Monday, June 18 , 2018, 10:36 am | Fair 63º


Ron Fink: Lompoc Deserves a Mayor with Stronger Ethical Base

Lompoc Mayor John Linn has a questionable style of politics. There have been a number of actions he has taken that should raise eyebrows.

In 2012, he encouraged one of his close confidants to seek a council seat to help with his agenda. Linn even went to one of his pal’s competitors, an opponent of what Linn was trying to do, and tried to get him to drop out so that his anointed candidate would get more votes.

Well, things happen during a campaign, and his ally withdrew from the race a few weeks before the election. Now, Linn was faced with a dilemma; he needed someone else to help push his agenda.

Linn had accumulated more contributions than he needed so he looked the field over and decided to spend a large sum of his supporters’ money to print and send out mailers urging people to vote for his new choice — something the candidate had not planned to do for himself.

In the 2012 contest, his challenger didn’t wage much of a campaign and he cruised to a comfortable victory. At this point, his record wasn’t an issue and his margin of victory was big enough that he must have felt that he had a mandate to do whatever he wanted and no one would question him.

Now he started making some serious errors in judgment. He had things to do and he was intolerant anyone who stood in his way.

First was how he projected himself to women in both elective and professional positions within the government. Privately they will tell you that he is both dismissive and disrespectful and using his physical presence (he is well over 6 feet tall) he frequently invades their personal space to make his point.

If any female doesn’t agree with his position, he is both dismissive and some would say vindictive. A case in point was a private project that Linn and a planning commissioner were trying to get started on West Ocean Avenue. Linn objected to building and safety conditions that were being applied by the planning division. After repeated tries, he was unable to move his project forward because he refused to acknowledge the importance of the public safety upgrades that were required for the business.

So when the budget was being considered he proposed the elimination of the two senior managers, who happened to be female, who had simply applied the rules to his project. He was successful at eliminating one of the positions.

Another is how he treats female council members. Following the 2010 election, he treated his competitor, another female council member, with disdain during council meetings. Both female elected officials he has served with and who won by wide margins have declined to run for re-election primarily because of his demeanor.

These examples are a personality flaw that stretches the limits of workplace etiquette and should disqualify him from elective or appointive office.

In the 2014 campaign, he has enlisted a host of strategies that demonstrate his lack of credibility. Recently he sent out an economic update email to all of the local vintners and encouraged them to support his bid for re-election.

You would think that a person in his position would have a good grasp of the facts — not Linn. If the facts don’t fit his narrative, then he just makes them up!

First he claims that “two upscale hotels are moving toward construction” — they are a long ways from construction. One of the projects is attempting to gain a waiver of building standards and the other is negotiating a utility sharing agreement with a neighboring project — both have been in development for several years.

This could take months to complete. Then they will have to submit their projects for planning commission consideration and after that complete detailed plans and obtain building permits.

The second whopper is that a “Korean and American barbeque in the former Blacksmith restaurant is also under construction.” This is patently false; no building permits have been issued or requested for this site.

His website also contains numerous factual errors.

He has a strong competitor in this election — he needs every vote he can get and doesn’t care how he gets them.

A couple of years ago he engineered a lucrative fireworks deal by convincing the council, using industry representatives misleading facts, to allow the use of safe and sane fireworks in Lompoc.  Now it’s time for the company to pay off.

So the fireworks company sent a letter to all the nonprofits in the Lompoc area urging that they contact everyone and urge them to vote for Linn. Political advocacy by nonprofits is against the law, but no matter, Linn doesn’t like the rules anyway. I don’t know if Linn solicited this letter, but considering the company is located far away I don’t know how they would have known he needed their help unless he called.

Lompoc deserves a mayor with a stronger ethical base and one who will respect his colleagues. That’s why we urgently need a change leadership.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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