well, enough is enough. It’s clear that Nelson has placed his own interests ahead of the citizens of Fullerton. It’s time Shawn formally resigned from the Redevelopment Agency Board and let the City Council appoint a replacement who can actively particiapte in all of the Agency’s business.

27 Replies to “The Empty Seat”

  1. draw me a totally sad face. I so wanted to believe Nelson sincerely desired curing fullerton’s crooked politics. I did have twinges of doubt and queasy stomach when Nelson and Quirk stopped their adversarial relationship and became council chums. The indomitable human spirit keeps me looking for a decent person who will ethically clean up this immoral town.

    1. I don’t understand why Nelson could not vote on a project damn near a mile away from his downtown investment.

  2. Good post, admin. I too have been watching with dismay as Nelson has recused himself time and time again on downtown issues. Whether or not he truly had a conflict or was just told he had one by staff, or just told others he had one to doge a vote, I don’t know. But there are supposed to be five members of the redevelopment Agency, not four.

    Of course if the council chose a replacement you can bet they’d settle on some idiot like Marty Burbank so maybe we’re better off with only four de facto members!

  3. Nelson has done consistently good work on the City Council, no matter what your political persuasion (left-right-blithering, etc.). He brings precision (legal training) and business acumen to the discussion of each issue under consideration.

    I’m going to continue to trust that his decision to recuse himself is legitimate and well founded.

    That his voice is sorely missed, when he opts out of any important decision, is agreed.

    He would do a good service to take the time to explain the meaning and purpose of recusal, even in a vague or generalized way (i.e. not necessarily disclosing any particulars of his own investment portfolio). to help us understand why a decision regarding a multi-family housing property miles away, involves or impacts his downtown bar.

  4. Nelson is allowed to get up and give his thoughts during the public comment portion and then recues himself from the council motion, second, discussion, and final vote. The decision to NOT speak says more about his recusal more so than the recusal itself.

  5. Hold the phone! I thought Shawn Nelson was the Great White Hope for Conservatives, whom everyone has to back for Supe or else risk a severely critical tongue lashing from this group?

    Bushala is already turning on Nelson? This is like reading about the French Revolution and seeing who’d be sent to the guillotine next.

  6. Quite a shame to have Nelson’s voice missing from this one. He may not have been able to stop the Three Stooges from voting to squander RDA millions on this wrong-headed project, but at least we might have heard another voice of reason to accompany Sharon Quirk-Silva’s proper skepticism. Clarification of Shawn’s recusal issue is in order or he risks his base of support eroding quickly.

  7. Nobody is “turning” on anybody. I’ve never even voted for the guy, although he now seems to be the best of the bunch by a wide margin.

    However Nelson has some serious explaining to do about taking a powder on important decisions. You can’t skate by by making two or three good votes per year and stay on anybody’s good side.

    Come on Shawn, let’s hear from you!

  8. Alright Friends, here goes:

    In short, about three years ago I loaned money to the owner of the Continental to buy out his partner. I was first told by counsel this did not create a conflict but AFTER the money had been placed in escrow I was told it was a problem. I then got my own attorney and it turns out I can have conflicts, however, not based upon a radius of how far something is from the property.

    Bottom line is it is a conflict for me to vote on anything that would result in a direct expense to the business I loaned money to in excess of $5,000 or that could reasonably affect revenue of that business up or down $20,000 in a given year. That was what has been my circumstance for the last three years. In the case of housing developments I have a good idea given my background as to how to analyze the net affects and have not recused myself from those votes (other than when Haluza claimed the FPPC was investigating me which turned out to be bull). I have not voted on the train center development mainly due to the fact that its character is undefined and, as a result, I have no idea how to analyze the potential impact on the business I made the loan to.

    If, for example, a concert venue was built there (one has been) contemplated, I admit I have no idea how to do this analysis. As a result I have recused myself from these votes when they have come up.

    Now fast forward to present day.

    The note on the building came up in notices for a foreclosure sale. Since I have zero collateral for my loan (one of the conditions to allow me to limit the conflict in the first place) I joined in and bought it. My same lawyer, Jim Sutton of San Francisco, is preparing an analysis of what conflicts this will and wont create. He tried like heck to get it complete by Tues nights meeting but called me at 6:15 and could not get finished with an important portion of it.

    Despite the fact that I love and appreciate all of you I could not risk violating the law on Tuesday so I sat out. I expect to get the opinion shortly and will be glad to share once I do.

    Meanwhile the whole issue of owning the mortgage looks to be short term and may very well be history by the next council meeting in mid January.

    A lot of boring details left out but generally this is whats going on.

