The Ethics Commission found that Jon Arason, former city planning and zoning director, violated ethics law by assisting developers of Crystal Spring in their efforts to gain approval by the city. This ethical breach is nothing new, as the city annexation and development approval process has been corrupted for decades.
Deep-pocketed developers and their attorneys have learned to play the city development game very well. They become heavily involved in campaigns, giving to our mayors and aldermen, hosting $500- or $1,000-a-person fundraisers, and also sprinkling other community-based groups with cash to buy support for their efforts.
They use public relations firms to assure the laws and approvals are fixed in their favor. Is it illegal? No, it is allowed under our lax campaign financing laws.
With Crystal Spring, the most massive single private development in Annapolis history, all limits are off as the developers brought in a former planning and zoning director, Arason, flouting the rules and violating the ethics law.
The developers and their attorneys are used to getting their way from a city government that caters to development money rather than constituents.
The last mayoral election was a referendum against the foolish Crystal Spring proposal. The city’s Ethics Commission should start investigating a fraudulent campaign backed by developers. I and other citizens have been threatened and maligned for calling out these improprieties.
Note to city officials on Crystal Spring: Just say no!
WILL SMALL, ANNAPOLIS