Port Hueneme: Conflicts of interest

drug arial, unhealthy sans-serif;”>ColumnLogo-1By Tom Figg   July 22, unhealthy 2016

At its meeting conducted on Thursday, July 21, 2016, the California Fair Political Practices
Commission (FPPC) ruled that Port Hueneme Councilmember Johnathan Sharkey
violated conflict of interest statutes and was fined $3,000 for the indiscretion. The matter
concerns the appropriation of $1.2 million in City funds for park improvements within 500
feet of Sharkey’s residence. By law, it is presumed that a material financial effect occurs
within this 500-foot threshold unless proven otherwise. Last November, Sharkey voted in
support of these and other assorted capital improvement projects.

This ruling follows on the heels of a similar claim filed against Councilmember Tom Figg
last December. That claim was submitted by Martin Jones, a self-declared supporter of
Sharkey and outspoken critic of Councilmembers Tom Figg and Jim Hensley. In the claim
filed by Jones, Figg was alleged to have voted on a matter concerning the appropriation
of $7,000 for median irrigation improvements within public right-of-way that fall within 500
feet of rental property he owns. The improvements were also included in the FY2015-16
budget that Figg declined to approve.

Unlike Sharkey, FPPC acquitted Figg of any wrong doing. Despite this favorable ruling
(or perhaps because of it and in retaliation therefor), Sharkey filed a new claim with FPPC
earlier this month and broadened the allegations previously raised by Jones. Figg
responded in-kind by supplementing his January complaint to include budgetary
decisions made by Sharkey prior to 2015. Together, the alleged improprieties total $10
million in beneficial impacts to his property.

Meanwhile, former Mayor and Councilmember Murray Rosenbluth assailed Figg for what
he characterizes as “Risky Behavior” (VCS Letter to Editor published July 22, 2016).
According to Figg: “Mr. Rosenbluth characterizes my complaint with FPPC as being a
personal attack against Sharkey. This is not personal, it’s about public accountability.
Mr. Rosenbluth also suggests that my complaint with FPPC violates the terms of a
Process Improvement Plan (PIP) imposed by the City’s insurance carrier. This totally
misrepresents the facts.”

As Figg explains: “My complaint against Sharkey was filed in January, more than three
months before the PIP was imposed by the Joint Powers Insurance Authority. It was
Sharkey who filed a complaint against me two months after the PIP was approved, not
vice-versa. Mr. Rosenbluth’s misrepresentations are not new. He attacks those opposed
to his point of view and those whom he supports regardless of the facts. He demands
civility, yet routinely engages in character assassinations, unsubstantiated allegations
and outright lies. This is a sad commentary for a former Mayor and Councilmember.”

Tom Figg is an urban planning consultant and, former Planning and Redevelopment Manager for the City of Ventura and Community Development Director for the City of Port Huenemeis. He is currently a Port Hueneme Councilman


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William "Bill" Hicks
William "Bill" Hicks
4 years ago

“URBAN PLANNING CONSULTANT” …….Do I hear echo’s of ICLEI and Agenda 21 in that title?