    Finally, as to #6 Greg’s comments. Unfortunately I am not allowed to get up and speak at the public mic on any issue I recuse myself on or attempt in any way to influence the vote. It would be nice to do. I learned this because I thought of doing it as well as writing an op ed piece.

  9. Thanx for the explanation Shawn. It’s a shame your “friends” assume the worst and start firing away at you without bothering to ask you for an explanation.

    1. Nobody “assumed the worst” you nitwit, Cannibal. We want Nelson to participate in Redevelopment decisions – and he has missed a bunch of big ones in the past several years.

      The current situation may or may not be over in january, but the underlying problem still remains. When I asked for an explanation from Shawn (and I thank him for coming on line here) it was not to learn about the details on his investments (which are none of our business) but to find out why he thinks its a good thing to have to recuse himself on so many important votes.

      Now scuttle back into your repuglican hole you varmint.

    2. I don’t know what kind of a friend you are BoC, but a I suspect a bad one. Real friends let their buddies know when something ain’t right. They don’t gloss over it. If you want that sort of “friendship” go hang out at Cunningham’s blog – which is probably where you came from, I’ll bet.

      1. Of course real friends let their buddies know when something ain’t right.

        But that ain’t what you did.

        You publicly accused your buddy of putting his personal interest ahead of the public interest, without bothering to ask him his side of the story before hand. You were more interested in something to blog about, than in finding out what the deal was.

        A real friend would have called his buddy and asked what he needed to ask, then decided if it was worth publicly accusing his pal of nonfeasance.

        1. And how do you know if admin didn’t call his buddy? You don’t do you? The details of this weren’t important. What’s important are all the missed votes.

          In any case, Shawn was elected (by us) to serve on the Redevelopment Agency – not to constantly recuse himself. His financial entanglements are his business – not ours. Our business is all the missed votes on downtown issues – and now perhaps on all anything to do with Redevelopment at all.

          Unlike the stooges at local political blogs FFFF holds even their friends responsible for what they do. And that’s why a lot of folks like coming here.

        2. I already “knew what the deal was” when we posted that, you idiot. And I didn’t like it.

          Now go back to Brown Klownty.

          1. Don’t like it if you don’t want to. That’s not my point. Nelson gave you an explanation, and you didn’t relay it to readers and accused him of putting his interest ahead of the public’s. But it sounds to me like he’s just trying to be conscientious of conflict-of-interest laws. I thought you guys would applaud that.

            Holding friends responsible is great. Too bad the only way you guys know how to do it is to bash them over the head and accuse them of being bad public servants.

  10. Beware of Cannibals :Don’t like it if you don’t want to. That’s not my point. Nelson gave you an explanation, and you didn’t relay it to readers and accused him of putting his interest ahead of the public’s. But it sounds to me like he’s just trying to be conscientious of conflict-of-interest laws. I thought you guys would applaud that.
    Holding friends responsible is great. Too bad the only way you guys know how to do it is to bash them over the head and accuse them of being bad public servants.

    What a tool. Nelson misses a bunch of important votes where the public got SCREWED. And we’re supposed to be impressed by how conscientious he is about observing conflict of interest laws?

    That was the whole point of this point. Now please slither off.

  11. Say Cannibal here’s the point of this post:

    “It’s time Shawn formally resigned from the Redevelopment Agency Board and let the City Council appoint a replacement who can actively particiapte in all of the Agency’s business.”

    What part of that don’t you get. You seem bent on changing the subject.

  12. Beware of Cannibals :Hardy har har! You don’t care why something happens, you just want to get mad that it happened!

    We know why “it” happened. It happened because Nelson got into an “investment” entanglement that he hasn’t divested himself of. Instead he seems to have gotten in even deeper. And that sure looks like he’s putting himself ahead of the people that elected him – regardless of the lengthy explanantions that are, of course, irrelevant to the issue.

    We know that you are friends with Nelson, admin. Thanks for the post.

  13. It seems to me that Nelson knew it would be in his best interest to “make an investment” in a redevelopment property so he could recuse himself from all of the tough votes.

    Trying to fill the BOS seat of the anti-redevelopment icon that is Chris Norby would not be easy if he voted in favor of redevelopment projects on the city council.

    It was an easy way for him not to contradict himself on the dias after voting FOR the Richman project years ago! How could he vote for the project way back then and subsequently change his vote now that he was running a campaign for another seat that was previously filled by Norby?

    To me it looks like he was trying to weasel his way out of looking like a fool and his advisors told him to lend some cash to a downtown bar and he would get off scot-free.

    1. Nobody on this site has accused Nelson of that, “Supe View.”

      Now you can go back to overtly campaigning for your boy Tom Daly!

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