The Inner Harbor Specific Plan (IHSP) task-force the city created as a visioning process had its most recent meeting on Tuesday, March 11th. In a very well attended meeting, task-force members were given a continuing schedule of meetings barely two weeks apart with any attendance issues being potentially solved by making the meetings a week apart. How are true representatives, versus individuals without input from their various groups, going to go back to their groups and organizations, update them as to meeting developments, solicit input and gather input before the next round of meetings?
The California State Lands
Commission (SLC) meets at most once a month and generally every other month. The next meeting is April 23rd. In addition there is a
calendaring process that sometimes precludes issues from being heard for
several meetings. The commissioners have yet to even have the issue
of Docktown on granted lands (a highly influential factor in the IHSP) presented
to them. In fact SLC staff admitted that the Commission was not involved
in the staff’s recent letter suggesting Docktown be moved, nor does staff know or
believe that the Commission "has ever taken a position in regard to
liveabords and residential use of houseboats on trust lands."
Such a huge policy determination of immense statewide impact can only be made by Commission of elected representatives, not staff who are neither elected nor appointed to a policy role. And yet, the SLC staff wrote the City a letter, that was subsequently given to task-force members, making it appear to be a foregone conclusion, that Docktown be moved. Solutions including grandfathering and special legislation like the 1983 “Save Pete’s Harbor” legislation have yet to be discussed. To decide this issue they need a public hearing, study session and Commissioner action. How can the SLC respond to a process that is deliberately set to go faster than they can react?
Requests for realistic time frames were met with the setting of artificial deadlines and the magic word momentum. In addition to government jurisdictional issues, in an area that already floods periodically, how are we going to adequately consider issues such as sea level rise by maintaining momentum. Momentum led San Diego to approve a half a billion dollar Convention Center expansion that could be underwater by 2050. ( http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/nov/15/flood-maps-raise-questions-about-san-diego-convent/) The reality is that momentum isn’t the right word, steamrolling is.
When the leaders of a group have a desired outcome in mind, steamrolling becomes the way to make sure that result is obtained. Public input and feedback are limited if not outright sidelined. After the initial already shortened public comment period, at the last IHSP meeting public comment was essentially not allowed. Instead it was requested that the public send comments in writing. These are my comments.
What do you think? Should a city visioning process be designed to respect other government agencies' response times or should a city just steamroll over everyone including the general public?