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Open Letter to the Mayor and Councilmen from BBR

Mayor and Councilmen,

Members of Building a Better Redondo met Saturday to discuss the status of discussions with the City. After great deliberation on several factors to be described below, the group has reluctantly decided to go forward with submitting the notice of intent to circulate a new initiative. BBR offers to continue in any discussions on compromise in parallel with initiative petition activities.

These factors included:

The conclusions that the compromise process would not be sufficiently expedient to suit our purposes based on the following:

Members of BBR concluded that the following factors did not lead to a reasonable confidence that a compromise solution is viable:

Furthermore, while members of the City Council have assured us that no zoning changes are imminent, activities that would lead to zoning changes are ongoing:

Finally, the members of BBR considered the pros and cons of withholding the new initiative through what looks to be a long process with questionable chances for success. Based on several factors including volunteer availability, holidays, weather and hours of daylight, etc. the members felt substantial delay would be detrimental to our success.

Many of these points will be discussed in detail later. Based on these factors, the members concluded it in the best interest of real process change to submit our new initiative now. We decided to submit Monday because we felt it disengenuous to allow the Council to vote on a moratorium and then submit the notice of intent to circulate petition. BBR offers to continue in any discussions on compromise in parallel with initiative petition activities. Should a viable compromise surface, BBR can stop petition activities and withdraw the petition. BBR has no probem with any compromise meetings being conducted in public as suggested by one of the council.

The new initiative is substantially the same with the following changes:

Expansion on our concerns for expediency:

BBR realizes the council is busy with the budget and other activities and that the Mayor has a lot of time and travel committments, so we do not hold the Council or Mayor at fault. BBR recongnizes that these competing activities will impact the ability of the Council to expedite a compromise process. BBR recommends that a member of the City Staff be assigned responsibility for defining a process and moving compromise activities forward to minimize the impact of these competing priorities.

Expansion on our concerns about a viable compromise:

-- Council members have voiced reticence to make any change permanent via a charter change. BBR is concerned that any compromise agreed to by the current council could be easily undone by a future council unless the change is built into the City Charter...these changes require a vote of the people. BBR remains open to other ideas on making any compromise permanent.

-- *Group members selected by the Mayor were unable to come to agreement on a compromise position amongst themselves in discussions prior to signature gathering on the previous initiative. During discussions prior to signature gathering, representatives from Northrup Grumman, The Galleria, MarVentures, the opposition group, the Chamber, and the School District could not come to agreement on an alternative compromise for BBR to consider. Their answer to BBR was in essence they wanted no substantive change to current processes. BBR is concerned that the opposition could not come to agreement on substantive process changes amongst themselves. BBR has concerns that now adding the desires of the Council will make this even more difficult.

-- Comments by Councilmen about their role indicates an unwillingness to consider substantive change and real checks and balances. The initiative was started because the council regularly wrote off any opposition to high density development as the "vocal minority". Thus all public input at workshops and at city meetings was wasted and not taken into sufficient consideration. The planning commission is appointed and therefore may not be representative of different views prevalent in the community. And any decision rendered by the planning commission is easily overridden by the council. As Councilman Aspel has stated "the Planning Commission is a speedbump on the path to the Council." Although all council members profess to want to "manage growth" there is no check and balance that their view of "managed growth" is in the same ballpark of that considered acceptable by their constituents.

BBR made this decision after much deliberation and with great reluctance. BBR earnestly hopes that the City can effectively craft a compromise solution and offers to support compromise discussions and processes. However, given our concerns on expediency and the real chances of a final compromise based on the activity to date, BBR has decided it in our best interest to not wait until the compromise process has concluded.

Jim Light
Chairman, Building a Better Redondo

Contact Jim at info@buildingabetterredondo.org

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