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City is penny wise, pound foolish

May 18, 2011

The circus goes on at City Hall. Monday night the La Cañada Flintridge City Council continued its recent tradition of completely inscrutable and undemocratic action — all in the name of making our city look good. Does the City Council serve the people of this city or only its own selfish interests? Judge for yourself.

The council committed to building sidewalks in three areas without ever notifying the affected residents or holding any public hearing on the matter — not even the resident living just over the back fence from City Hall.

The project is mostly funded through a state grant, the balance coming out of next year’s budget — a budget which won't exist for another month. So the city spent money it didn't have in any budget on a project not properly approved under its own rules.

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The city entered into an agreement with Caltrans for oversight of building sound walls without making any provision for the public to see that agreement in advance, without holding public hearings to consider the impact of that construction work or notifying the affected homeowners.

How did the city justify its illegal action in this matter? The action was essential to avoid forfeiting a federal earmark for the project. The council wasn't clear where the walls were to be built, only that we must join with Caltrans to get started immediately — the same Caltrans that is pushing the 710 freeway project.

The council reversed its own decision on Windermere Place, consenting to conditionally vacate the street. This sends the project back to square one, the Community Development office, then the Planning Commission, then back to the City Council again. Why not extend the misery another six months?

This resident isn't convinced by Councilman Voss' plea that the reversal had nothing to do with a $5 million suit against the city. Will the three residents and the city come to an amicable agreement on the terms of the easement agreement anytime soon? Not likely.

These three issues are tied together by a common theme. Where money is involved, this city stops listening to public sentiment or common sense. We have a city government that is penny wise and pound foolish.

James Stoker

La Cañada Flintridge
 
 

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