Edmiston abuses Commission powers

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In January, 1997, I was introduced to Joe Edmiston and his ideas about government.

At a public meeting of the Wildlife Corridor and Conservation Authority (WCCA), he espoused that, “there was plenty of money to finagle if one was just willing to be creative enough.” His example: to preserve wildlife corridor, call it a bike path. There is plenty of money in recreation. The children can use the path during the day, the cats during the evening hours. He also espoused the belief that the proper way to set acquisition priorities was to “first decide what you want” and then “write the scientific studies to support that.”

When the unavailability of the actual 1996 Proposition A to the voters was questioned, even at the polls, Mr. Edmiston’s aide, in his presence, directed that “we” voters did not have the right to see the actual proposition. He did not correct the aide’s assertion.

Joe Edmiston is a Napoleonic Ruler of California. Rules are not for him to follow: they are his to challenge. Through Joint Powers Agreements (JPAs), his kingdom has escaped past the boundaries of the park area he was to protect and administrate. He gains extra powers, formally denied him, by writing the JPAs so that by directing and administering these JPAs, through the Conservancy, Mr. Edmiston assumes the powers of each and every member. His power thus is unconstrained.

Using WCCA, Mr. Edmiston has played a shell game with public money. Without serious critical discussion from the dais (those who question his might are relegated to unimportant nuisance status) at his direction, money intended for local preservation, and right to property not yet owned by the public, was passed from WCCA to the MRCA. On at least one occasion, the 10 million dollars for acquisition (and millions in associated upkeep) were described in a last minute agenda as a janitorial contract.

The private property owner (Boy Scouts of America) was not quick enough. A board member of WCCA alleged illegal activity by the Boy Scouts: the resulting helicopter fly-over film was used in a publicity campaign against the Boy Scouts.The Scouts eventually chose to sell to another buyer. That was not amenable to the Edmiston minions, who went on to sue the Boy Scouts with the intent to have the sale overturned. Eventually, the courts upheld the Scouts’ right to sell to whom they wished. Private property rights were restored. At a great cost.

Should the SMMC/MRCA be allowed to proceed unfettered under Mr. Edmiston’s reign? Common sense would indicate otherwise. Not if we value clarity, common sense and consideration from our government.

Lydia Plunk

Diamond Bar, CA