As long-time readers and fans of the Coastline Pilot, my wife and I were a bit perplexed by the paper’s editorial opposition to Council Member Schneider’s offer to serve, without compensation, on the board of a charitable foundation whose only purpose is to facilitate substantial donations from Francine and Daniel Scinto "” and possibly others "” to the city and important local nonprofits.
The State of California has among the most stringent transparency and conflict-of-interest rules anywhere.
After reviewing the facts and circumstances in light of those rules, the city attorney reportedly advised that no conflict existed. (If further information is required for a complete legal review, it should be provided.)
Whether we agree with every position she has taken on every issue before the Council, all of us should respect Elizabeth’s decades of service to the city and its people.
Who among us can forget her support for our seniors as well as her exemplary efforts as mayor to mobilize relief for the Bluebird Canyon victims and obtain desperately needed re-construction funds from unresponsive federal bureaucrats?
Recently, Elizabeth gave up her career as a marketing consultant to take a full-time job raising funds for South Coast Medical Center. We are fortunate to have someone with her expertise and energy working night and day to keep our hospital in place.
My wife and I got to know the Scintos years ago through their participation in the Laguna Art Museum’s Trustee Advisory Board, which we co-chaired at that time.
Laguna is blessed to have such public-spirited citizens with the means to offer substantial support to our city its charities.
If all the Scintos ask in return for their generosity is to have Elizabeth help oversee the disbursement of the funds they are prepared to donate, the Council might consider how best to say “thank you" and move forward as expeditiously as possible.
Civic-minded benefactors such as the Scintos deserve our gratitude and encouragement.
MATT LAWSON lives in Laguna Beach.