The meeting in the crowded and exceptionally uncomfortable room, due to heat, at the Kiwanis Club, mostly provided for the exchange of mutual contempt between the opposing parties. I was astonished by the many tolerated improprieties on the part of the Planning Group in their conduct of the meeting. The Chairman failed to restrain one particular outburst of vitriol from a member who ridiculed and displayed contempt towards one of the members of an organization invited
to make a presentation.
I was for many years a member of a Planning Commision and never on my wildest day, did I ever consider comporting myself in such a discourteous manner when addressing a member who came before the Commission. It's clear to this outsider that this Planning Group does not consider itself accountable to the public but to treat the public with such open disdain is clearly enough basis for justification of the recall action currently pending somewhere in the governmental machinery.
We were not very far into the agenda before it was revealed by the Chairman himself in a sort of "in your face" type pronouncement, that he had taken action to politicize the procedure by asking for assistance from the Republican Party apparatus, citing the opposition's use of similar assistance from the Democratic Party as justification. That this clearly politicized an issue, the main concern of which is Land Use according to the local General Plan
and the Environment, didn't seem to register with the Chairman as unusual or improper. More amazement on my part.
A view I shared with Robin, is that if Potrero is to continue with this issue being blatantly politicized, perhaps the citizens of Potrero should give consideration to the political makeup of the Planning Group. The main body of this Group is observably Republican, with a few proudly professing just that. Potrero is not well represented with only one
dissenting voice among the Planning Group.
Clearly this Planning Group could profit from a few lessons in proper behavior and basic courtesy from the member who spoke for the preservation of the natural habitat of Potrero, Mr. Duncan Mc Fetridge
. His deportment was professional and courteous to a fault. His behavior in the face of such open disdain from the Planning Group was a model of propriety and discipline and served to shame the excesses of the Planning Group which seems, to this observer at least, to have lost sight of its original mission of "serving" the public.
Watching the interplay between the Planning Group and its few sympathizers, with the citizens in opposition, I got a good idea of how difficult it is to oppose anyone with "deep pockets" when the most of what you have on your side is your passion for the land as it is. Deep pockets for instance, provides for the Planning Group's visitation to Blackwater's facility in North Carolina for the purpose of impressing them with Blackwater's preservation of the natural habitat surrounding their main headquarters. Deep pockets also provides for the financing of the 'consultants' who will prepare and analyze the various aspects of Blackwater West's proposal for the EIR. That the "facts" they are to analyze, about noise and traffic, are what Blackwater gives them
, as opposed to what may actually transpire once they're in place, did not escape the notice of some citizens. Whether there is a natural tendency of the Pay-ee to please the Pay-or, I will leave to speculation, except to note that it gives me some concern.
I left early in the Blackwater presentation due to the physical discomfort from the heat and so don't know what else was worthy of report. On my way out, I ran into Jerry Vandeweghe, (Senator Hollingsworth's assistant who attended the meeting of the Sierra Club) who seemed satisfied to remain outside of the room. I got the impression that he was mainly concerned with whether I remembered him or not. Maybe someone else has a different slant on all this.
Tom, you left too soon. If you think the meeting and the behavior of the planning group was bad while you were present, you should have seen it after the cameras went home. Gordon reverted to his usual obnoxious self. People were yelling at him for not listening to the public, he was whining about being recalled and that people were picking on him. Of course he hasn't been recalled yet - there still has to be an election. Some of the board members started in on Jan Hedlun because she didn't want to approve the minutes from the last meeting because she didn't have the complete minutes to review. Then they all started discussing Gordon and Jerry Johnson's resolution which was full of lies, but Gordon wanted it voted on anyway and Jan told him that he was wrong in introducing the resolution without first discussing it with the board and the members of the public. They went on arguing back and forth until they all decided to table it until the next meeting. By then it was 11 o'clock. While all this was going on, people in the audience were arguing with one another. Barbara was on the phone all day (Friday)with people calling to talk because they are so upset with the way the meeting went. There was so much negativity, it will take days for everyone to get back to normal. And we get to do it all over again on Aug 9th at 7PM!
This resolution appeared with the agenda for the July 12, 2007 Potrero Planning Group meeting (7:00 PM at the Community Center). This resolution was created without all of the Planning Group members involved or community input, and is not on the Agenda.
The resolution was full of misinformation which has been corrected.
-- Raymond Lutz
- 16 Jul 2007