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Community Digest

Signal Hill : Council Rejects Mayor's Code of Ethics Proposal

June 03, 1993

City Council members voted this week against adopting a voluntary code of ethics that would have barred them and planning commissioners from voting on issues affecting contributors.

In a 3-2 vote, the council rejected a proposal by Mayor Carol Churchill, who wanted her colleagues to sign a voluntary declaration promising that they would not participate or vote on any project or issue involving a contributor.

Churchill and Councilman Richard Ceccia voted for the proposal, saying it would send a message that the council could not be bought. Council members Gerard Goedhart, Sara Hanlon and Michael Noll voted against it, saying it was complicated and unnecessary.

"It would have gotten very confusing," Goedhart said, noting that Churchill's proposal would have barred council members from voting on any issue regardless of the sum of the contribution. "If someone gives you $5, it shouldn't prevent you from voting on an issue."

But Goedhart agreed that the city needs to adopt campaign-finance reform in response to last year's election, when several candidates indirectly benefited from contributions made by a development company to a political action committee.

On Tuesday, the council asked city staff to research a way to prevent political action committees from pumping money into an election through intermediaries. Council members also said they want to improve reporting procedures on such contributions.

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