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    Aug. 28 QW Bay Developments:

    Activists prompt Council not to hold agendized closed meeting on proposed QW Bay tidelands swap

  • At main public Council meeting, City Mgr. delivers promised report on proposed tidelands swap and includes QW Bay status
  • City Mgr. stresses QW Bay retail & ent'ment project is fully entitled and permitted to proceed, cites specific reference in the original 1994 plan to a theater and in subsequent documents to a cinema
  • City Mgr. says he and Mayor met with State Lands Comm'n member Lt. Gov. Bustamante after SLC meeting to discuss QW Bay
  • City Mgr. says Council gave him authority to negotiate in closed session but item agendized for that date raises more questions
  • Activists charge City Hall violated Brown Act (open meeting law) in the conduct of its closed sessions on QW Bay
  • Some speakers support paying developer to leave rather than proceed with current QW Bay retail/ent'ment project; one activist says she'd fire City Mgr.
  • City Mgr. tells Council he'll present QW Bay voted action item on Sept. 11 with responses to charges leveled by public
  • (Aug. 28, 2001 events, posted Sept. 4) -- At the City Council's August 28 meeting, local charged City Hall had violated the Brown Act (CA open meetings law) in actions surrounding a proposed tidelands trust swap concerning QW Bay, with some speakers proposing the city pay the developer to leave rather than proceed with the planned retail and entertainment project and one saying she'd fire the City Manager.

    At the meeting, City Manager Henry Taboada delivered a promised verbal report on the proposed tidelands exchange, stressing that said the QW Bay retail and entertainment plan was fully entitled and permitted to proceed and citing specific references in the original 1994 QW Bay plan to a theater and in subsequent documents to a cinema.

    Closed session cancelled

    Events began with a dramatic dramatic turn at mid-afternoon as veteran area activists Bry Myown, Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, John Donaldson and Doug Korthof used permitted public testimony before the start of an agendized closed session item on QW Bay (agendized text below) to urge the Council to cancel the closed meeting.

    The item as agendized was:

    1. Closed session pursuant to Section 54956.8 of the California Government Code for the purpose of a conference with the City's real property negotiator Henry Taboada, City Manager, between City of Long Beach and State of California concerning the terms of exchange of real property for the Queensway Bay Retail Project.

    The 2:30 p.m. closed session was scheduled for a 13th floor conference room but was moved to the main City Council chamber after City Hall learned members of the public planned to show up.

    And activists Myown, Wilson-Kleekamp, Donaldson and Korthof did show up and objected, variously arguing that the meeting did not have to be held in secret and the agendized notice was deficient under the Brown Act for failing to properly identify the property on the agenda (which only identified QW Bay, not L.A. river area parcels involved in a proposed exchange.)

    While not conceding Brown Act deficiencies, the Council (motion by Councilman Ray Grabinski, seconded by Vice Mayor Dan Baker in whose district the QW Bay project is located) voted 7-0 (Carroll and Richardson-Batts absent) to adjourn the meeting before going into closed session.

    A few hours later at the main evening Council meeting, several of the activists returned and, augmented by others, pressed their criticism at the main evening Council meeting in connection with an agendized report by City Manager Henry Taboada on the proposed QW Bay tidelands property swap and the status of the QW Bay retail and entertainment project.

    Prior to presentation of his report, activist John Donaldson came to the podium during the period for public commenton non-agenda items, triggering a colloquy with the Mayor:

    John Donaldson: ...I have heard a rumor, and seen it around several times, that there was a meeting that took place earlier this year between you Beverly [Mayor O'Neill], Henry [City Mgr. Taboada], Lt. Gov. Bustamante and for some reason, Steve James of the POA [Pres., LB Police Officers Ass'n.] I have been told that it didn't happen. Did it happen, Beverly?

    Mayor O'Neill: I think that when we have the [City Mgr's] report this evening, you will get your answer on that, being as it is an agenda item, we will discuss that and that will be answered.

    Mr. Donaldson: That meeting, whether it took place or not?

    Mayor O'Neill: I wasn't at Council meeting, because it did take place. [caveat, see Mayor further below]

    Mr. Donaldson: OK. Thank you.

