Rancho Bernardo Planning Board to pursue removal of one member

By Elizabeth Marie Himchak

The Rancho Bernardo Planning Board is going ahead with an attempt to remove member Robin Kaufman, but has halted a similar action against member Joe Dirks.

The monthly meeting was rescheduled from tonight (Thursday) to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23. It will be in the Club 21 room at RB Swim & Tennis Club, 16955 Bernardo Oaks Drive.

At the board’s Nov. 29 meeting, Chairwoman Teri Denlinger requested Kaufman’s resignation because it had come to her attention that Kaufman spoke with Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation members, twice asking them to deny the board’s community grant application. Despite her alleged actions, the foundation gave the planning board a $1,000 grant.

Per a Jan. 4 letter Denlinger wrote after board officers met with Kaufman earlier that day, “Ms. Kaufman admitted she contacted the Foundation to request the Board not receive a grant (paraphrase) ... ‘because the Board did not follow proper procedures during the grant application process.’”

From the beginning, Denlinger has called Kaufman’s alleged deed “behavior which undermines the actions taken by the board, is detrimental to the integrity of the board and compromises the board’s ability to conduct business.”

Seeking a grant was something board members — including Kaufman — unanimously approved last June.

The board had planned to vote on removing Kaufman at its Dec. 20 meeting, but a couple of members questioned the correct removal procedure based on bylaws, saying they feared removal that night could be an “illegal action.”

Kaufman requested a continuance claiming she did not have sufficient time to “investigate” the allegations against her — though she knew about them at the Nov. 29 meeting when she was asked to resign or face removal in December. But because she was not officially noticed until mid-December and not invited to meet with board officers to discuss the matter, the board continued the issue to January.

Kaufman also indicated if her continuance was not granted there could be legal repercussions for members and the board.

The board decided last month to also grant a continuance on its plan to vote on Dirks’ removal due to his behavior at the November meeting, which some deemed threatening. The board previously removed him for his behavior in October 2011, but he rejoined via the 2012 election.

Regarding the board not going forward with a vote on removing Dirks, Vice Chairwoman Estelle Wolf said that will be discussed at the meeting.

This is the last meeting those running for election can attend to fulfill the one meeting since March 2012 attendance requirement. The deadline to file candidate paperwork is 11:59 p.m. Jan. 31. The form can be obtained by contacting Richard House, election chairman, at 619-222-9248 or rh@outthair.com. Any adult resident who has lived in Rancho Bernardo at least 30 days is eligible to run for election and vote on March 2.

   
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