The following comes from a September 2 posting on A Shepherd’s Voice, a blog started by Father Malloy of St. Peter and Paul parish in North Beach, now written by Gibbons Cooney.

On August 28, the City Council of South San Francisco voted 3-2 to deny an appeal brought by local citizens Rosa Gomez, Rolando Delgadillo, Vera Priego, Teresita Valido and Respect Life South San Francisco. The appeal sought to overturn land-use rulings by both the South San Francisco Planning Commission and the South San Francisco Parking Place Commission which allowed Planned Parenthood to open a new location on Grand Avenue, South San Francisco’s main artery. The location will be one block away from All Souls Catholic Church and school. The pastor of All Souls, Father Agnel De Heredia, and All Souls school principal Vincent Riener had strongly opposed the opening.

Although ostensibly a simple land-use issue, the real issue is whether or not to allow the nation’s largest abortion provider to open in South San Francisco. Three of the five members of the City Council who heard the appeal are Catholics. A June 30 Everything South City article quoted a local resident named Cynthia Marcopulos, who suggested that the Catholic members of the board and had a duty to recuse themselves from the vote, since support for Planned Parenthood is counter the Catholic faith:  “Coming before the South San Francisco City Council for a vote on whether there can be a Planned Parenthood facility on Grand Avenue, our City Council has an inbred prejudice. Mayor Pedro Gonzalez’s wife is an active protester on the protest line against the Planned Parenthood facility, Councilman Mark Addiego works for Holy Cross Cemetery which is owned by the Catholic Church, and Councilman Richard Garbarino is active with St. Veronica’s Church. These council members must recuse themselves for their apparent and visible biases.”

Ms. Marcopulos’ concern turned out to have been exaggerated. When the vote was called, two of the three Catholics on the board, Mark Addiego, (identified in 2007 by Inside Bay Area as the Operations Manager at Holy Cross Cemetery), and Richard Garbarino “active with St. Veronica’s Church,” voted to deny the appeal, and thus to allow Planned Parenthood to open. The third Catholic, Pedro Gonzalez, joined by Councilwoman Karyl Matsumoto, voted against Planned Parenthood.

An attendee at the meeting and vote told us that “Mr. Garbarino said that after speaking with ‘his confessor,’ he had decided to vote to allow Planned Parenthood to open.” Our source’s recollection was confirmed by an August 28 post covering the vote on the Everything South City website. The post quoted council members giving their reasons for voting:

“(Richard) Garbarino: His ‘confessor’ said he must take his decision; he will not stand in judgment of those who use the services of Planned Parenthood. Although he has his own convictions, that this decision must be based on laws.”

“(Mark) Addeigo: Other facilities, as seen on El Camino Real that offer many of the same services to those with insurance. Personal opinions cannot weigh come into play (sic), including his own Catholic beliefs that maybe contrary to this.”

To read the entire posting, click here.