(June 18, 2003) -- Leaders of a grassroots group whose membership spans the 8th and 9th Council districts have issued a joint letter opposing a city management-favored plan to merge all LB Redevelopment Project areas.
In a letter to Councilmembers, members of the Board of Directors of the North Long Beach Community Action Group declaring their "opposition to the merging of the various Redevelopment Project Area Committees' (PACís) money."
LBReport.com posts the letter text verbatim below.
The NLB Community Action Group leaders call "study" of the issue "a further waste of our tax monies," putting the word "study" in quotes in referring to city management's proposed "redevelopment strategy" that City Hall proposes to create for itself while proceeding toward a merger.
As previously reported by LBReport.com the Redevelopment Agency Board narrowly approved city staff's proposal to initiate steps to pursue the merger on 4-3 vote. Whether that approach continues may turn on whom the Council permits the Mayor to appoint to vacancies on the Redevelopment Agency Board. The Mayor has refused to appoint two individuals whose names were presented to her, under current city law, by the Central Redevelopment Project Area Committee. Instead, the Mayor has insisted that the Council change the law -- retroactively -- to provide her with more nominees.
At the June 17 Council meeting, the Mayor said her desire was to promote diversity, which prompted open disbelief from 7th district Councilwoan Tonia Reyes-Uranga, the Council's only current Latina. Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga called the Mayor's attempt to change the law "very, very, very political."
When 9th district Councilman Val Lerch also dissented from the Mayor's position, Mayor O'Neill declared, "[t]his community being the most diverse does not need every PAC [Project Area Committee] to present names of white males." (The Council voted 6-3 to direct the City Attorney to draft a change in city law that does what the Mayor wants; Councilmembers Reyes-Uranga, Webb and Lerch voted no. The law requires further Council votes to enact.)
Among NLBCAG Board members voting to send the letter opposing the Redevelopment Area merger is the group's recently elected president, LaRose Hodges. Ms. Hodges is an 8th district resident...and an African American woman.
Others opposing the merger include Christopher Hicks and Dan Schulz, Jennifer Snelgrove, Richard Clapp, Loretta Boras and Martha Sims-Green (boardmember at the time of writing the letter and chosen by current NLBCAG board to be its rep. on the NLB PAC).
The text of the NLB Community Action Group letter follows below: