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Councilwoman Kell abruptly removes her agendized park protection ballot measure from agenda at July 24 Council meeting

Tells several Councilmembers asked her to do so; says it will likely return in late summer/late August

(July 24, 2001) -- 5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell abruptly removed from Council discussion at the July 24 Council meeting her own agendized request that Councilmembers support a ballot measure to limit future building in park property to recreational use.

The item sought Councilmembers' support "for a motion to request the City Attorney's office prepare a ballot measure for the next citywide decide if all future building on City park property only be allowed if it were deemed to be for recreational use."

Reached late in the evening after the Council meeting, Councilwoman Kell told several Council members (whom she declined to name) asked her to "pull" (i.e. remove) the item from discussion.

As reasons for removing her own item, Councilwoman Kell cited Councilmembers' upcoming vacations that could prevent some from taking part in coming meetings [note: all were present on July 24], uncertainty over whether her item would be sent to the Charter Amendment Committee or to the Housing and Neighborhoods Committee, a pending report by Parks and Rec Director Phil Hester and a so-called "parks in perpetuity" measure [a Muni Code amendment suggested last year by Councilman Ray Grabinski; it doesn't forbid future non-recreational uses in parks but could give the public more chances to object the next time City Hall does this].

Councilwoman Kell also noted that tonight's Council meeting capped a long, tense day in which Councilmembers wrestled for hours at a special afternoon meeting over redrawing Council district lines, then journeyed to Bixby Knolls to attend tonight's main Council meeting (which began at 6:30 p.m.) at the Petroleum Club in the 8th district.

On July 17, Councilwoman Kell voted with an 8-1 Council majority (Grabinski dissenting) to rezone 2.5 acres of Scherer park land as "institutional" to accommodate a permanent, expanded police facility. Before casting her vote, she vowed to agendize at the next Council meeting discussion of a ballot measure to ensure this was the last time park land was taken for non-recreational purposes.

After agendizing, then removing, her item for Council discussion, Councilwoman Kell told she expected it would return in late summer, perhaps sometime in late August.

When asked if she still meant to ban future building in parks for non recreational purposes, Councilwoman Kell replied, "Absolutely,"

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