Taxpayers shouldn't bail out council member
Porterville City council member Greg Shelton has found himself in hot water once again, the second time in less than six months.
This time, the council member is under suspicion for purchasing land within the city’s redevelopment zone which is clearly a violation of state law and one that is punishable by removal from public office.
However, because redevelopment was basically eliminated by the state late last year, there is a question if he did indeed violate the law since the purchase of land would be a moot point if redevelopment no longer exists.
However, the city still has the established area designated and the city continues to own land that was originally purchased by the redevelopment agency and the city has a successor agency overseeing redevelopment projects, including what to do with the old Porterville Hotel.
Also, the law has not been made invalid and it clearly states that an officer of a city or a city employee cannot purchase any land within a designated redevelopment zone.
Mr. Shelton, who already owned land in the redevelopment prior to being elected to the council, claims he has not violated the law since redevelopment was disbanded. He has asked, and the council agreed, to seek clarification from the state Attorney General’s office. It is this action that really disturbs us.
From all indications, Mr. Shelton sought no legal advice in advance whether he could purchase the land. In other words, he ignored the law and apparently figured to go ahead and then beg forgiveness later.
With that approach, the legal entanglement he has found himself in is his problem, not the city’s or even the city council’s. Certainly, any cost associated with clearing his name should not be borne by the taxpayers. If Mr. Shelton wants a ruling by the Attorney General, he should seek that with his own attorney and at his own expense. Not a dime of taxpayers’ money should be used for this matter.