(October 22, 2003, updated Oct. 23) -- Lewis Lester, who is leading the fight against merging LB's Redevelopment Project Areas, has announced he has formed an exploratory committee to weigh a run for the 6th district City Council seat in April 2004.
Mr. Lester, an outspoken critic of City Hall policies elected in July as Vice Chair of LB's Central Redevelopment Project Area Committee, joins Regina Chaney and Dee Andrews who've expressed their interest in unseating Richardson.
Mr. Lester said he believes neither candidate has been visible or vocal on issues facing the central area...and notes that neither spoke at the showdown Oct. 21 City Council meeting at which Mr. Lester testified. At that meeting, Councilwoman Richardson brought a motion -- first described in a memo released at the Council meeting after 10 p.m. -- recommending an independent study of redevelopment that includes a study of merger and expansion.
LBReport.com has posted the memo verbatim in pdf form.
Mr. Lester, along with several project area committee members and other civic activists, are disturbed by Councilwoman Richardson's Oct. 21 motion -- which was adopted on a sharply split 5-3 vote -- to move forward on the study of redevelopment that includes merger and expansion. Mr. Lester told LBReport.com that "the Project Area Committees and members of the community had been seeking a study of redevelopment, not merger or expansion."
Mr. Lester said he'd never supported the call for an independent study and added, "The need for a study no longer exists." He added:
"For two years, Laura Richardson has promoted merger and expansion by telling us that pooling project areas would bring more spending to our district. But new data from the County Assessor indicates that some $20 million is available for spending in the Central area right now. Richardson's study will hold up our access to that money and may even take it away from us if there's a merger. It's an insult to all people who supported an independent study of redevelopment."
Mr. Lester founded Citizens Against Merger and Expansion, heads the LB Safe Streets Foundation and teaches 7th-grade social studies. In his written release, Mr. Lester says: