Monday, August 06, 2007

Who Is Diane Harkey Really Serving?

Last weekend, Diane Harkey found herself in a little bit of trouble. The Dana Point Mayor is now facing a grassroots campaign to recall her out of office. And if this recall effort were to succeed, how would she keep raising money and raising her profile to hop on over to Sacramento?

But wait, what's wrong with this picture? Is it these people in Dana Point going after Diane Harkey? Or is it Diane Harkey's activities? And who is the Dana Point Mayor really serving? Is it the people of Dana Point, or is it something else? Maybe her campaign finance report can help us figure out the real answer here.

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(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)

So who is Diane Harkey really serving? Well, maybe this can help us find the answer. Already as I've been looking through this report, I immediately began spotting clues:

- William Brough gave Harkey $250. He's the husband of Michelle Brough, a recent resident and renter (not a property owner) in Dana Point, who replaced long standing Planning Commissioner April O'Connor. She's a protege of Assemblywoman Mimi Walters, and she was part of a "purge" engineered by Harkey to replace old-timers in city government with Harkey loyalists. The contribution was made within a few weeks of Michelle's appointment.

- CR and R gave Harkey $2,500. They're the waste hauling company that has an exclusive contract with the City of Dana Point as a result of Harkey's opposition to a competitive bid contract.

- Lisa Bartlett gave the maximum $3,600. She's a recently elected member of the Dana Point City Council who was elected with Harkey's support. I bet she's quite grateful for Harkey's help in getting elected to city council... And receiving Harkey's blessing to be the next mayor once Harkey is sent packing to Sacramento.

- Joel Bishop gave the minimum reportable contribution of $100 through his company. He's a recently elected member of the Dana Point City Council who was also elected with Harkey's support.

- Liz Fitzgerald gave the minimum reportable contribution of $100. a Dana Point Planning Commission who kept her job after April O'Connor was purged. The contribution was made within a few weeks of the purge of April O'Connor.

- Robert Theel gave Harkey $1,000. He's a developer with frequent business before the Dana Point City Council in Town Center. I guess this is "pay back" for all the hard work Harkey has done for him on the council.

- Barratt American Inc. gave the maximum $3,600. They're a foreign-owned real estate development company that has expressed interest to the city staff in developing the current open space parkland owned by the City of Dana Point on Via Canon.

- Inland Group and Pacer Group both gave $2,500 each. They're real estate developers.

- Employees of "Point Center Financial" gave several hundred dollars. This company is a secondary market mortgage lending company that's owned by the Harkey family.

Now isn't this all precious? All of these lovely folks are giving to Diane Harkey's Assembly Campaign? Hmmm... I wonder what they're receiving in return.

Let's see. C R and R got the no-bid contract. Lisa Bartlett and Joel Bishop got their city council seats. William Brough got his wife on the planning commission. Robert Theel is getting in on the Town Center development. You know what this all sounds like to me? This sounds like Diane Harkey is enagaging in a serious game of "Pay to Play".

So wait, what's wrong with this? This means that Diane Harkey is selling her services to the highest bidder, and this means that she will forsake the best interest of Dana Point residents if that conflicts with what her special interests desire. And you know what? This isn't what the Mayor of Dana Point should be doing. Diane Harkey should be serving the people of Dana Point, NOT outside special interests seeking to "buy politicians" to do their bidding.

Maybe this is why a group of Dana Point residents committed to doing what's best for their community has begun this effort to recall Diane Harkey as Dana Point Mayor. Thanks to the Mayor's corrupt practices, residents don't know if they can trust the city to do what's best for them. All they see is money going into the hands of greedy politicians, and favors coming out of the government run by these greedy politicians. This isn't the way politics should work.

This isn't what the residents of lovely Dana Point deserve.

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