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Watching the opening of CVS on Main Street in Clinton and knowing how opposed residents were to this project, it’s easy to understand the anger felt throughout the community. A handful of ignorant/corrupt individuals on the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) held a prohibited meeting that supposedly forced the commission to approve an application, destroying three historic buildings and the historic streetscape and allowing a drive-through to be built where it’s strictly prohibited. Incredibly, many of those ignorant/corrupt PZC members remain on the PZC. What’s to prevent them from doing the same again? We must remain vigilant and be willing to drag them into court.
Last week, a Superior Court judge invalidated PZC’s ridiculous decision to amend its regulations and allow more junk to be stored on contractors’ storage yards. The judge determined PZC member Carl Neri had an obvious personal and financial conflict of interest and shouldn’t have been allowed to participate in the public hearing. Neri badgered, bullied, and threatened residents trying to speak in opposition. The judge found that Neri’s participation and attempt to influence the commission “undermined the fairness and impartiality of the preceedings.” You’ll remember Neri’s daughter, Kim Simoncini, was actually arrested for stealing CTA signage notifying the public of that hearing.
The judge’s decision forces the PZC to reconsider the contractors’ storage yard application. It’d better get it right this time. And it’d better stop any and all corrupt shenanigans or we will drag it into court again.
As the judge cited, “public office is a trust conferred by public authority for a public purpose. The status of each member of the commission forbids him from placing himself in a position where private interests conflict with his public duty.” Sadly, that’s far from the case in Clinton.
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