Councilman Harris Refuses to Meet With OB Planners Despite City Attorney Office Saying ‘It’s Okay’

by on June 19, 2014 · 4 comments

in Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego

Ed Harris appted

Councilman Ed Harris

Councilman Ed Harris refuses to meet with and/or re-schedule the meeting originally set for today with OB planners about the OB Community Plan.

Harris told our reporter Matthew Wood yesterday during the new OB Entryway Sign unveiling, that he would not meet with the representatives of the Plan Update committee or the OB Planning Board.  Wood asked why the meeting was cancelled, and Harris responded:

“We looked at it, and decided it wasn’t needed”

“We want to hear both sides at the council meeting. We will hear both sides at the council meeting and then we will adjudicate it.”

“We’ve been following the issue for quite some time. It should be a good hearing.”

 Originally, the OB Rag was told by Harris’ staff that the reason the meeting was cancelled was due to a general warning from the City Attorney’s Office not to meet with one side in a dispute.

Yet, according to Tom Mitchell of the City Attorney’s Office, Harris meeting privately with the OB planners was fine. Here is what Mitchell told the OB Rag in an email on Wednesday:

There is no problem with council members attending a meeting, as long as it is not a majority of council members serving on a committee with jurisdiction or majority of the city council (such could be violations of the Brown Act). Thus, one council member meeting is not a legal problem.

 Now Harris has determined that even though he met with the leader of the opposition to the OB Community Plan, David Stebbins, back on May 23rd – with no one from the planners present – he didn’t need to meet with the official representatives of Ocean Beach.

The OB Rag feels this is ridiculously unfair.  It is not like the OB planners represent one side; they represent years of working with City planners and the City Attorney’s Office in crafting language for the OB Plan. The Plan Update has gone through a 12 year process of community meetings, workshops and presentations.  Every group in OB has endorsed the Plan, the OB Mainstreet Association, the OB Town Council, the OB Historical Society, the OB Community Development Corporation, the OB Foundation, and the Friends of the OB Library.

The OB planners who were to meet with Councilman Harris, Gio Ingolia and Peter Ruscitti, represent all these years and all these groups and the hundreds, if not thousands of people the groups represent.

This is a sharp slap in the face to Ocean Beach.

Harris was just out in OB yesterday at the new OB entryway sign unveiling.

 

 

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Geoff Page June 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

Well, now we know. This is really a shame. Mr. Harris came to the PCPB meeting two months ago and introduced himself. I was impressed with his straightforward attitude and came away feeling this was a good guy. Either he is a really good actor or something else is at play here. His refusal to meet with the OB planning board members makes me suspicious that one of two things could be happening. Either he has been threatened in some manner or he has been offered some sort of a plum to keep quiet on this. He does not strike me as a man to be intimidated easily so I’m wondering about the second possibility. If he met separately with Stebbins, he needs to give the OB planners equal time.

Reply

avatar Aging Hippie June 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Can we use an FOIA request to get a full transcript of the May 23 meeting, and copies of any memos or documents presented at the meeting or created as a result of the meeting? Possibly we could also demand to see any correspondence from attorneys representing Stebbins.

Reply

avatar Geoff Page June 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm

You could make a Public Records request under California’s Public Records Act because Harris is a public official. That would not cover any correspondences from attorneys representing Stebbins because of attorney-client privilege and Stebbins is not a public official. The chances of there being any minutes or any documents created from the meeting are slim but a request could be made. Unfortunately, the amount of time they are allowed to respond would not get the information in time for the City Council meeting.

Reply

avatar SaneVoice June 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm

I called the Councilman’s office. The assistant than answered the phone had no clue about this refusal, but claimed she would find out and get back to me along with whether Councilman Harris is attending the OBTC meeting next Wednesday (which apparently she didn’t know). I hope he does plan to attend as he has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Reply

Leave a Comment


4 + = 5

Older Article:

Newer Article: