Last night, as the City Council’s final review of the planners’ “Strategic Framework” for the revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE) got underway, four Council members were out of sorts.
At the previous review, they had voted to approve increases in height and density limits, as recommended by the planners. And they had prevailed: 4-3 . They were winners! But they were not happy.
Apparently, not everyone was pleased with their vote. Perhaps they got emails. Or phone calls. It wasn’t clear. Of the four, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom was the most vociferous, but he wasn’t very
Surely, he must have noticed at some point or other that a great many residents want less of everything, not more. So he couldn’t have been surprised that not everyone liked his vote for more.
And, in fact, he wasn’t surprised.He was outraged, Bloom does outrage well, And often. He is particularly outraged by challenges to his authority. As he famously said, during the ficus tree war, “When a decision is made, it must be respected.”
The other YAYs – Mayor Herb Katz and Council members Bob Holbrook and Pam O’Connor — share Bloom’s view, but their reactions are milder, though O’Connor is inclined to explain, at length and often, how the “process” works, and the Council’s rights and powers as “policy makers.”
In this instance, in addition to resenting the challenge to their
authority, the four were also disturbed that people didn’t understand that their vote for more was not binding, and was by no means the final vote. They suggested that the media probably didn’t make that clear.
But, as Council members Ken Genser and Bobby Shriver, who had voted NAY, pointed out, the vote for increased height and density, as ecommended by the staff, now has added weight and legitimacy, and, as Shriver said, “momentum.”
Genser and Shriver are right, of course, and Bloom, Holbrook, Katz and O’Connor know it, and that’s what made all that outrage and righteous indignation and hurt feelings such a waste of their gall and our time.