Coastal Post Online

March 2001

Questions For County Counsel Faulkner

Dear Mr. Faulkner:

As you may be aware, I have been writing for the Marin County Coastal Post for many years on various aspects of life in Marin. Recently an unnamed reader wrote to the Coastal Post with a list of questions concerning Supervisor Steve Kinsey's illegally constructed septic system. Please refer to the attached letter.

The Coastal Post would greatly appreciate the county's official position on several aspects of this case.

In as much as Supervisor Kinsey, a State licensed contractor, presumably knowledgeable of basic county codes, has been involved in the promotion of a controversial joint sewage system of a housing development and the Lagunitas School, and the equally controversial quasi-sponsorship of this project by the county, that is, the county's becoming the "legal entity, an action that you, yourself, seemed conflicted over;

And since Supervisor Kinsey has forcefully advocated changing the process by which county codes relating to septic systems are issued, as well as the radical revision of those codes;

And since he played a leading role in nominating candidates, as well as making appointments to a committee to recommend revisions to county codes relating to waste water systems (SepTac) and currently actively participates in proceedings of this committee, all the while being himself, in violation of codes relating to building permits and septic system permits that he is sworn to, and duty bound to enforce;

Does it therefore appear ethically and morally appropriate that he has not recused himself from any and all decisions relating to waste water systems for conflict of interest?

Does it appear appropriate that the other members of the Board of Supervisors, who are jointly responsible for public health and safety relating to county codes, being fully aware of the situation, has allowed it to continue?

For over a year now Supervisor Kinsey's code violations have been monitored by Marin County employees. In as much as it is common practice for county governments to seek assistance from other county governments or from State officials in cases where there might be a perceived conflict of interest, or fear of reprisal, or favoritism, was, and is it appropriate, that assistance from a neighboring county enforcement officer(s) was not sought, so as to avoid any possible perception of favoritism or special treatment or pressure on staff or Department Heads? (This should not be construed in any way as criticism of our Community Development Agency or any of its dedicated employees!)

Thanking you and your staff in advance for your attention to this matter,

Respectfully Jim Scanlon, Don Deane
Coastal Post

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