Planning leader under investigation

Commission chairwoman voted on a donor's project and didn't disclose the donation, according to a complaint.

March 16, 2011|By Mona Shadia,
  • Seniors in Colleen Faris' U.S. government class at Brethren Christian in Huntington Beach listen to then-City Council candidate Barbara Delgleize before the November elections. Planning Commission Chairwoman Delgleize is under investigation for voting on a donor's project.
Seniors in Colleen Faris' U.S. government class… (Scott Smeltzer )

The Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating the chairwoman of the Huntington Beach Planning Commission for voting on a donor's project.

Barbara Delgleize accepted $520 from Irvine-based Sares-Regis Group for her unsuccessful 2010 City Council bid, then voted in favor of the company's apartment units and commercial project, according to a complaint Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby filed Feb 16.

"It was a mistake on my part," Delgleize said.

The FPPC responded to Bixby's complaint in a March 8 letter signed by Executive Director Roman Porter, informing him that an investigation was underway.

The 487-apartment units and 14,500-square-foot commercial project at Edinger Avenue and Gothard Street came before the Planning Commission on Feb. 8 and passed unanimously, said Senior Planner Jennifer Villasenor.

Because Delgleize ran for council while serving as a planning commissioner, she is required to recuse herself for a year from voting on any project from an applicant who contributed more than the $250. She was also required to disclose during the February meeting that she received money from Sares-Regis.


"My mistake was that I should have communicated that night that I received a contribution from Sares-Regis," she said.

Delgleize said the campaign management company she hired, Red Zone Strategies, returned contributions of more than $250 made by applicants doing business with the city.

But in this incident, Red Zone, which is owned and run by Sara Hansen, Councilman Don Hansen's wife, missed the mark, Delgleize said.

"I thought we had returned the money," she said.

Aside from assuming that Red Zone had returned the money, Delgleize said she just didn't think about disclosing Sares-Regis' contribution during the February meeting.

"I'll be honest with you, I received a lot of contributions and they don't always come under the name that they are listed as," she said.

Delgleize said she was contacted by the FPPC about this incident and is waiting for the results of the investigation.

She said she will return the money if she's asked to by the FPPC.

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