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The FPPC rules on the question of conflict of interest of the mayor of Arcata

Friday, April 1, 2022

The FPPC rules on the question of conflict of interest of the mayor of Arcata





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By Kimberly Porter
to Fri 1 Apr 2022 at 2:17 p.m.



Click to enlarge

  • Submitted
  • Part of the Arcata Gateway area.

The Fair Political Practices Commission has formally notified Arcata Mayor Stacy Atkins-Salazar and the city that she has a financial conflict of interest that prohibits her from participating in decisions regarding the proposed Gateway Area Plan.

Atkins-Salazar had previously voluntarily recused herself from discussions due to the fact that she owned a residence and business directly across from a boundary of the 138-acre area targeted for high-density residential infill and use-use development. mixed.

“I am disappointed that I cannot participate in the Gateway Area Plan as a decision maker, however, I understand why the FPPC ruled the way it did,” she said in a city press release. “The Gateway Area Plan is an important planning process that will have lasting effects on our city and it is important that it is done correctly, including avoiding legal issues such as conflicts of interest.”

The FPPC concluded that the Political Reform Act prohibits Atkins-Salazar from participating in decisions about the plan “because it is reasonably foreseeable that such decisions would have a disqualifying material effect on his company’s interest in its real property.” “.

In February, Atkin-Salazar cited her recusal as one of the reasons she felt the urgency of holding a special election in June to fill a vacant seat on the Arcata city council, saying that leaving important decisions about the plan to just three board members while it was at this time when she was awaiting word from the FPPC was a “heavy lift”.

Read the statement from the town of Arcata below:

Arcata, Calif., April 1, 2022 – The City of Arcata is receiving advice from the Fair Political Practices Commission regarding Mayor Atkins-Salazar’s financial conflict of interest. The Town of Arcata has received a ruling from the Fair Political Practices Commission confirming that Mayor Stacy Atkins-Salazar has a conflict of interest in making decisions about the Gateway Zone plan, as she owns both a primary residence and a business within 500 feet of the walkway area. Frontier. The Town of Arcata has initiated a planning process focused on residential and mixed-use development in a specific region of the town of approximately 138 acres known as the “Gateway Zone”. It implements a measure in the housing element of the city’s general plan to allow infill residential development in an area that was historically used for mixed and industrial purposes, and will result in the city council adopting a “area plan”, called the “Gateway Area Plan.” This planning effort was first launched at the end of 2019 when the city council adopted the city’s current housing element of its general plan which included a specific measure mandating the creation of the “area plan specific to Arcata Gateway, which will include [a] Forms-based code that enables high-density padding development.

Below is the conclusion of the Fair Political Practices Commission.

QUESTION: Does Mayor Stacy Atkins-Salazar have a conflict of interest that would prevent her from participating in City Council’s decision regarding the Skywalk Area Plan?

FINDING: Mayor Atkins-Salazar is prohibited by law from participating in decisions relating to the plan of the catwalk area because it is reasonably foreseeable that such decisions would have a disqualifying material effect on her company’s interest in its real property , located in front of the footbridge. Area Plan Boundary.

Regarding the decision, Mayor Atkins-Salazar said, “I am disappointed that I cannot participate in the Gateway Area Plan as a decision maker, however, I understand why the FPPC ruled the way it did. The Walkway Area Plan is an important planning process that will have lasting effects on our city and it is important that it is done correctly, including avoiding legal issues such as conflicts of interest. »

Additional Background Sections 87100 and 87103 of the Act prohibit a public official from taking, participating in taking, or otherwise attempting to use his or her official position to influence a government decision if it is reasonably foreseeable that the decision would have a significant financial impact. effect on one or more of the official’s financial interests, distinct from the effect of the decision on the general public. Mayor Atkins-Salazar and her husband own real estate outside and across from the boundary of the Gateway Zone project, within 500 feet of the boundary of the Gateway Zone. She lives there where she also owns and operates a dance studio business as a sole proprietor.

Tags: Gateway Area Plan, Mayor Stacy Atkins-Salazar, Arcata, FPPC, Political Reform Act, conflict of interest, Image