    Mayor O'Neill: I'm not saying who, I don't think Mr. James was there. Steve James wasn't there.

    In this atmosphere, following some intervening agenda items, the Council eventually reached the QW Bay item and the Mayor invited the City Manager's report.

    City Manager's report

    As promised at the August 21 Council meeting and agendized for the August 28 public meeting, City Manager Taboda presented an oral report on the proposed tidelands exchange. He included a status report on the QW Bay project which stressed that the project was fully entitled and cited specific references indicating the plan at its 1994 adoption, and in subsequent documents, included a theater.

    Reading from prepared talking points, the City Manager said in pertinent part:

    ...The Queensway Bay Development Plan as proposed includes Phase 1, largely publicly funded with emphasis on infrastructure and public facilities, completed in June of 1998. That includes (a) the construction of a new commercial harbor, (b) the construction of the south shore where the Queen Mary is located, (c) construction of an events park and (d) the construction of the Aquarium and parking structure.

    Phase 2, the issue at hand, involves the development of approximately half a million square feet of restaurant, entertainment and retail uses on the 4 acres along the waterfront and 14 acres located northerly of Shoreline Drive, for a total of 18 acres.

    I must stress that the project is fully entitled. The City Council formally approved the Queensway Bay Master Plan prepared by Ehrenkrantz and Eckstut on March 1, 1994. That plan contained a project description which included a 125,000 square foot theater.

    The Planning Commission certified the EIR for the Queensway Bay Master Plan on December 19, 1994.

    On April 29, 1997, the City Council selected Oliver McMillan to develop the project and prepare and negotiate the business terms. The project description included an 87,500 square foot cinema.

    On April 2, 1998, the Planning Commission certified the negative declaration and approved the Queensway Bay site plan.

    Action was taken on August 10, 1998 to approve the Disposition and Development Agreement or DDA, and this is the date that the project was actually turned over to the developer.

    Now the EIR covered all land use issues. The EIR anticipated uses included in the development of approximately 500,000 square foot of retail and entertainment uses, including a movie use. The traffic analysis addressed a movie theater, restaurants, clubs, taverns, museums, Aquarium, retail, park uses, hotels and other water related uses.

    Now the Local Coastal Plan and PD [Planned Development] was submitted to the Coastal Commission on February 3, 1999. The Coastal Commission approved the Queensway Bay project in concept subject to conditions, and the Coastal Development Permit was issued on April 26, 2001.

    The project description identified a sixteen screen movie theater and one large format cinema as approved elements of the project.

    ...[Indicates State Lands Commission (SLC) held public workshop in LB on July 20, 2000 in response to citizens who believed Phase 2 of the QW Bay project was not in conformance with tidelands public trust doctrine; indicates SLC staff issued report saying within specific context of QW Bay Development Plan, Phase 2 uses are not barred by public trust doctrine and may be considered necessarily incidental to the enjoyment of public tidelands and recommended SLC take no further action on the matter.]

    The recommendation by SLC staff at the [SLC] meeting on April 24, 2001 was not acted upon and the matter was deferred to the next meeting of the Commission.

    Now with regard to the meeting with the Lt. Governor, and let me say for the record, that the last conversation I had with the Lt. Governor where I invited him to come to Long Beach to view the project personally, he informed me that he had never ever been to Long Beach and still, to my knowledge, has never been in the City of Long Beach.

    In an effort to resolve the uncertainty created by the Commission's not bringing closure to this issue, the Mayor and I met with Lt. Governor Bustamante, who serves as a member and chair of the SLC, on May 8 in Sacramento. At that meeting, the Lt. Gov. said that while he supported the QW Bay project, some form of mitigation such as a property exchange should be explored with SLC staff in order to allay the concerns expressed by the Commissioners at their meeting.

    On May 14, a follow-up meeting was also held with Lt. Governor's staff and the Executive Officer and staff of SLC by me to discuss the specifics of such a mitigation effort.

    Now with regard to the issue of a closed session, once the specific elements of such a land exchange were determined, I met in closed session on July 10 with the City Council, where I sought and obtained Council authorization to proceed and negotiate the details of a statutory land exchange with SLC staff. After 30 days of lengthy internal negotiations, SLC Executive Officer wrote on August 10 that staff is prepared to recommend approval of the exchange at the next scheduled meeting, now set for September 17 in Sacramento.

    Additionally, we have now received Mr. [Paul] Thayer's staff report, he's the [Executive] Director of the [State Lands] Commission, which recommends the Commission's approval of the exchange, and the report says in part that "staff believes and the fact support that the proposed exchange is consistent with the Public Trust needs in the area."

    ...[Mr. Taboada then displayed maps depicting the sites and acreage of the proposed exchange. We will post them on a link here shortly.]

    ...The City will continue to hold title to all parcels. Only the approved uses are affected. With regard to the parcels along the Los Angeles River, a trust designation will most certainly guarantee that these will be only used for wetlands, parks and open space.

    ...With regard to Lt. Governor Bustamante, I might add that I do recall, and I think Councilmember Shultz will recall, that he did come to the event held for the Veterans Day Parade in North Long Beach but I think that was after this meeting.

    The Mayor then invited public testimony. The transcript excerpts below are not official and not all speakers are indicated:

    Bry Myown

    ...I want first to thank all of you who voted this afternoon to cancel today's closed session meeting. As you know, serious questions have been raised about whether some of you have engaged in improper lobbying or unauthorized negotiations. Proper or not, your actions have not been public.

    Public knowledge is limited by your willingness to answer our questions and by what your agendas disclose as governed by the Public Records and Brown Acts, which some may think are mere technicalities and some think are Holy Grails, but they're really only the minimum standards that the people of California find acceptable regarding how you conduct our business.

    This afternoon, I asked the City Clerk's office for a copy of every closed session agenda that had been produced since April 24, which was [the date of] the State Lands Commission meeting where this land swap was first discussed in general terms...

    What the City Clerk purported to me was a copy of every such agenda does not include any such agenda for this July 10 closed session meeting that you have referenced...

    Queensway Bay is a no small thing. It raises public trust and constitutional issues...[and]...this Brown Act business is going to be resolved while you all are in office. And to my knowledge, if there is no agenda of any such closed session meeting, none of these negotiations have been proper.

    ...Mr. Shannon [City Att'y] is obliged to give you a different interpretaion, but I want to repeat what I said, and what he said, this afternoon. I'm sure he's never instructed you that the law requires you to do any of this in closed session or prevents you from doing it in public. And these are our assets that we're talking about.

    Now what is truly petty about Public Records and Brown Act laws is the sanctions they afford. What's monumental is how hard it is for those of us in the public to pursue them.

    Am I going to go there? I never have. I've watched a majority of this body come here prepared to discuss a 2 1/2% utility tax cut, for example, without amending the agendized motion. I've watched a redistricting plan introduced with the statement that it was supported by a majority of the members of this legislative body. So am I going to sue over this Queensway Bay item?

    No. The question is, am I going to sue over what appears to be a continuing pattern of misconduct.

    Now this is far too serious an issue of public land setting a precedent that will affect the entire coastline and several other California cities. Please, let's just do this publicly so that it doesn't even invite this kind of speculation on the public's part. Thank you.

    Gary Shelton

    ...I'd like to hear a submotion which would be to direct the City Manager to cease negotiations with the California State Lands Commission...The State Lands Commission staff tells the Commissioners that these benefits [public benefits section of State Lands Commission staff report] are your experessed intent for doing this exchange, the only reasons that you have for asking the Commission to address this question.

    Now let's take a look at what you'll be saying...The Lands [Commission] staff has been led to believe that these are your reasons for the exchange. Because of that, you have to be able to support them [these reasons]...

    ...Councilwoman Kell, if Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante were to ask you, what benefit is a 15 screen theater in Queensway Bay and what benefit would that be to the public? According to this document, your answer has to be, well, Lt. Governor, I believe that a 15 screen theater in Queensway Bay will create a premium world class attraction for southern California...Now do you really believe a 15 screen theater is going to create a premiere world class attraction?...

    ...Now, Councilwoman Batts, try this one on for size...the State Commissioners might ask you, what's your reason for this exchange? And it's hard to imagine that you can sincerely say, that my intent is to put a book store in Queensway Bay because that will strengthen our position as a major center of commerce, entertainment and recreation within the greater Los Angeles area.

    And if you look at the other four reasons...they just can't be defended any better...

    Traci Wilson-Kleekamp

    ...One of the things I care a lot about is doing the public's business in public. And right off the bat, it kind of bothers me that we can't get a back up [city staff] report till we get here...

    ...About your closed session, I really do hope that you have a document that backs up that closed session, and if that's the case, when the public was coming down and asking when was this authorized, I don't know why you didn't say [it was] July 10. I don't know why no one would ever answer when that question was asked, who authorized you to make those negotiations about the land swap.

    And furthermore, I don't know why the land swap was never brought before the public to talk about in the first place, because maybe people don't want you swapping the land. Maybe they don't like that. And I think that all of a sudden, we're all wondering, where's the public benefit of this project?...

    ...And the last thing I want to say is, again about the land swap and doing the public's business in public. Henry [addressing City Manager], I don't know why, if it's not the 911, if it isn't the [natural] gas [utility] issue, we always find out later that there's something that you should have told us that you didn't tell us in the beginning.

    And if I worked at a private company, and you were my employee and you didn't tell me everything, I'd fire you.

    Lester Denevan

    ...I'm opposed to this project...[T]his finally did get to the Lands Commission, and who brought it before the Lands Commission? Myself and a few citizens that attended several Lands Commission meetings and brought this to their attention. And this is on their agenda now for next month, not because of the City Manager or the city staff but because of citizenry concerned about this matter...

    ...I would suggest to the developer that he's going to be twisting in the wind as a consequence of mismanagement by the City Council and its staff. For example...the Environmental Impact Report of 1994, which was just mentioned [by the City Manager], it provided for 12 acres of park on Pier J. How many acres were built? 4 acres.

    Also, the plan is being changed from what was approved in 1994 and I think that you'd do the developer a favor by doing the business with the Lands Commission in public and not hiding things from the citizenry, which are very concerned about this matter. Thank you.

    Mayor O'Neill: Thank you, Mr. Denevan, you always do good research.

    John Donaldson

    I think we're finally beginning to understand this issue. What the July 10 agenda does say, is it doesn't say anything about closed session in regard to real property negotiation. It says closed session in regard to possible or potential litigation...

    ...You can't go into closed session and discuss litigation and then turn around and talk about real property negotiations. That's not what the Brown Act says that you can do.

    And you all really need to consider what you're doing in closed session, 'cause I kept asking myself, what is the harm? Why does this City Council need protection to discuss this issue? What is the harm to us taxpayers? It's not the price of the property and it can't be any terms of real estate negotiation.

    So something else has to be going on. And thank you, [City Mgr] Henry, for finally telling us...

    ...I can only speak as a resident in this community for 22 years...I can tell you that I don't know very many people who will come visit this destination as it's now planned who live in this city. And most of the people I talk to in our district, Jackie [5th district Councilwoman Kell], don't care much for this project...

    Why don't you just give this up? You know, I've never advocated that you spend any money needlessly, but hell, if DDR wants five or ten million bucks to get out of town, give it to 'em. It's a cheap price to pay for not building something that is going to destroy the economy as our downtown as poor as it is right now...

    This is a bad idea. Don't do this land swap. Say, go away DDR, and if we get in a lawsuit, hell, you got a lawyer over here [City Attorney Shannon] who says he wins 98% of his cases. Let him go to bat for us. Thank you.

    Robert Lamond

    ...I don't like the land swap, because I think it sets a dangerous precedent for other portions of our coastline. Additionally, I think the development of the Queensway Bay should be incremental beginning south of Shoreline Dr.

    Don May, California EarthCorps

    ...In '92, '93, when this was first being talked about and when there was some broad consensus, there was not any of the disallowed public trust uses, no theater, no big box realtor and not a bookstore.

    What was looked at was a connecting corridor between the Phase 1 uses. We've gone a long ways away from that.

    When first an IMAX theater was proposed, we pointed out, this is in '94, that this is not a public trust use, that you stand a slim chance of expanding public trust doctrine to get that use...

    ...There's four criteria that have been used for land swaps. You have to meet all four. You don't meet any of them.

