So, 3 weeks ago I posted a version of a letter I sent to the four Supervisors that voted for a new version of the General Plan update Guiding principles. The only response I received was from Supervisor Bohn. My Supervisor, the 4th district’s Virginia Bass, had said she would try to respond, but in the end could not – at least not in a timely manner that would have allowed for dialog. I don’t really blame any of them, firstly because most of them do not represent me, and secondly because the questions were difficult and I’m sure they would rather not have the answers in writing.
In summary the question where: 1) Why was the new version superior, principle by principle, phrase by phrase? and 2) How long should the new guidelines last once passed?
Here is Rex’s (non) answer, but at least he had the courtesy to respond to the question.
There has been quite a bit of public input since the adoption of Guiding Principles in 2004, and in talking with a lot of people their input was not considered or simply ignored in public process pre 2004. There is now a draft set of Guiding Principles that has been presented and straw voted now we will have more input and all will be listened to. I have heard an overwhelming, enthusiastic voice of support on the new draft which was not an overwhelming difference as some stayed as written. The whole idea is dialogue and a plan that has Maximum Flexibility, (caps his, underline mine – dJon) protects the environment, and preserves property rights, Let us Hope for the Best, Rex
Here’s Supervisor Bohn on the purpose of the 6/3 meeting. “All this is is a point of discussion, this doesn’t mean we are going to print these in stone or anything else. And obviously we’ve opened up a dialog.” (2 hr 53 min) Also, here is where I first heard Supervisor Bohn’s catch phrase. “Maximize flexibility are probably the two neatest words I’ve heard through this whole process.”(2 hr 54 min)
My question is, if the Board of Supervisors representing the public decides to maximize flexibility, who benefits? A: Private interests.
Follow up question… How is a plan a plan if it allows for maximizing flexibility? Are not the two concepts contradictory?
As Supervisor Fennell did not respond to my question, here is the best quote I can find for a reason she gives for the changes. Nothing specific mind you, we will not know why this or that phrase was added, but we do have this catch-all explanation…
“All we are trying to do is to make this work for the majority, for the whole.” (2hr 49 min)
How do you know this Supervisor Fennell? How are we to hold you accountable?
Ryan Burns has a good review of this process in the North Coast Journal. Included is a link to a staff report pdf file that demonstrates the relatively open and transparent decision-making process that resulted in the previous version of the Guiding Principles. Unless the Board of Supervisors decides to change course, the version we are finally stuck will not made any equivalent effort for public education or participation and will not consist of any paper trail what-so-ever. But this is the type of public process that in the end the Dan Taranto and Bonnie Blackberry’s of the world really wanted – the type of public process that resulted in the set of principles they preferred. Whether the public was actually involved is neither here-nor there.