(Denise Delmar kindly forwarded me her written reply to all of the excitement at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. The calm assurance and quiet wisdom of her thoughts on this matter are as refreshing as they are wise. Thank you Denise for all that you do. You have this City's gratitude.)
The GPUSC's work program, approved by this Council in the Summer of 2010, outlined who was ultimately responsible for the General Plan Update, which is clearly the City Council, after it is approved by the Planning Commission.
The Steering Committee is tasked with checking for inconsistencies, collecting current data, developing Guiding Principles and gathering community input. It would be irresponsible of this committee to formulate a General Plan considering political views and current staffing constraints. We have a responsibility to look into the future 20 years, and provide this City with a General Plan which will be a workable guide for City policies, and adhere to the Vision and Guiding Principles of the community whatever the political climate may be. As such, it is imperative that all committee members remain as politically neutral as possible until the draft is turned over to the Planning Commission.
As for the comments made by Councilmember Walsh, although her statements directed towards me were correct, they were taken out of context to serve as evidence for her to ask for my resignation. For example, I do not advocate having secret meetings, but do advocate having sub-committees assigned with specific tasks which take place outside of the monthly public committee meetings. These sub-committees consist of committee members and community volunteers. The information is brought forth to the entire committee for review and recommendation. This was done to adhere to the schedule approved by the Council as part of the Work Program. The sub-committee members are always identified during our public committee meetings and all are required to come back with a report. The sub-committees have been instructed by myself and Director Castro to copy him on any correspondence. The sub-committees are ever changing as the scope of work changes, as are the members who work together. The other allegations are also without merit, as documented by the minutes of our meetings.
I have respect for all elected officials, city staff, and residents of this town even if their opinions are different from my own. I feel it would be a disservice to this community and all the volunteers who have worked so hard to see this plan put together to disrupt the continuity and unity this committee has worked to achieve if Colin, Deb and I were to resign. We are on the final leg of this journey and are excited to present the Guiding Principles next week to the Planning Commission and City Council for approval. I am confident the Guiding Principles will address many of the concerns expressed by the City Council of late.
The committee members all bring to the table very different views, skills, and levels of expertise, which are vital to craft a General Plan that will be approved by our Planning Commission, City Council and be accepted by the community. I am extremely proud of the work we have accomplished up to this point, and grateful for the long hours endured by Development Services staff, City Manager, City Council Liaisons and City Attorney. It is my hope the recent City Council activity does not distract from all the good intentions. I am continuing to use my energy on the tasks at hand, with the goal of delivering the Draft General Plan to the Planning Commission in April of 2012.
Lastly, I would like to publicly wish Joe Mosca success and good fortune as he and his family set off on their new journey. I had the opportunity to speak to Joe prior to our last GP meeting and we came to an understanding about the miscommunications at the September 13 meeting. It was because of that misunderstanding I offered the following inspiration for the committee and audience members, of which Joe was one at our last meeting.
In everything, goodness is there. Our goal is to find it.
In every person, the best is there. Our job is to recognize it.
In every situation, the positive is there. Our opportunity is to see it.
In every problem, the solution is there. Our responsibility is to provide it. Our adventure is to discover it.
In every crisis, the reason is there. Our challenge is to understand it.
By seeing the goodness, we'll be very enthusiastic and our lives will be richer.