    But most of all, the land swaps as you have heard don't offer any benefit, in fact, they offer some detriment because that means that uses could be introduced that are allowable under public trust doctrine.

    Let me just point out one thing at last, that the conditions that the Coastal Commission put on, condition 25 stated, "Prior to the issuance of a coastal permit, applicant shall provide written documentation" and so forth, you're familiar with that. Notice, the proposed land swap is designed to avoid the very terms and conditions of the grant that condition 25 is supposed to enforce.

    Although land swaps have occurred in the past, this one has a terrible odor. As far as is known, never before has an island of non-trust land been created completely surrounded by trust land...

    After public speakers concluded, the Mayor turned to Council discussion:

    Councilmember Rob Webb

    ...I've heard tonight and read a lot of criticism about a $350 million investment that has been spent for Queensway Bay, and I walk down there now, I see a beautiful Rainbow Harbor, with the beautiful walk around from the Aquarium, boats that are there, the Lions Lighthouse for Sight which they purchased across the way. The Aquarium, the Convention Center, how much of Rainbow Harbor [probable misspeak, likely means QW Bay] investment that we're talking about, how much is specific to the shopping center that we have invested today so far? Ballpark figure...

    City Manager Taboada: Councilmember, all of those investments that you mention are part of what we call the Queensway Bay development plan, and that includes all 300 and some acres of the Queensway Bay project. The part of which is under discussion today, which is the Queensway Bay development project, that is the DDR project, the only investment that we have to date in that is the staff time and the work that's been done in furtherance of getting this project to this stage, so we have a minor investment in that to date.

    Councilman Webb: And that's what I'm trying to point out...Secondly, this last week...there's been some criticism of our City Manager this last week for not point blank answering a question here last week as we applied for funds for the wetlands, the parcels that we're talking about this evening.

    And as was stated earlier...he was moving on actions that were given to him, authority given to him to negotiate in closed session. And I would respect the fact that he did not speak to me is he's doin' his job.

    ...In this particular instance, he had no authority to speak on the issue and that was clarified today and I'll stand behind that.

    ...My support of Queensway Bay, and the developer's extension, and what we have gone through since approving that extension and seen since, it's probably the one vote on this City Council that has given me heartburn and I have had a hard time with...

    ...Now having said that, we have a developer who is in place, who has entitlements and has been given a 15 month extension, actually a 12 month extension with us to have the right to start operating into "plan B," and so with all respect to how anybody feels about wanting to throw Queensway Bay and this entertainment center out, we are obligated to stand behind agreements and entitlements that have been issued to a developer. Is that not correct?

    City Manager Taboada: That is correct, sir.

    Councilman Webb: ...Last week I've heard [Aug. 21 Council action, previously posted on; activists opposed including wetlands grant areas in proposed tidelands swap], and I supported Councilmember [Bonnie] Lowenthal...I thought we were supporting a good thing, this was restoration of wetlands...Now we have a land swap where, I am told, and on this I'm again going to ask staff to respond, I was told [tries to recap SLC developments but seeks clarification] this is where I'm getting brain damaged, so help me out.

    City Manager Taboada: ..The State Lands staff did an exhaustive research of that [tidelands trust] question and came to the conclusion that all the uses that we had contemplated were in fact consistent with the state [tidelands] trust and recommended to their commissioners that they not take any further action.

    ...[Notes that at the April 2000, State Lands Commission meeting, Commissioners Bustamante and Connell expressed reservations]...they looked at it in terms of how approval of this project have an impact on the rest of the state tidelands. And in that context, they were very disturbed about projects that were being contemplated in other cities, particularly San Francisco, so we got caught up, I think, in that discussion about what might happen in the future if we went on with this project, which our staff has told us is OK. So they [the Commissioners] took no action.

    And then when the Mayor and I went to see the Lt. Governor, it was for the purpose of obtaining clarification about what would it take to get this project back on track with the Commission. And we were advised that there several options that we could take. We could look at legislative relief. We could do a swap that would not entail acre for acre, or value for value exchange, a number of things that were contemplated.

    But basically the Lt. Gov. deferred to the State Lands staff to come up with a way of mitigating these objectionable [four uses in retail/entertainment development project] with something that would be acceptable to the entire commission.

