District Eight San Diego city councilman Ben Hueso has been told by the general counsel of the City’s Ethics Commission that he can’t vote on anything concerning the Dells Imperial redevelopment project area, which includes his personal residence and other property he and his relatives own. “Because your residence and the real property you co-own are located within Dells Imperial or within 500 feet of the redevelopment study area boundaries, there is a presumption that any decisions involving this area will have a financial effect on your real property interests, and you are therefore disqualified from participating in or influencing any such decisions,” opined commission general counsel Alison P. Adema in a February 25 letter to Hueso.

The only way Hueso could cast a vote regarding the project, Adema added, would be if he could show that any decision would “affect your real property interests in a manner that is indistinguishable from the manner in which the decision will affect the public generally.” Hueso could also participate if he could show the vote would “not have any financial effect whatsoever” on his real estate interests. In addition to the ban on voting, Hueso is also barred from contacting other city officials to “influence a municipal decision” regarding the project.

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