DID YOU KNOW That Another Word for Momentum is Steamrolling?

Inner Harbor Specific Plan meeting March 11th, 2014
Inner Harbor Specific Plan meeting March 11th, 2014

     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?

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Claire Felong March 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM
I agree Tania. Docktown is the splinter in the eye that is being talked around, but never addressed. Perhaps it is time for a local measure on this issue to bring it to the fore.
Jim Clifford March 18, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Says "the use of houseboats on trust lands." First question - are we dealing with amphibians? Are the boats landlocked? Can the SLC be trusted if it doesn't know land from water? Guess this is lawyer talk.


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