    The State Lands staff then determined that the only way in which they could convince their commission that they had done their job was to propose a land swap for other city owned land, and to take those uses out of the trust area and basically remove the precedent setting issue that had been raised.

    And so it was the State Lands staff who basically, following their interpretation of what is allowable and legal under the [tidelands] trust doctrine, who suggested strongly to us that the only way they could find their way clear to go back to their Commission with an affirmative report was to enter into this agreement for the land swap that's being negotiated today.

    And so we negotiated with State Lands staff not on an acre to acre basis but on a value for value basis, as determined by our appraisers and their appraisers, and coming to a conclusion that the parcels that are outlined today for what is the Queensway Bay development project, and the park uses and open space uses along the L.A. river, as equitable for obtaining a positive recommendation to the Commission.

    So what I was intending to bring to you this afternoon in a special [closed] session was that agreement, that is, those parcels and those values and those acreages. So that when the Commission meets again on September 17, I would be able to represent to them that this Council had authorized me to enter into an agreement on the basis negotiated between respective staffs of the City Council and the State Lands Commission...

    Councilman Webb: ...We're spendin' a lot of time tonight on an issue that we're...going to get a re-do next week, that is going to be the night we're going to actually...make our decision [on the proposed swap].

    City Manager Taboada: Well Councilmember, since we're now going to bring back to you all of the issues that have been raised, both by the public and perhaps by this Council, we will more than likely bring this not next week but the following week [Sept. 11] for your final approval to proceed to the State Lands Commission...meeting on Sept. 17. We have heard all of the issues that have been raised by the public and we will be prepared to bring back to you answers to all of those issues raised, along with all of the other documentation that we have accumulated as part of this process.

    Councilman Webb: ...What would happen should this Council not approve this [the proposed swap]? Where does that put us with, we have a developer, we have given entitlements, that has spent a significant amount of time and dollars into leasing projects, although I'm startin' to support Bob Lamond's theory...This is a developer that's got entitlements to move forward and we need to stand by, right or wrong, decisions that this Council has made. And, where does that leave us with the developer?

    City Manager Taboada: Councilmember, first of all, I don't fully agree that this project has changed substantially since it was initiated. If your read the Queensway Bay development plan which was completed in 1993-94 time frame, you will see and we can demonstrate to you, that all of the uses that are contemplated in the plan today and have passed muster as part of the environmental review process, remain basically intact.

    You know, there may have been store names that changed, or restaurants who are not the same restaurants that were first contemplated, but certainly all of the uses that are contemplated here, entertainment, retail, theaters, all of that was included in that first report by the Queensway Bay advisory committee. And all of those uses have been consistent in the design submitted by, first Oliver McMillan now DDR, and are in my mind the same project that was contemplated back those many years ago. Now I will grant you that it may not have the same look and the same exact footprint or what have you, but basically it's the same project.

    Now with regard to what happens if this Council does not authorize a land exchange, then probably the State Lands Commission would take an action that I can't contemplate, because I'm not certain how they would react to that particular action by this City Council.

    With regard to the project, my legal advice that I have received consistently throughout this process is that State Lands does not have any legal right to deny this project and that the developer would have to decide whether or not they would want to proceed with their entitlements, absent a State Lands Commission approval.

    So there would be, obviously, items that would need to be worked through, but I would not want to contemplate either of those two scenarios, because I think that what that would do is give the developer every right to execute their options with regard to disengagement from the project and I think we'd be in litigation.

    Councilman Webb: Thank you...

    Councilmember Richardson-Batts

    ...[Councilmember Richardson-Batts asks if City Council has the right to give final approval on developer's tenants.]

    Deputy City Attorney Jim McCabe: ...The DDA, the Disposition and Development Agreement, does not contemplate final approval of particular tenants.

    Councilmember Richardson-Batts: So...if we were under the impression that IMAX was included in the proposed theaters, and now IMAX is not a part of that, which to me drastically changes that whole idea, because I mean, just to have theaters, we have theaters two, three blocks up the street. So IMAX was one of my driving forces in terms of supporting the proposal. So are you saying that something as dramatic as that...would not change their original commitment to us?...

