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Mayor O'Neill -- Denied Retroactive Appointive Power By Council -- Again Seeks More Nominees For Redevelopment Agency Board From Central PAC; We Post Her Letter
(August 4, 2003) -- Despite the City Council's refusal (8-1, Richardson dissenting) to grant LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill retroactive power to fill a pivotal Redevelopment Agency board vacancy, effectively requiring her to appoint from among "two or more" nominees forwarded to her by the Central Project Area Committee (or remaining nominees by the other PACs) with a controversial merger proposal pending, Mayor O'Neill has again asked the PAC to provide her with four nominees from whom to choose.
Following the bruising July 22 Council vote, Mayor O'Neill indicated she planned to send a letter -- again -- seeking additional nominees from the Central PAC.
And she has. LBReport.com has obtained a copy of the Mayor's letter and posts it in full on a link below. In pertinent part it states:
The Central Long Beach Project Area Committee (C-PAC) had submitted two (2) names for consideration for membership to the RDA for an existing vacancy. The names submitted were Donald Darnauer and Alan Burks. Both have indicated their continued interest in remaining candidates for this position.
As mentioned in my closing comments at the July 22nd Council meeting, I hope that the C-PAC will resubmit their recommendations and possibly provide more than two (2) names for consideration as the C-PAC representative on the RDA."
Whether the divisive controversy continues now effectively shifts to the City Council...which has the ultimate authority over who will fill the RDA board slot with a high stakes merger potentially in the balance. An RDA board appointee requires approval by a majority vote of the City Council.
At July 22 Council meeting, Vice Mayor Frank Colonna and Councilman Dennis Carroll signaled a future fight if a PAC nominated RDA appointee didn't pass muster with them. Noting accurately that the Council has the last word on who is and isn't confirmed to sit on the RDA Board, Councilman Carroll said, "It's my view the PACs have too much authority over this process. It unduly restricts the discretion of both the Mayor and the Council" and asked Assistant City Attorney Heather Mahood what would happen if the Council rejected the two nominees forwarded to the Mayor.
Ms. Mahood said, "In that event, we would go back to the PACs and ask for brand new names...presently as the ordinance stands, two more names, at least two more names..."
Vice Mayor Colonna indicated that with nearly $100 million at stake, he intends to use his Council vote on the RDA Board appointment to do what he thinks is in the best interest of the entire city.
I'm very much concerned because hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake here, so this is no small game to be played. It's very clear to me, and I will go on record, that if there isn't what I feel to be the right thing accomplished through this entire process, I plan to make a very strong statement as to how this is brought forward when this item comes again in terms of the nominations, because I really support and maintain the integrity and the position of the Mayor to have the desire of what the Mayor would like to see, not creating or being forced into a situation that continues to move in a direction where I think some members want it to go just because it's a matter of technicality...My concern is about what's the best for what's going to happen to our city as whole and that's what is important to me as a third district Councilmember, and so I want to try to do the right thing, but I will not be drawn into a corner and be forced to do something that I think is against the best interest of our entire city.
To view Mayor O'Neill's letter, click Mayor O'Neill Aug. 1/03 letter to C-PAC.