Fraser Rec District Board created ‘controversy’ all by itself
July 24, 2008
To the Editor:
Regarding Howard Venezia’s July 17 Letter to the Editor, “Fraser Rec center ‘controversy’ doesn’t exist except on pages of newspaper’,” this letter does a pretty good job of listing the various issues that concern some of us regarding this project and the election.
Unfortunately he doesn’t address the issue which, for me, does the most damage to the board’s credibility: the firing, immediately after the election, of the district’s executive director and the Board’s posture that it was none of the public’s business why. To use Mr. Venezia’s terminology, that action alone filled the valley with “smoke.”
Given the Board’s timing, can there be any doubt that the firing was related to the election? And how does the Board of a public, taxpayer-supported institution come to the conclusion that the reasons behind such a dramatic and suspect action are none of the public’s business?
When the sun eventually shines on this action by the Board, it’s my expectation that what we will see is not going to be a pretty sight.
I think many of us are wondering what the “negotiation” with Cornerstone is all about At the time of the election there was certainly no suggestion that the land donation was buying naming rights to the rec center. It now appears that to some insiders that was such a forgone understanding that the developer feels justified in threatening to renege on the land donation if the district “reneges” on the naming rights. There’s no question in my mind now why the developer was such an enthusiastic financial supporter of the election.
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The potential hotel is a matter for another day and another political entity to deal with but we, as the taxpaying “owners” of this center, should not allow our Rec District Board to leave this facility vulnerable to becoming part of a developer’s commercial hotel project in the future.
As for Ms. Sands, I’m not qualified to pass judgment on the legalities of her potential conflict of interest. I do know, however, that there were many times I would have loved to have had access to the private discussions of those on the other side of the table. Recusing herself from participating in the voting doesn’t seem adequate; she should not have been in the Board meetings at all.
To the extent a “controversy” exists, I believe it has been brought about primarily by the actions of the Board of Directors and their cohorts, not by the newspaper who has, if anything, been too benign on the subject in my opinion.