    City Manager Taboada: I don't believe that it would, Councilmember. As long as you're removing uses from the project, that doesn't affect entitlement. If you were to add something that hadn't already been through environmental review or coastal permit review, then I think that you could make a case that it was a different project and that you would need to reexamine it. But removing a use, such as a specific IMAX theater for instance, could be substituted by another format theater of another brand that isn't necessarily IMAX, or could be eliminated altogether, and simply the space could be used up with other permitted uses...

    Councilmember Ray Grabinski

    ...We are trying to jam this down the public's throat and we're kind of killing the developer in the process...We have an obligation to look at all the alternatives, not just by ourselves, but with the developer. And I want to point out to everybody again that the shoreline was done by the City of Long Beach...We built the waterfront on time, on budget. The Convention Center was built not exactly on time but pretty much on budget. Am I correct?

    City Manager Taboada: Close.

    Councilman Grabinski: And the Aquarium, which we didn't build but was built by a group, was built on time, on budget. Correct?

    City Manager: Correct.

    Councilman Grabinski: So in all of those instances the public sector worked its can off to deliver to the people of Long Beach the best project possible, and they did.

    And then what happens is, the developer, who you just heard earlier, you know they've got all the entitlements and they've got everything else, either we've written the worst the worst contract on God's green earth or there is some way for us to sit down with the folks and do exactly what you've said, Henry, either we partner with them and do the waterfront side, and you know, get back to what this was supposed to be which was parks and beautiful shops and things like that, something on this City Council will be proud of, or we keep going down this road that says, and my colleague said it God bless him, he said well, you know we've done this, and right or wrong.

    No, no. You can do that with your own money. You cannot do that with taxpayers' money. You can't do it wrong. And what I'm suggesting is, we give a look with the developer as to what the possibilities are, because I'm very concerned about the things that everybody on this Council knows. That what we've tried to do with the State Lands Commission is, as far as I'm concerned, spot zoning. You go ahead and look at those maps and you tell me that we would let any property owner in this city go into the middle of a block and cherry pick a lot and say this can be a 12 story building...

    This is an effort for us to create something that looks like it's OK. But it's a duck. It looks like one, it walks like one, and it quacks.

    And everybody knows it, I mean the people in the community do and so do we. The question is, how do we extract ourselves from this and still put ourselves in line with a project that we're all proud of...

    ...I thought that line [in the City Mgr's report] was just very important, that these are objectionable uses [four uses in QW Bay retail and entertainment complex]. They have become objectionable uses, whether or not they're good stores or not, they're just not the thing that everybody wanted.

    The Mayor then called for a vote on a previously made motion to receive and file the City Manager's report. It passed unanimously.

    [ end note: Major elements of the proposed tidelands swap had been made public by the time the Council held its August 28 meeting. As previously reported by, the State Lands Commission, several days earlier, had issued a staff report disclosing details of the proposed transaction.

    In essence, the proposed exchange would involve removing state tidelands trust designation from four planned commercial footprints (roughly 3 acres) at QW Bay in exchange for putting tidelands designation on roughly 10 acres of city owned (or soon to be city owned) property just west of downtown: a land locked freeway median (presently inaccessible to the public) west of Cesar Chavez park plus a larger swath of land adjacent to the L.A. river's east bank surrounding the 7th St. Shoemaker bridge.

    City Hall's chosen developer for the 18 acre retail and entertainment complex, Developers Diversified Realty (DDR), is not a party to the transaction. However, the exchange could help facilitate the City Hall-approved retail and entertainment complex by removing tidelands designation from four commercial uses about which two State Lands Commissioners (Lt. Gov. Bustamante and State Controller Connell) voiced concerns at their April, 2001 meeting.

    As previously reported by, the State Lands Commission did not take voted action in April and does not have permit control over the project. The CA Coastal Commission, which does have permit authority, has issued a coastal permit for the project.

    DDR has taken the position (which is also the position taken by LB City staff at the August 28 Council meeting) that it has all necessary legal entitlements to proceed. In an August 14, 2001 letter to Councilmembers, posted verbatim by, DDR indicated it is moving forward on the project.]

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