At Meeting She Organized And Ran, Councilwoman Mungo Combined Accurate Information With Inaccurate/Misleading Information Re LUE, Density Increase Maps And SB 35...And Declined To Commit On What Portions Of Latest Density Increase Maps She Would Vote To Oppose Or Might Accept
|(Nov. 28, 2017, 10:25 a.m.) -- At the second of three 5th district meetings organized by her office, Councilwoman Stacy Mungo told over 200 people who came to Millikan High School's cafeteria [with the caveat that she can't know for sure due to the Brown Act] that she believes the City Council is likely to vote to approve some version of city staff proposed density increase maps, perhaps with some changes. Councilwoman Mungo also declined to commit on what portions of the latest city staff-proposed density increase maps she would vote to oppose or might accept.
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Parts of Councilwoman Mungo's presentation were accurate, but some salient portions were not (detailed below.)
Accurate portions included her acknowledgment that the Council will have the choice of approving some version of density increase maps or could vote to "receive and file" the LUE and its maps (effectively taking no action on them.) When Councilwoman Mungo asked the audience for a show of hands on whether they favor retaining the 5th district's current building heights and density, virtually all those in the room raised their hands. Councilwoman Mungo responded by stating that some people (whom she didn't name) weren't present in the room and might not support the status quo...and stopped short of supporting status quo 5th district building heights and current density herself.
Some in the audience (who had no microphone; Councilwoman Mungo used one and didn't share it) shouted that she was preparing to settle for some type of compromise that would leave the 5th district with increased building heights and/or density increases. Councilwoman Mungo denied this but added that she wouldn't say what she would or wouldn't do (saying she didn't want to "show her hand") which drew some audience applause.
Instead, Councilwoman Mungo invited residents to place stick-on arrows on maps to choose areas where they most oppose increased density and building heights, which many of those at the meeting did.
In response to audience shouts about the effects of SB 35 (details here), Councilwoman Mungo said state laws can change on any day. She told residents to call their state lawmakers...without mentioning that she is one of three LB Councilmembers on the Council's State Legislation Committee that failed to ensure the City opposed SB 35, after recommending policies (adopted by the full Council) that said the City would oppose legislation harmful to local control. Instead, the City took a "neutral" position on SB 35 and didn't oppose the bill...while the State Legislation Committee raised no objections and failed to meet on SB 35 or any Sacramento matters between Jan. 10 and November 21. (Sacramento's legislative session ended on September 15 with passage of SB 35 and other housing related bills.)
During the same period, Councilwoman Mungo (or any Councilmember) could have agendized a Council agenda item to specifically oppose SB 35; neither she nor any other Councilmember did so.
Roughly a third of Councilwoman Mungo's "Fifth District LUE Fact Sheet" includes statements that we consider misleading on SB 35. For details on SB 35 -- including its full text -- click here.
The "5th District LUE Fact Sheet" also inaccurately states (echoed by Councilwoman Mungo in her verbal presentation) that ["Fact Sheet" text]: "August 17, 2017 -- Planning Commission instructed Development Services to spread density increases across all districts, resulting in a revised LUE map for the 5th District that significantly increased density." This is simply untrue...and doesn't accurately indicate Councilwoman Mungo's record in the LUE proceeding.
In February 2017 and April 2017, after Wrigley residents objected, a number of Planning Commissioners urged city staff to allocate more density to East Long Beach. On June 15, 2017, city staff released revised LUE maps proposing to significantly increase density in parts of East Long Beach, including the 5th district. Councilwoman Mungo didn't oppose those maps -- or prior LUE and building height/density increase maps released over two years earlier -- until after a groundswell of residents' opposition in August-September 2017 (that she initially tried to downplay.)
After taking office in mid-July 2014, Councilwoman Mungo voiced no public opposition when city staff released a draft LUE with density maps in May 2015 (reported by LBREPORT.com at that time.) She voiced no opposition when staff tweaked its LUE maps in August 2016 in response to public input in other areas of town (including the 3rd Council district.) She voiced no public opposition when the LUE and maps came to the Planning Commission for voted action on February 2, 2017 that could have sent them to the LB City Council for final approval (wrapping up the entire issue up by mid-2017 before approaching elections.)
Instead, Councilwoman Mungo tried to disparage accurate information about then-advancing maps and Planning Commission developments offered by 5th district resident Corliss Lee (LBREPORT.com coverage here.) In early June, Councilwoman Mungo signaled her support for the then-advancing city staff maps LBREPORT.com coverage here.) She likewise voiced no opposition to those maps at a June 13 City Council study session on the LUE.
Two days later, on June 15, city staff released revised maps proposing even greater increased building heights and mixed used densities than it previously proposed in East Long Beach including the 5th Council district. Grassroots residents began organizing in opposition (including the Eastside Voice, founded by Ms. Lee, and a separate group, Density Watch.)
In mid-September, Councilwoman Mungo tried to quell growing grassroots opposition by trying to downplay the significance of the LUE and its accompanying maps ("This does not change zoning." Source: Sept. 16 Density Watch meeting, LBREPORT.com coverage ere.) At the same meeting, she claimed she couldn't legally comment on specifics of the maps (contradicted by the City Attorney) while accusing grassroots residents of spreading inaccuracies.
In early October, after grassroots activists effectively forced city staff to agree to holding "Town Hall" type meetings on the LUE, councilwoman Mungo adjusted her public message. She recited in her Oct. 3 emailed "Neighborly News" that "I will NOT support increasing density in the 5th District" and she has since displayed a poster at meetings stating "I will not support increased density in the 5th district" and "Let's work together to protect the character of our residential neighborhoods."
At her Nov. 27 meeting (and at a similar Nov. 22 meeting), Councilwoman Mungo reiterated this message in urging 5th district residents to call other Council offices, which she said had already resulted in calls to those offices.
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