Recent Land Use Scandals--Feature Article Sidebar

o City of Ontario Senior Planner Albert Cruse pleaded guilty in March to soliciting a bribe from the builder of a drugstore. Cruse offered to set aside a design requirement in exchange for $7,000. o The trial of former Cathedral City Community Development Director Jaime Aguilera was scheduled to begin in late April. Aguilera was indicted by a Riverside County grand jury in March 2000 for allegedly accepting a $5,000 bribe from billboard developers Robert and Cindy Adams. Aguilera, who has pleaded not guilty, allegedly introduced Robert Adams to councilmembers and the city manager, and proposed an ordinance that would have allowed the Adams' billboards. Aguilera, a former planning director in Colton and Moorpark, resigned in June 2000. The Adamses, who also have pleaded not guilty, are awaiting trial. o San Diego City Councilwoman Valerie Stallings resigned from office and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors in January. Federal investigators said Stallings accepted gifts from Padres owner John Moores at the same time she voted on a publicly funded stadium for the baseball team. o Last year, federal authorities wrapped up "Operation Rezone" in the Fresno area after 6 1/2 years. Sixteen local officials and developers were convicted in a scheme of payoffs for favorable zoning decisions. o San Bernardino County Supervisor Jerry Eaves continues to defend himself against multiple charges of criminal activity and willful misconduct while in office. A grand jury indicted him last year for accepting and not reporting gifts from people who had business before the county, including a real estate broker who handled a closed Kmart building that the county leased. The state has taken over prosecution of the case. o San Francisco Housing Authority Director Ronnie Davis resigned in March after an Ohio grand jury indicted him for allegedly taking $300,000 in illegal bonuses while working as chief financial officer for the housing authority in Cleveland. Two days after Davis was indicted, former San Francisco Housing Authority executive Patricia Williams was sentenced to five years in prison for selling federal housing vouchers. Two other housing officials were given to lesser sentences for bribery. o A lawsuit filed by an immigrant rights group alleges that Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido last year approved funding for a redevelopment program that provided fašade improvements for buildings owned by Pulido's business partner. Pulido has denied wrongdoing. o Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission Executive officer Larry Calamine in February agreed not to accept private consulting jobs without the consent of county attorneys and the LAFCO board. Attention was focused on Calamine when the Los Angeles Times revealed that he has collected tens of thousands of dollars from developers for steering projects through the Los Angeles City Hall approval process. o In February, the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that Jacques Barzaghi, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown's top aide, was paid $13,500 for feng shui advice by prominent developer John Protopappas. Barzaghi did not report the income until the Chronicle story appeared. No one has alleged Barzaghi lobbied on behalf of Protopappas, who is a Port of Oakland commissioner