Posts Tagged Fullerton Planning Commission
At last Tuesday’s council meeting our elected representatives were served up a tasty morsel from their attorney Dick Jones. He was peddling a load of BS about it being city policy that Planning Commissioners not consider the economic feasibility of subsidized projects. We’ve already documented Jones’ baloney here.
But Sharon Quirk-Silva, would have none of it. She challenged Jones on the supposed policy, and suggested, correctly, that the project be reconsidered in the light of a full review by the Planning Commission. She had the support of Planning Commissioner Scott Lansburg, who actually showed up to indicate that for him at least, the project would have received different treatment had he been permitted to consider the practical economics of the thing. Good for him.
Attorney Jones of course, pushed back, conjuring up the frightening manitou of “litigation” to chase stray councilmembers back onto their reservation. Now, gee, where have we seen that tactic before?
Meanwhile, Don Bankhead seemed a lot more interested in attending the upcoming ground breaking ceremony (where he can wear a specially painted gold hard hat) than in reining in the Richman/Olson Co. disaster.
In the end nothing came of hearing it except that the Council might have “study sessions” on the matter; which, if it ever happens, will no doubt be steered right back into the direction the city staff wants – at which point Attorney Jones made-up “policy” will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Last year just before Christmas the Fullerton City Council voted 3-1 to approve the idiotic Richman housing project, a staff-driven boondoggle that makes zero planning, housing, or economic sense. We wrote about it here.
We also wrote about the review of the same fiasco-in-the-making by the Planning Commission here, in which we lauded Commissioner Bruce Whitaker for his solitary stance in opposing it. As the YouTube clip shows, Whitaker objected on economic grounds citing the project’s dubious fiscal foundation.
This position was immediately questioned by Commissioner Lansburg who inquired about it of the city attorney, Tom Duarte:
Commissioner Lansburg: is it within the Commission’s purview to look at this from a financial standpoint or are we only to look at this from a planning standpoint?
The city attorney Mr. Duarte answered: In the commissions purview its a land use issue, the city council will look at the financial impact.
Well, the project was passed by a Commission majority, with only Whitaker dissenting.
Subsequently Commission Chairman Dexter Savage addressed the following communication to staff, seeking clarification of the issue.
And now, Lo and Behold, the issue has been agendized by the City Council; and just look at staff’s response: economic considerations are indeed within the purview of a planning commission in many respects, and are nowhere prohibited.
This response begs several questions. Why did the city’s attorney misinform the commission? Is he incompetent, or was he motivated to press the approval of a project near and dear to the hearts of the city staff, without any reference to the law.
Why did the staff present like (John Godlewski) not correct him? He countersigned the above memorandum contradicting Duarte, yet was at the meeting and said nothing.
The facts can really only be interpreted in one way. Both the attorney and staff were more interested in the approval of the project, no matter how bad, than in the service of the public interest, or the truth, or the law.
Now the entire matter has been brought to the City Council for its enlightenment as agenda item #16 at the January 19, meeting. But it’s really to late for the Richman project – a Redevelopment/housing staff concocted project that has all the tell-tale signs of a disaster in the making.
And Friends: there you have it.