Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka explains controversial vote
Some blame mayor for beach issues
Last Updated: 53 days ago
CORONADO, Calif. - Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka is explaining a controversial vote after an odd exchange with 10News at a city council meeting Tuesday night.
"I'm interested in getting home to feed my dog, so if you have any questions, feel free to email them to me," Tanaka said after 10News reporter Rielle Creighton posed questions to him after the meeting.
The questions posed by 10News centered on the issue of beaches and claims of conflict of interest involving the mayor.
"I don't find his reaction too surprising," beach advocate Steven Ogles said when 10News showed him Tanaka's statement to Creighton.
At issue is the health of Coronado beaches -- with nails and hot coals left in the sand, and overflowing sewage seeping onto the beaches when it rains.
Coronado City Councilwoman Barbara Denney said $330,000 recently approved by the mayor and most of the council for school improvements should have been directed to the beaches.
Denney said the Coronado Unified School District has its own funding source that's supposed to remain separate from the city.
She and others claim the mayor is spending public money at the expense of city needs and they know why -- Tanaka is a history teacher for the district.
"I don't understand the mechanics of how he can vote on something that directly benefits his employment with the school district. I don't get it," said Ogles.
Ogles said Tanaka has had few answers to his questions.
While the mayor declined to talk Tuesday night, he quickly replied to questions emailed to him from 10News.
In an email, Tanaka said the school funding for extra counselors was "reasonable" and similar to other "school district requests" in the past.
He maintains he's "repeatedly voted" for projects "to fix sewage problems" and said city workers already "remove nails from the beach" as the issue comes up.
As for a potential conflict of interest, Tanaka directed 10News to a city attorney opinion, which stated that any vote should be looked at for any direct financial gain, but in general terms, "income from a school district" is not a conflict.
The state's Fair Political Practices Commission directed 10News to a state code that appears to back up the city attorney opinion.
Ogles said the mayor's vote ignores the city's most important needs, including a long-term answer for the sewage problem.
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