Subject: Agenda clarification request
Yesterday’s regular meeting of the Board, held in EDH, included a staff update on the General Plan update. I have two fairly serious issues with what occurred during the meeting. The first regards the Brown Act and the effort to restrict public comment during the hearing. A copy of both the 3/17/15 agenda page and California Gov Code (CGC) 54954.3 are attached below.
I would like clarification as to
1) why this update was not considered to be ‘on the agenda’
2) why a staff update would not qualify as “an item of interest to the public” per CGC
3) how the public was to ‘know’ that they would not be allowed to comment on the issue. It was after all, listed on the agenda and we are asked not to comment during Open Forum on items on the agenda.
Second, during this update, a number of VERY misleading statements were made by staff. Without the opportunity for the public to comment, those misconceptions just ‘hang’ out there, breeding misinformation on an already controversial issue. This occurred previously during discussion of Measure Y, the TDM, and traffic Levels of Service, and the misconceptions were never corrected in public. Here are a few of the points made in hearing yesterday and subsequently refuted by Sue Taylor and John Hidahl:
1) ‘The TGPA/ZOU update does not increase density’ – note that the RDEIR itself refutes this, as has been pointed out in submitted public comments
2) ‘no new entitlements are being granted’ – over 37,000 parcels are being rezoned; there are entitlements being granted whether parcels are created or not.
3) ‘This update is not changing the General Plan – we’re just amending it’ which was repeated about 5 times by Supervisor Mik and confirmed by staff’s Dave Defanti. Regardless of the fact that ‘to amend’ something IS to change it, the TGPA/ZOU is a massive overhaul and ‘targeted’ or not, the policy changes are sweeping.
While the Board eventually relented under pressure and allowed a few insistent people to comment (thank you), more residents would have commented if not for your suppression. I would like to know if this manner of placing things on the agenda will continue, and would like to request greater clarity in the future.
You have been informed of the way staff is misrepresenting the facts to both you and the public.
Please include this comment in the administrative record for the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance update.
Ellen Van Dyke
Agenda page 6: