Planning Commission and Incest
I'll bet you're wondering what I thought of the Planning Commission meeting on Monday night. Well, it was an interesting evening from several standpoints.
EARLY START - NO MEAL
First, it began a half-hour earlier, at 6:00 p.m. instead of 6:30. And, it apparently was preceded by a meal-less pre-meeting because at one commission member mentioned it. It's a good thing they didn't have anything too challenging or they would have been even more grumpy.
KICKING THE CAN
Much of the evening was spent virtually kicking the can down the street, as several applicants requested extensions on their development plans... they can't round up any money! That shouldn't surprise anyone.
TRINITY CHRISTIAN CENTER
Perhaps the most interesting actual issue was the subject of the Zoning Application for Trinity Christian Center involving special events and on-site food preparation. Some will remember that TBN, the owners of that megawatt monstrosity on Bear Street at the 405 Freeway, have been far from good neighbors. There have been issues of noise, lights, etc. for years. In fact, they've bought out many of the offended neighbors and now have a slew of homes that abut their property that they use for who-knows-what purposes.
HE'S A SMOOTH-TALKING GUY...
Anyhow, their consultant, Steve Sheldon of the Sheldon Group, is one smooth operator and he managed to sweet talk the commission into buying their position. I, of course, recognized Sheldon from previous presentations before the commission and the City Council. I did a little checking up and found an interesting fact.
SHELDON PITCHES TO HIS OWN CLIENTS!
See this image of the Sheldon Group's client list above us here? Well, as you slide up to fourth from the bottom you will come to the to the name of "SunCal Companies". If that doesn't ring a bell, let me refresh your memory. Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer and commissioner Steve Mensinger both are presently presidents of two different divisions of that self-same SunCal Companies! So, we have Sheldon, the consultant, making a pitch for his client, Trinity Christian Center, to two of his own clients sitting on the commission. I've mentioned before that I don't like a Planning Commission that is controlled by developers - this is a perfect example of why! It's an incestuous business, where everybody knows and deals with everybody else. Makes on wonder how any kind of objective, fair decisions can be expected with this kind of a situation, doesn't it? Makes me wonder if the city is getting a fair shake...
DOING THEIR PART - OR NOT
The Planning Commission meeting ended on a humorous note when Colin McCarthy suggested that, in light of the current fiscal distress our city finds itself in, the commission might wish to trim or give up entirely their stipend for each meeting. Presently, they receive $200 per meeting. That brought an amusing exchange between McCarthy and Mensinger, during which Mensinger touted his community service and tallied up his financial contributions for all to hear. What a guy!
SHALLOW GESTURE, BUT BETTER THAN NONE AT ALL
The upshot of the discussion was that McCarthy chose to contribute half his stipend to youth sports activities. None of the other commissioners seemed interested in making such a gesture.
NEXT MEETING A MONTH FROM NOW
I don't know the result of the joint Study Session with the City Council this evening, but will report when I have information. The next Planning Commission meeting will be a month from now - they don't have enough work to keep them busy two meetings a month.