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Counting on LAFCO

Carmel Pine Cone, Dec. 8, 2006

Dear Editor:

I would like to comment on some of the public reactions to the decisions made by LAFCO at the Oct. 18 hearing on Carmel Valley incorporation.

For well over a month now, we have been bombarded by press report about how LAFCO sold out the people’s right to vote by imposing an “arbitrary” EIR requirement. The commissioners have been variously described as shills for developers, a disgrace to their office and hapless dupes of the Great Satan, Tony Lombardo.

In contrast, I recall the actual hearing, in which LAFCO commissioners discussed their obligations and the concern they had with specific problem areas in the executive officer’s report. To reinforce these recollections, I listened for hours to the tape recording of the entire procedure, which is available through the LAFCO office.

After listening to the public comments on the subject, commissioners discussed their own views on the incorporation and its report. They spoke of concerns about boundaries, about the adequacies of the fiscal data, about social and cultural differences in the valley, about the handling of requests for exclusion, about impacts of the county, about indemnification requirements, about meeting state housing mandates … and about the inappropriateness of a negative declaration in the face of these complex and interrelated matters. Little or any of this has been mentioned in the letters and editorials that have been published so far.

The members of LAFCO need to know that not everyone has been taken in by these partisan attacks. They had a job to do and they did it. The design of LAFCO makes them responsible for approving the final incorporation proposal. The executive officer’s report was the first comprehensive view of the project in its entirety. They found it wanting in several respects, and so voted. This was not arrogance on their part. It was an exercise in judgment born of their experience as mayors, county supervisors, district officials and the public at large. This is a combination of experience in local government intended to bring a broad view to bear on the final decision. As expected, this was what they provided.

For this, LAFCO commissioners have been taking a lot of heat. Despite the name-calling and threats of litigation, however, that responsibility remains undiminished. We count on their continued resolve to produce a final report that is worthy of being sent to the polls for a vote.

Mel Steckler
Carmel Valley

Last Updated: Dec 06, 08

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